500 Internal Server Error on YouTube explained

World’s top video sharing website YouTube is reported to be down on occasions around the globe. At such times regular YouTube users complain of getting a continuous 500 Internal Server Error.

Frequently, YouTube users face 500 Internal Server Error problem for about an hour and or two, which stop them from accessing their favorite videos. In fact, users get so annoyed by this error that they started tweeting about this at a rate of two tweets in a minute, all are asking about this 500 Internal Server Error, nothing else.

YouTube may face problems from time to time … these days and major among them being the case of piracy. Some experts are saying that this error occurred once because YouTube wass trying to implement some new security features to stop piracy and other threats to the site. These changes might include stopping the users from downloading the videos, removal of copy-righted stuff, etc. So, this could cause the server the downtime resulting in a  500 Internal Server Error.

YouTube 500 Internal Server Error

The 500 Internal Server Error which annoys YouTube users is a general response error which occurs only when any request thrown off the server is not being able to find its right path or not being able to perform, the particular task or when the root cause for the problem cannot be identified.

Some more info on 500 internal server error:

The Web server (running the Web Site) encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request by the client (e.g. your Web browser) for access to the requested URL.

This is a ‘catch-all’ error generated by the Web server. Basicallysomething has gone wrong, but the server can not be more specific about the error condition in its response to the client. In addition to the 500 error notified back to the client, the Web server should generate some kind of internal error log which gives more details of what went wrong. It is up to the operators of the Web server site to locate and analyze these logs.

500 errors in the HTTP cycle:

Any client (e.g. your Web browser) goes through the following cycle when it communicates with the Web server:

  • Obtain an IP address from the IP name of the site (the site URL without the leading ‘http://’). This lookup (conversion of IP name to IP address) is provided by domain name servers (DNSs).
  • Open an IP socket connection to that IP address.
  • Write an HTTP data stream through that socket.
  • Receive an HTTP data stream back from the Web server in response. This data stream contains status codes whose values are determined by the HTTP protocol. Parse this data stream for status codes and other useful information.

This error occurs in the final step above when the client receives an HTTP status code that it recognizes as ‘500’.

Fixing 500 internal server errors : This error can only be resolved by fixes to the Web server software. It is not a client-side problem. It is up to the operators of the Web server site to locate and analyze the logs which should give further information about the error.

More info on 500 internal errors

List of 5xx server errors:

  • 500 Internal Server Error: A generic error message, given when no more specific message is suitable.
  • 501 Not Implemented: The server either does not recognize the request method, or it lacks the ability to fulfill the request.
  • 502 Bad Gateway: The server was acting as a gateway or proxy and received an invalid response from the upstream server.
  • 503 Service Unavailable: The server is currently unavailable (because it is overloaded or down for maintenance). Generally, this is a temporary state.
  • 504 Gateway Timeout: The server was acting as a gateway or proxy and did not receive a timely request from the upstream server.
  • 505 HTTP Version Not Supported: The server does not support the HTTP protocol version used in the request.
  • 506 Variant Also Negotiates (RFC 2295): Transparent content negotiation for the request, results in a circular reference.
  • 507 Insufficient Storage (WebDAV) (RFC 4918)
  • 509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded (Apache bw/limited extension): This status code, while used by many servers, is not specified in any RFCs.
  • 510 Not Extended (RFC 2774): Further extensions to the request are required for the server to fulfill it.
  • 530 User access denied.

This post on how to improve YouTube Buffering, Performance & Speed on Windows PC may also interest you.

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Nitin Agarwal is an MVP alumni and a Pro Blogger. He was awarded as Most Valuable Professional for 3 times by Microsoft in Windows Expert - Consumer category. He is immensely inspired by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and APJ Abdul Kalam.