Recently we migrated a clients website from an windows 2003 IIS6 with SQL 2005 backend server to a fresh new Windows 2008 R2 Server with IIS 7.5 with SQL 2008R2. The whole migration was a piece of cake, we handed over the migrated website and all was working well. One fine day we got a call back that a specific section of website where they create users gives them “500 Internal Server Error”.
Whats interesting about this error is that its just a fake message or rather in programming language terms its a Error handler. Basically when there is error on your website, One would not like to show it to the world, Its one thing that it looks ugly however, the bigger reason is that a detailed error can expose alot about what you got running in background and may become a security threat for the website as well.
However to fix the 500 Internal Server Error it is very important that we find the underlying cause of the error and to find that underlying cause, we need to go around this 500 Internal Server error and Expose the actual reason behind the Failure.
Steps to Reveal the behind the curtain error of 500 Internal Server Error
So when I faced this error my website was hosted on Windows Server 2008 R2 with IIS 7.5, so the steps and screen shots here are from the same versions. However, I am sure the same logic should remain applicable for a couple of versions before and after this. So lets get started.
Step1 : Open IIS 7.5, expand website and select the problem website. On the right hand side under IIS section, click and open Error Pages, Refer screen shot
Step2: Under Error Pages, click Edit this feature on the right
Step3: Under select detailed errors, so that it show the detailed error locally as well as on remote browsers , or you may stick to showing locally as well
Unfortunately enabling this didn’t show the real error message but did get us a step closer, here is what we got after enabling this
So we went ahead with few more changes
Step4: Open IIS 7.5, expand website and select the problem website. On the right hand side under IIS section, click and open ASP, Refer screen shot
Step5: Under ASP , Expand debugging properties and under there set Send Errors to Browser to True
That it guys, After this Reset IIS (not really needed but doesnt hurt, so start->Run->IISRESET) and then try to reproduce the problem on your website, It should show you the real error which you can troubleshoot from there on. What I did after this was very specific to my website issue and should be irrelevant to others. So go ahead find your own solution and in any case if you need help, feel free to reach out to our paid support options here
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