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Inherited WP Site - Now getting 500 errors from Googlebot

Posted on 2011-09-23
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I've inherited a website that's a wordpress site. http://www.marinoniinsurance.com

The first thing we did was migrate this to his previously unused godaddy.com web space. Since then and making a few tweeks, I'm not getting some 500 server errors from google webmaster tools which caused a decent hit in our keyword rankings.

Does anyone know where I should start looking at a diagnosis for this? I'm assuming it's something wrong with the .htaccess file or a bad plugin.

Current .htaccess:


# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>

# END WordPress



# Turn on rewrite
Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.marinoniinsurance\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.marinoniinsurance.com/$1 [R=301,L]

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Question by:LeifHurst
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by:Jason C. Levine
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Are the 500 errors random or caused by a specific attempt by googlebot to get to something?

How many plugins are installed?
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by:LeifHurst
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About 8 plugins installed. They just look like crawling errors that couldn't access the page.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
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If it is one specific page that always dies, is there some plugin-intensive load on the page (gallery or event calendar or similar)?

If the errors are all over the place, can you disable all plugins for a couple of days or is that not feasible?
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Expert Comment

by:gwkg
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GoDaddy is not the best place to host a WordPress site. This is just from what I've been reading around the net researching other issues.  I don't have any experience with GoDaddy hosting + WordPress personally.

This confirms you are not alone...

https://www.google.com/search?q=wordpress+godaddy+500+internal+server+error

The best place to start may be GoDaddy tech support: (480) 505-8877
https://www.godaddy.com/community/contactus.aspx?section=emailus
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
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I can confirm that GoDaddy is not optimal for WordPress.  My one site hosted there does get intermittent server 500 when comments are posted but it should be able to be diagnosed and fixed...
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by:LeifHurst
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I know GD is not the most WP friendly place but I also have 15 other sites hosted there (each with their own server) without any issue. It's something I have planned for the near future though.

At any rate, I wanted to update the post with what I've tried and the results.

-Disabled all plugins
-Reverted back to a barebones .htaccess file

Still no changes.

I decided to crawl the site as googlebot in webmaster tools. All pages load except, oddly enough, the home page. It comes back as unreachable. If I revert the theme back to the original WP theme or another theme, the home page is reachable. I don't see any controls in the theme settings that would have any impact on this. According to the theme's support forum, no one else is experiencing this issue.
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by:Jason C. Levine
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Any elements on the home page that are not present on any other page?
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Author Comment

by:LeifHurst
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That slideshow rotational slider thing is the only element that is there that isn't widgetized.

Let me try disabling that.
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Author Comment

by:LeifHurst
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Still occurs after disabling unique home page elements.

Decided to fire up firebug on firefox. On the net tab the top post entry is a 500 error.

Peeking further into the DOM tab shows me that it's something to do with jquery.
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by:Jason C. Levine
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What is Firebug reporting? Alternately, can we get a link to look at?
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by:LeifHurst
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Link is in the first post.
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by:Jason C. Levine
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Apologies...it's been so long I forgot.
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by:LeifHurst
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LOL! I just appreciate the extra eyes.
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by:Jason C. Levine
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I don't think it's related to jquery, actually.  Firebug is showing that jquery is expecting some more parameters than it is receiving but that wouldn't cause a server 500 unless it was trying to post data and I don't think it is.  

I think there is actually something misconfigured on the hosting side that causes this.  Just for kicks and giggles I went to https://www.marinoniinsurance.com/ and your site loaded without any errors.  Can you show that to GoDaddy support and see what their geniuses say?
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Author Comment

by:LeifHurst
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I'm still showing an error on the https side.
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Author Comment

by:LeifHurst
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Flipped the theme again and firebug shows no errors... flipped it back and it's errorville all over again.

With that said would you still point to server config?
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
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Flipped the theme to something with jquery or not?
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Author Comment

by:LeifHurst
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no jquery... just the plain jane "Twenty Eleven" theme and no errors exists.

Flip it back and we error.
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Accepted Solution

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Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
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Werid.  I guess it is the jquery.  Comment it out from your current theme and test again (yes it will break stuff).
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Author Comment

by:LeifHurst
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Issue is resolved. Looks like a theme update has fixed a bug in the call to jquery. I know get a successful "fetch as googlebot."

One more question before I close this up and reward points... should I resubmit to google?
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by:Jason C. Levine
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I would, yes.  The googlebot needs to know it is loved and accepted so it comes back for more.
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