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How to fix the Nginx 500 internal server error?

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The internet is far, far better today as compared to what it used to be during its inception. That said, websites still run into problems from time to time, and these problems aren’t exactly the easiest to solve for someone just browsing. 

In this article, we’re looking at the Nginx 500 internal server error, its causes and what you can do to fix the problem.

What causes Nginx 500 error?

The error can be triggered by different things on both the server and the client side. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Incorrect browser settings.
  • Corrupt cache.
  • Internet connectivity issues.
  • Wrong/corrupt web scripts. 
  • Missing references in your code.
  • Inadequate file permissions.

Also read: How to debug HTTP error 500.19 internal server error?

Fixing the error as a visitor

Here are five solutions you can try out.

Check your internet

The first thing you should do in such situations is to check your internet connection. If you’re connected to a WiFi network, check if you have an active internet connection. Otherwise, you can try restarting your router or plugging in via LAN. 

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Disable VPN

If you’re connected to a VPN, there’s a chance that the site you’re trying to visit is geo-restricted for the area you’re using your VPN from and hence you’ll end up seeing the Nginx 500 error. Try disconnecting from the VPN to see if that solves the problem.

Refresh the page

At times you may also see this message because a page couldn’t load properly. In such cases, try refreshing the page to see if you can get the page to load.

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Clear your browser’s data

Corrupt files in your cache or otherwise can cause this error as well. Clear them out to see if you can get Chrome to work.

Step 1: Type in chrome://settings/clearBrowserData in your browser’s address bar and hit Enter.

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Step 2: Select the cache and cookies options and make sure the Time range is set to All time. Click on the Clear now button to clear out all the data. 

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Restart the browser and try visiting the site again. 

Reset your browser

Resetting Chrome can fix all sorts of random bugs and glitches with the browser. 

Step 1: Head over to chrome://settings/reset. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults.

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Step 2: Chrome will show you a warning prompt. Click on Reset Settings, and your browser will reset to default settings. 

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This should fix the Nginx 500 internal server error. 

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Fixing the error as a developer

If you’re seeing the error on a site you’re building, try out the following fixes. 

Do a hard refresh

Once you visit a page often, as is common during the development process, the page gets stored in your browser’s cache and is fetched from there instead of the server. If you’ve made some significant changes to the code, this process can break, resulting in the 500 server error.

Try hard-refreshing the web page by pressing Ctrl + F5 to see if that fixes your problem. 

Check your file permissions

For files to be accessible on a web server, they need 644 permission and folders need 755 permission. If you’ve set up the file and folder permissions incorrectly on your server, visitors will not be able to see the page causing this problem. 

Check redirections

Incorrect or broken redirections on the server can also cause 500 server errors. Make sure files like mod_rewrite or .htaccess are properly configured and are in working order before trying again. 

Check your scripts

If you’ve got web scripts controlling your page’s logic, check to see if they’re not producing any errors. If the script handling the page produces an error, the page, in turn, will not be accessible to the end user causing an internal server error. 

Increase the script timeout

Sometimes you might get this error because the web server times out on the request without waiting for Nginx to respond. In such cases, try increasing the script timeout, so the web server waits a bit longer to receive a valid response. Reviewing the server logs, you can check whether or not this is happening.

Also read: Google Chrome critical error: 4 Fixes

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: