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Trying to activate a theme - 500 Internal Server Error WordPress


Hi Experts,

A few of my clients are getting a '500 Internal Server Error' when activating a custom theme. I've never really run into this kind of issue so I'm not quite sure where to begin debugging? I read a few articles that stated it could be due to plugin or .htaccess incompatibilities, but I removed all plugins and cleared the .htaccess and it didn't fix the issue.

What is the best way to go about debugging this issue? Are there any debug logs or something similar that I can turn on which will tell me exactly what's causing the issue? Is this a server-level issue that will require assistance from the clients hosting provider or is it more of a theme-related issue? I'm a wordpress theme developer so I know my away around, so feel free to be technical with me.

It's difficult to debug since the theme installs without a hitch on 3 of my different hosting environments, but I should be able to play around with it on the clients server.

I greatly appreciate your help on this one.


Answers (4)


Oleg Butuzov answers:

define('WP_DEBUG', true);

but better give me ftp and wp credentials to check whats wrong.=)

[email protected]

Oleg Butuzov comments:

define('WP_DEBUG', true); you should place in wp-config.

obiosly that your theme use the function that gives you a fatal error witch gives us a 500 error. sometimes this errors are fixable.

WP Answers comments:

I'm working on getting you FTP info for one of the broken servers. I'll send over ASAP.

WP Answers comments:

Sorry about the delay. Just sent over login credentials. Just let me know if you need anything else. Thanks so much for your help.


Debra Hadley answers:

I have had that happen a lot lately. I have been going in and renaming the .htaccess file and it works fine.

WP Answers comments:

What do you mean by renaming the file? Do you leave the contents as-is and just rename it? Are you simply renaming it to the same name?

Debra Hadley comments:

Yes. I hate to delete anything off the server. I just simply name it "RENAME.htaccess" and it has been working. You can test it out and if it doesn't work, just rename it back to the .htaccess file. The problems I have seen have been with people hosting with godaddy.

WP Answers comments:

It turns out theres no htaccess file at all on their server. And yes they have goDaddy as well. Ugh this one has been kicking my a**


AdamGold answers:

A 500 internal error is usually from .htaccess files, are you sure you cleared the htaccess file in the root path of the theme? (if there's one)


Joachim Kudish answers:

What Debra suggested isn't actually a solution, since it will only 'fix' the problem by 'removing' the file that is most probably causing the issue. However you need what is inside the .htaccess file at the very least for permalinks to work.

That being said the .htaccess file is probably the cause of the problem but it could be other things as well, depending on the hosting environment.

I see that Oleg already offered help, but if he can't, feel free to get in touch with me as well. [[LINK href="mailto:[email protected]"]][email protected][[/LINK]].


WP Answers comments:

Thanks a lot Joey. I just sent Oleg the login credentials. Lets allow him to do his thing and if he's unable to resolve i'll send you the login. Cheers.