The question Error 500 while updating plugins is put on hold for this reason:

Questions that are too localized (such as syntax errors, code with restricted access, hacked sites, hosting or support issues) are not in scope.

According to What topics can I ask about here?, probably because it requires professional hands-on involvement.

I suppose someone somewhere will meet this error as well, so I would like to improve it, at least the next step to investigate the problem. Is that possible?

  • Start by making this a reproducible problem. Provide a step-by-step. To eliminate at least that it's a hosting issue. And to maybe provide the necessary code we don't have access to in the first place. Then most likely it's not too localized anymore.
    – leymannx
    Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30
  • do you know how to know that it's not a hosting issue? I check the server log and don't see any suspicious
    – Ooker
    Sep 25, 2019 at 12:31
  • You do this locally first. Then on dev. Then on stage. If it works there it must be something with the environment.
    – leymannx
    Sep 25, 2019 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


Lets say I ask you to fix an issue with my house, you're a contractor, but before you agree, you want to know what the problem was. I tell you:

Problem: Something is wrong with the house ( 22 )

Where 22 is the international code for "Something is wrong in this house".

I think we'd both agree that this is a meaningless response.

HTTP 500 is the same. It's the most generic possible way of saying some unspecified thing went wrong.

As a result, until the debugging is done, nobody knows what the actual problem is, and by proxy, what the question is.

If the question is self contained enough that the problem can be reproduced, then it's possible to answer the question. Otherwise, it means a lengthy comment section with a back and forth, grasping at straws to get information to try and reproduce the problem. Otherwise it's impossible to answer the question.

Additionally, Stack Exchange isn't a discussion forum, it's a Q&A site. It's more like a wiki, where each question is a wiki page, with a community sourced answer. Anybody with that problem can look up the answer and solve their issue. A debugging question on the other hand is specific to a single persons localised situation.

So if you have an issue, and you don't know what the problem is, you need to do debugging to identify it. Once you've identified what the problem is, you can ask about it.

In the case of the question you mentioned, I would look up the PHP error log then go to the support for the plugin you tried to update and report the bug.

  • Thank you. I know that error 500 is so generic. I guess there would be a guide to examine this error?
    – Ooker
    Sep 27, 2019 at 4:40
  • There's probably hundreds elsewhere, debugging is a whole topic on to itself, but the standard process of disable all the plugins, switch to the default theme, then enable them 1 by 1 until the problem comes back, use WP_DEBUG, check PHP error logs, etc all come to mind
    – Tom J Nowell Mod
    Sep 27, 2019 at 9:58
  • I continue this in a new question: Should questions about error 500 be duplicated to a canonical debugging question?
    – Ooker
    Sep 27, 2019 at 11:59

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