Internal Server Error on Joomla’s Backend Login Page – How to Fix

A client emailed us very early in the morning and told us that whenever he tried to access the login page of the backend of his Joomla website (e.g. http://www.ourclientjoomlawebsite.com/administrator ), he was seeing a 500 Internal Server Error page. He told us that the frontend worked flawlessly, and the problem was only in the backend.

In most cases, those Internal Server Errors, when they are restricted to the backend, only appear after the person tries to log in, and not before, which made this whole issue a bit curious.

Naturally, when something happens on the very first page, we rename the .haccess to htaccess.old, and we did that, but it didn’t help. But then we noticed that there was another .htaccess located under the administrator folder, so we renamed it to htaccess.old, and then we tried to login, and this time, it worked! We saw the beautiful Joomla login page waiting for us to enter the credentials. We logged in with the credentials provided by the client, and were able to see the backend!

But why was the .htaccess file causing this problem?

The client apparently just moved his website from one server to another, and had the following in the .htaccess file (that is located under the administrator folder):

AuthName "Authorisation Required"
AuthUserFile /home/.htpasswd
AuthType Basic
Require valid-user
ErrorDocument 401 "Authorisation Required"

Apparently, he was using our method for an additional authentication layer using the .htpasswd/.htaccess combination. However, when he moved his website to a new server, he didn’t copy back the corresponding .htpasswd file to the /home folder, which was the cause of the problem. We informed him about the cause of the issue and so he copied back the file from his old server to his new server, reinstated the .htaccess file, and the problem was no more.

Now if you, our dear reader, are seeing an Internal Server Error when you just browse to the login page of your Joomla backend, then the first thing that you need to do is to rename your .htaccess file (under the root of your Joomla website, and then under the administrator folder). If that still didn’t work, then please contact us. We will fix the problem for you quickly, efficiently, and for very little money.

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