Older WordPress posts resulting in Error 500

Every now and then I experience a 500 Error when trying to access and older post. I really have yet to figure out what is causing this problem but it seems to happen only on old posts. Really old posts. Posts at least 2 or 3 years old. Mainly the posts that I imported from when this blog ran on WordPress.com.

Fortunately I have a complete back up of this entire site and all of it’s data including notes, mobile photos, tags, comments – everything.  So I can go through and restore any data I end up losing by experimenting. Again, I’ve yet to fully solve this problem.

This morning while I was watching Edwin Villanueva‘s March 4th, 2009 MeToday video I was reminded of a post I wrote in September 2006 and I wanted to link to it. After searching my site and, eventually, finding the post I was looking for – the page wouldn’t load. Then because of that error my admin wouldn’t load, then I couldn’t save anything, couldn’t find the post I wanted to edit in the admin, and a host of other problems.  I pulled up my local copy of my Web site and found the post immediately. Very odd.

Turns out I’m not alone. Other people have had this issue with versions of WordPress doing back as far as the 2.x jump. I found this post by onepack on the WordPress forums that helped me (at least it seems to have helped some). While the pages take a long time to load (old ones) it seems like they are not resulting in 500 Errors as often. But the problem still persists.

Thanks to this small .htaccess patch and to using WP-Cache to cache the pages here – the 500 errors are not appearing as often.  Has anyone else experienced this problem with WordPress? I’ve Googled and Googled and been unable to find anything that truly solves the issue.

Note to readers: If you’re looking back into my archives and run into this problem, I’m sorry. I hope to get it fixed soon.

Update 11:09am: I’ve turned off all plugins to see if this solves the issue temporarily.  I’m going to be turning them all back on slowly to see if the issue props up again. Sorry for any site slowness in the meantime as my site does not have caching on for the time being.

Update 11:31am: I’ve turned WP-Cache back on, deleted the entire old cache, and will let it run for a little while before turning anything else on. So far, so good – and the site seems to be very fast. If you find a page that errors, please report it here.

Update 11:47am: Now that I’ve had WP-Cache on for 15 minutes and the site has had hundreds of page views with no problem – I’m turning on Akismet so that we’re safe from any comment spam coming through during our testing. I’ll let this run for a few minutes though I think it only runs when new comments come in.

Update 12:06pm: Wow – in the amount of time I had Akismet off I received more than 30 spam comments. 30 in an hour. I wonder if that attributes to the problem?  Well, Akismet is back on. Going to let it run for a little while longer before pulling the trigger on another plugin.

As a side note: I think this is a good exercise to be doing regardless of the problems I’ve experienced. Going through each plugin to measure the effect it has on your site is one that, while a little tedius, might end up cutting some of the fat in the end.

Update 12:17pm: I’ve now activated the WordPress Related Posts plugin. We’ll see how this one does.

Update 3:00pm: I went back to work since playing with this. Seems the 500 errors returned. I am not sure if this is related to the Related Posts plugin or not. I have it disabled and have also switched to WP Super Cache since WP-Cache was giving me trouble.

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