I have a WordPress website that's being served, but with a 500 status code. I want help diagnosing the problem behind the error, but don't know what information in the logs I should keep under wraps when I ask for help on Stack Overflow, etc.

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    The web server access logs will not help. But check the error log. There may be a clue in there for you. As well, It does not hurt to paste an example of the error in your question, however, you may want to replace the domain name with example.com. – closetnoc Jul 28 '15 at 20:04
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    Mask out any IP addresses as well. But if you are diagnosing a 500 error then it should be obvious from the timestamp, which (if any) rows in the log are relevant. – MrWhite Jul 28 '15 at 21:55
  • Check the .htaccess file. There is something in a wordpress plugin that edits .htaccess and makes a mess of it. Have seen it on multiple sites. – Steve Jul 30 '15 at 5:28

I have a WordPress website that's being served, but with a 500 status code.

First, start on a clean slate. If this site is live to the public, replace the main index page with a page that shows users the website is under construction. Make a backup of the old index page first. This may be index.php since you're using wordpress. If it isn't then look for index.html or index.htm or any file beginning with index.

Next, deactivate all .htaccess files on the entire server by renaming or removing them. Ask your serice provider for assistance if you don't have access to the entire server. Also, have the provider check the apache configuration file (httpd.conf) to make sure all entries in it are valid and accurate and that all modules required are installed and functioning correctly.

Then test the index page with the .htaccess files removed, and if the out of order page shows up, then replace the .htaccess files, and test the index page again and literally reload the page to see if the out of order page shows up again. If it does, then reinstall wordpress because the problem lies within wordpress core files directly or the entries in .htaccess that are related to wordpress.

I will guess right now that your .htaccess file(s) have been hacked.

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