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WordPress Server 500 Error White Screen of Death

WordPress 500 Server Error White Screen of Death

Steps To Recover Your WordPress Server 500 Error

When my server got hacked, several WordPress websites had the white screen of death with a server 500 error. There’s usually no way to tell why a hacked website has a server 500 error. Usually it is due to messed up code in one or more places.

My Solution: (You will need access to the files on the server and the database tables)

1) Download the same version of WordPress of the damaged site from the WordPress online archives. To find the version, you can either go to wp-includes/version.php. When the websites got hacked, this file was actually missing. In that case you need to go to the database, and under wp-options find the database version. There will be some number assigned and you can go to WordPress Codex to see which WordPress version is associated with that database version.

2) On either the same server or another server, create a new database for the rebuild.

3) Upload the WP version that you just grabbed above to the development site and extract and install.

4) Copy over your theme and your child theme (in my case I had the Divi theme by Elegant Themes). If these files are corrupt, and if the version of Divi is a legacy version, you will need to grab the legacy version of Divi from Elegant themes and install it. Copy over what you can from the child theme, especially styles.css, header.php and footer.php.

5) Copy over wp-content/uploads. This has all of the pictures and uploads.

6) Install all of the plugins through the WordPress backend. I have found you can’t really copy over the old files very well. It is better to just see what was on the old website from the plugins folder, and install the same plugins all over again.

7) Copy over posts table, post meta , terms and terminology, and other tables that might have been specifically made for specific plugins. (For example, I had the Nextend Slider plugin, and there were a few tables pertaining to just that plugin.)

8) The customizations, embedded CSS in theme options, menu, and widgets are all stored in the options table. This is a hunt and peck to find all of this. It will most likely be under records that might have the child theme name or Divi (theme) name or “sidebar” or “widget” or something like that. I found most of this stuff in the last half of the table.

9) Use Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin to change the old urls of all of the images, posts, pages, etc.

10) You should now have around 90% or more of the website back. The rest will probably be fine tuning and updating WordPress, plugins and your theme to the current versions.

Sheri Smith

Sheri Smith

Head Programmer and Graphic Artist

Sheri is the head programmer for Improvboy, and has been working in the industry since the 1990's. Her expertise is mostly in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, and javascript. If you need a website, ecommerce store, or website fixes, please don't hesitate to contact her here. She will be happy to help you out.

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