The web runs on status codes. Every page you visit on the web returns a status code, which gives added info and instructions to the browser. As well as your browser, search bots see these codes too, so some of them can have an impact on SEO, particularly 500 error codes.
What is a 500 Server Error Code?
We’ve all come across them in our everyday web browsing. They typically look like this:
500 – Server Error: The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, [no address given] 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.
They’re also known as HTTP Error 500 or Internal Server Errors.
This code is bad news, and points to an internal server issue. Basically, a valid request has been made by the client, but the server, for one of what could be several reasons, failed to complete the request.
As well as being an issue for users trying to reach your website, 500 errors also pose problems for Google, as these pages are unreachable by crawlers. Search engines like Google don’t like sites that continually return error codes of this nature. A poorly maintained website is not something Google is going to rank highly, as they simply aren’t useful to everyday web users.
So fixing 500 errors is an important part of not only improving the user experience, but also your SEO performance.
What causes 500 Server Error Codes – and how to fix them
Generally speaking, a 500 error is caused by either a software error – an error in the code that the server doesn’t like – or a hardware error in the server itself.
The best way to determine which problem you have is to check whether you are experiencing the 500 errors with a static file – that is, an image, video, pdf, xml, css etc. If you are seeing the error with a static file, then the problem is definitely a server hardware fault, or a Server misconfiguration – in this latter case this would return a permanent and not intermittent 500 Error.