Internal Server Error After Moving a Joomla Website to Another Server

A new client called us and told us that they are seeing an Internal Server Error (Error 500) after moving their site from one server to another. They told us that they’re sure that all the files were properly moved (they zipped the Joomla website on the origin server and extracted it on the destination server), and that the database was properly created, populated, and linked to from the configuration.php file.

Luckily, we ran through this issue before, and so we knew that the problem may be either caused by some wrong file permissions or some .htaccess rules that are not compatible with the new environment.

Our first step was to check the files’ permissions, so we ssh’d to the website and we cd’d to the /home/[cpanel-user]/public_html/ folder, and we noticed that all the files were owned by root. So, we fixed this problem by issuing the following command (when under the /home/[cpanel-user]/public_html/ folder):

chown -R [cpanel-user].[cpanel-user] *

Note: [cpanel-user] is the username of the cPanel account owning the website, such as mydomain.

We loaded the website and it was still displaying Internal Server Error. So, our next step was to check the .htaccess file, and it didn’t take us long to find the problem…

The following code was at the very beginning of the .htaccess file:

php_flag magic_quotes_gpc off

But, the server was using PHP 7.2 and, not only PHP’s magic quotes are deprecated in that version; they just no longer exist! So, we removed that line from the .htaccess file and we loaded the website again, and this time, it worked!

Now, if you, our dear reader, are seeing an Internal Server Error on every page of your Joomla site, then check if the permissions/ownership on your Joomla files are correct, also check if there is anything fishy in your .htaccess file. If you feel that you need help, then please contact us. We’re always anxious to help, we love working on Joomla, and we won’t charge you much!

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