last night my site (Drupal 7.26 core) was working fine and then all of a sudden after creating a new forum topic with some excel graphs included (copy paste from excel) the forums completely shut down. All other pages and content are available except the forums. I can't remember the exact error that was coming up at the time but I was getting an error due to the PHP memory limit not being enough. I contacted the hosting company and got them to change it from 32mb to 128mb and also created a php.ini file with the following code:

php_value memory_limit = "128M"

and placed that in the root folder. The PHP memory limit error stopped coming up but the forums are still inaccessible and I'm now getting the following error when trying to access the forums:

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Please contact the server administrator, [email protected] 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. Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Could someone please help me with this? It is a community site which is pretty useless without the forums.


1 Answer 1


The "500 internal server" error message just means: "Your web server just crashed". There are many different things that can have gone wrong.

To determine the cause, you need examine your web server logs (your hosting provider can tell you where these are if you don't know where to find them).

Below is a list of some of the most frequent causes of a "500" error on a Drupal web site (I am trying to make this generic - for future reference - I know you've covered the PHP memory limit already):

  • The setting for PHP memory_limit is too low. Note that if you're on shared hosting, you can't change this yourself. You need to get it increased by your hosting provider.

  • Your hosting provider has set restrictions on what php_values or php_flags you can put in .htaccess that is violated by one of the .htaccess-files created by Drupal or by directives added to these by you.

  • Your have syntax errors in one of the .htaccess-files in your configuration. (In particular if you've edited the default .htaccess.)

  • There exists permissions on files or folders that is outlawed by a security measure your hosting provider uses.

As the message says: "The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration". To gather information about what type of error this was, you need to examine the server (error) logs. There is no way we can help you with this without seeing the relevant error messages from your logs. We don't have access to your server or your logs.

You may also increase the level of error reporting from PHP to get better diagnostics. You'll get full runtime error reporting by adding this to the start of settings.php on your site (just below <?php):

ini_set('display_errors', TRUE);
ini_set('display_startup_errors', TRUE);

In addition, navigate to: Administration → Configuration → Development → Logging and errors and select the radio button "All messages". This sets $conf['error_level'] = 2;.

When you examine the logs and diagnostics from PHP error reporting, you may find out more about what made your server crash. If you do not fully understand what those messages means, you can update the question with the specific error messages, and hope that someone here shall be able to shed more light on the cause of the problem.

If everything else fails, make a backup of your database (you may use the Backup and Migrate module or some DB tool that works independent of Drupal (e.g. phpMyAdmin). Then disable and uninstall the module that you thinks is the cause of your problems (sound like it is the Advanced Forum in your case. Make sure you not only disable, but also uninstall (these are two separate steps).

Verify that your site is now stable.

If it is stable, re-install the module (e.g. Advanced Forum) that caused the problem from scratch.

Re-assess the status of your site. Is it still stable? Is any content missing?

If it is not stable, then the problem is not solved, and you need to reconsider the use of module that causes grief (i.e. ditch it and find a better module).

However, if content is missing, you should be able to restore that back from the back-up yiu made (perhaps after looking through your backup files for anything problematic, and deleting it from the backup before restoring).

  • I see my post was edited but I did mention in my original post that I had a look at the error logs and the only error I was getting was one to do with a file that didn't exist. It was the favicon.ico file which I then created a 0 byte file for and placed in the root folder. Doing that stopped that error coming up but after that I wasn't getting any errors at all in the Errors Log even though the main issue of not being able to access the forums was still there.
    – user27495
    Apr 12, 2014 at 11:20
  • Still getting the 500 Internal Error with no trace of that in the error logs. Only when trying to access the forums though as all other pages are accessible. I also get the 500 Internal Error when clicking on "Content" in the administrator toolbar. Everything else seems to work though.
    – user27495
    Apr 12, 2014 at 12:01
  • Thanks man, I tried that but still not getting any error reports on the error logs. I'm not very clued up with all this, but I think I did what you suggested right. I did notice that I can turn off the "Advanced-Forum" module and then I am able to access the forums. There's definitely a problem with the last topic I posted, the forum topic icon is half cut off and trying to access that particular topic causes the 500 Internal Error even though I am now able to access the other topics. Where in the files would I find the forum topics? I'd like to delete that topic and see what happens.
    – user27495
    Apr 14, 2014 at 11:37
  • The forum contents is not in any files. It is in the database. Don't panic and delete database tables or files unless you know what you're doing. Deleting the wrong stuff or deleting stuff in the wrong order may make it worse. You can find any content added to the site via the "Find content" link in your admin panel. It is safe to delete content via that link. Apr 14, 2014 at 13:26
  • That's also the problem, I can't access the content via the "Content" tab or the "Find Content" option because it keeps giving me the 500 Internal Server Error.
    – user27495
    Apr 14, 2014 at 14:15

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