In this step we’re going to test and determine if the issues is being caused by a WordPress plugin. Disabling plugins allows you to determine how your website functions without the influence of that particular plugin. Deactivating a plugin does not delete a plugin or remove any data (important data is stored safely in your database) but what it does do is disable the plugin’s code from running which can potentially fix an issue that is causing a website to crash and triggering an Internal Server Error.
Plugins are a great way to expand the functionality of a WordPress website however do to the fact that plugins are generated by different programmers they can often conflict with other code running on a website. For this reason, it’s important to check and see if there is a conflict occurring that is triggering an Internal Server Error.
Assuming you are able to login to your WordPress dashboard, disable plugins by following these steps:
- Navigate to the Plugins section in your WordPress dashboard.
- Use the checkbox to select all plugins.
- Use the Bulk actions drop-down to Deactivate them.
- Select Apply.
In the event that you are unable to deactivate plugins via the dashboard you can also deactivate them via FTP by following these steps below:
- Connect to your WordPress site’s server via FTP using an FTP Client like FileZilla.
- Navigate to the wp-content folder in your root directory.
- Rename the plugins folder to plugins-deactivated or download the plugins folder and then remove them.
Once you have disabled your plugins check your website and if it’s still giving you an Internal Server Error proceed to step four. However if your site is now up and running, the next action to take is determining which plugin specifically is causing the problem.
To Identify a Problematic Plugin reactivate your plugins one by one and reload your website after activating each one until you find which plugin triggers the Internal Server Error. Upon identifying the culprit, you have a couple options, you can attempt to update the plugin/reinstall it or you can simply remove it if it isn’t essential. If it is an essential critical plugin, you should notify the plugin author and look for a better alternative solution in the mean time.
Important Note: In the event that you have deactivated plugins via FTP, you will need to ensure plugin files are moved back into your WordPress plugins folder in order to reactivate them. If you believe a plugin is made by a reliable author keep in mind that, in rare cases, the version of PHP on a server can impact the way plugins or themes behave. Make sure to take a look at step eight for more information on PHP Version issues and how they can impact WordPress websites.