Highly Trained Monkeys at YouTube

by on May 22nd, 2009


500 Internal Server Error

I hate this error. Everybody having a website online hates this clue-less error. Server does not provide much information regarding this error except displaying a message that something went wrong and server returned an internal error. You can hit back button to return the website anyways. But still users hate landing at this page. Here is a good news. Well! not the solution. But you see even the biggest websites hit such error sometimes. Take example of youtube. Recently I was trying to watch some videos when I landed on the page with the funny error message.

It was like the following.

500 Internal Server Error

Sorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.
Also, please include the following information in your error report:

zQvZL-B0JKRXfJyiwqS8AMh7Rk–Q …………. so on

Well if YouTube hosted at top servers can hit this error, Then for other webmasters at shared hosting environment; it should be normal. The thing is, I was kind of over joyed looking at the message. I said, OMG! we are not alone. Even the big websites hit this error.

Recently I had got lots and lots of 500 errors for my website. On inquiry from my hosting support, they told me to check for the scripts and plugins. Some of those are causing burden at the server which has to kill the process and redirect to 500. They also suggested to see error logs.

Facts about 500 error (Internal Server Error)

Typical error message you will encounter is as following:

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, [email protected]******.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

How to Resolve 500 Error

Good news: It’s not your fault.
Bad news: There’s nothing you can do about it, if you are user of website. In some cases even webmaster can not do anything about it except checking the error logs and contact to support of web hosting.

An “Internal Server Error” is an error on the web server (server side error) that you’re trying to access. That server is misconfigured in some way that is preventing it from responding properly to your request.

If you are webmaster or owner of that website, then you should know following reasons for 500 error:

  • An error in a cgi script (syntax error) can cause internal server error.
  • Permissions issue at (cgi script) files you are attempting to access a cgi script. Files must have “execute” permission.
  • To many mysql connection requests can cause 500 error. Connection limit is different for different servers. Some have 20, some have 30 connections limit for shared hosting environment. If too many users are trying to access the site which uses mysql database then it will result in 500 error.
  • Any PHP script which after running somehow gets caught up in loop or something and is not going to be stop.
  • Sometimes search engine crawlers visit the website, and they get caught up in loops (I have heard that from support of my hosting), it may cause 500 error.
  • In case of blogs, heavy plugins (or use of many plugins) can cause 500 errors. You server might have unlimited bandwidth and space but still there are limitations about how you and your website users may access the server and its resources.
  • If some page is ajax powered and is sending request after some intervals automatically then it can hit 500 error.
  • In case your hosting provider wants you to purchase VPS (Virtual Private Server) or PS (Private Server), then you may hit 500 error more often.
  • websites which do not use CGI may less likely to hit 500 error. Blogs and CGI powered websites may hit this error more often.
  • If your browser (Mozilla) is set to make more connections to a website for fast browsing then you may hit 500 error. Servers do not like browsers to make many connections at a time.
How to Track and eliminate Internal Server Error (500)

Usually, in the server’s root directory there are log files which will tell you when and why 500 error occurred.

error_log is the log of errors. Check the latest error log file and see which script or file is initiating errors more often and discuss it with your hosting support.

One Review

  1. Peen is says:

    This is awsome! And really funny :P