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Help for HTTP 500 errors: “Internal Server Error”

This HTTP error occurs when the web server encounters an unexpected condition that prevents it from fulfilling a request.

Outline: Symptoms   Causes   What you can do about it  Extra information

Symptoms

Internet Explorer (version 7 and later) reports this as “The website cannot display the page”. Internet Explorer version 6 reports it as “The page cannot be displayed”.

Microsoft Windows Update reports HTTP 500 errors with error code 0x8024401F (hexadecimal 8024401F).

Apache web servers report this as follows (text in blue may vary):

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@example.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.

Microsoft IIS web servers define extended codes that give a more specific reason of the error. For descriptions of these reasons, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 943891: “The HTTP status codes in IIS 7.0

Extended code Reason
500.0 Module or ISAPI error occurred
500.11 Application is shutting down on the Web server
500.12 Application is busy restarting on the Web server
500.13 Web server is too busy
500.14 Invalid application configuration on the server
500.15 Direct requests for Global.asax are not allowed
500.16 UNC authorization credentials are incorrect
500.17 URL authorization store cannot be found
500.18 URL authorization store cannot be opened
500.19 Configuration data is invalid
500.21 Module not recognized
500.22 An ASP.NET httpModules configuration does not apply in Managed Pipeline mode
500.23 An ASP.NET httpHandlers configuration does not apply in Managed Pipeline mode
500.24 An ASP.NET impersonation configuration does not apply in Managed Pipeline mode
500.100 Internal ASP error

Causes

HTTP 500 errors often arise because of programming errors on the web server, or because the website is being restarted.

Official description

A less likely cause is:

“some deployed proxies are known to return 400 or 500 when DNS lookups time out.” [RFC 2616]

In that case, follow the instructions for HTTP 504 Gateway Timeout, since that error is more specific to this situation.

What you can do about it

The meaning of the HTTP 500 status code is very broad, covering all errors that might occur in a server and which are not covered by more specific server error codes, so can be difficult to fix. Because these errors arise from within the server, there is little that you can do to correct the problem.

If the error message indicates a programming error, then you should report the fault to the website administrator, since they may be unaware of it.

If the error message doesn't provide details about the reason, then the outage is likely to be temporary. You could monitor the website to determine when it returns to service. Or simply try again later.

For the Outlook.com web site, if you experience a “HTTP 500 Internal Error Liveld authentication code has returned error 0x8004920a” when signing in, then the solution may be to delete cookies.

Extra information

Microsoft Knowledge Base article 311766: “How Web site administrators can troubleshoot an "HTTP 500 - Internal Server Error" error message on IIS 4.0 or on IIS 5.0

Updated 14 June 2012

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