GoDaddy – Random 500 Errors

We have worked with many customers on GoDaddy hosting with intermittent 500 errors.

The full error message is on an error page and says:

500 Internal Server Error

The issue is not consistent, it happens randomly with some of our plugins activated and even when they are deactivated. It doesn’t log anything in the PHP error log either and with error reporting/debugging turned on, it doesn’t provide any valuable information, the error just remains as it is.

Our customers may know that we have strong opinions about GoDaddy hosting. You get what you pay for and we would much rather recommend our own WordPress hosting service which is top quality and very reliable.

Cause of the Problem

We managed to track down the issue and resolve it for several of our customers successfully.

From what we understand, there is a possible bug in PHP 5.4 which causes this 500 error when APC is used. APC is Alternative PHP Cache which seems to cause encoding or decompression problems and often the browser will show errors related to Cannot decode raw data and ERR_CONTENT_DECODING_FAILED on these pages.

Solution to the Problem

The simple solution which fixes the issue is to turn off PHP APC on GoDaddy hosting.

GoDaddy provides instructions on how to turn off APC on their hosting. You need to set this PHP directive:

The file where this needs to go depends on what type of GoDaddy hosting you have. They give instructions on which PHP initialization file to edit depending on what type of hosting you have so follow those instructions.

With that done, the problem should be resolved and the random 500 Internal Server Error on GoDaddy should be gone.

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