How to Fix Index Coverage Issue Server Error 5xx WordPress

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The new Google Search Console Index Coverage report is picking up URL’s which are part of normal WordPress operations, such as /wp-includes/ and also /wp-content/themes/ folders, and, whatever .php files which are required for WordPress site to load. If you are seeing these types of Index Coverage Server Errors, then, here’s how you can fix them.

How to Video for Fixing Index Coverage Server Error 5xx for WordPress

Simplified Version for Fixing Server Errors (5xx)

Search Console Index Coverage Report Server Errors 5xx
Shows Google Search Console Index Coverage Report User Interface

Basically, these default (required) core WordPress files are being picked up Googlebot, thus, it requests these URL’s trying to find what is on those URL’s like the sample ones below

  • /wp-includes/class-wp-customize-section.php
  • /wp-includes/class-walker-page-dropdown.php
  • /wp-content/themes/Jupiter/sample.php file

But since these files shouldn’t be accessed, most web servers with WordPress installation often throws 500 Internal Server Error.

That means, the best way to remedy these errors is by first making sure that whichever XML sitemap you’ve submitted to Google Search Console does NOT produce such URL’s due to wrong setup (rare but could be caused by XML Plugin or Content Management Systems different than WordPress).

If the XML sitemaps are correctly working, then, you need to make sure that /wp-includes/ etc. folders and files within them are NOT accessible by the general public (because if it is, then Googlebot will usually find those URL’s thinking they are part of your WordPress site).

So you can include this in .htaccess file

<IfModule mod_autoindex.c>
 Options -Indexes

Which should disable directory browsing, thus, will also tell Googlebot “hey, these folders are not part of the general public view of my website

You can then validate fix in Google Search Console Index Coverage Report, if however so far all is okay after you try these troubleshooting techniques, then, the last option could also be, blocking Googlebot access to those .php files through robots.txt file directives like:

User-agent: Googlebot 
Disallow: /wp-includes/*
Disallow: /wp-includes/themes/YourThemeName

This last option should be coupled with Search Console fetch as Google feature upon validating the problem and triple check that Googlebot can see your website as intended. Try these and you can confidently validate these errors as fixed.

Author: RankYa

Online Entrepreneur, Qualified Web Developer, Google AdWords and Google Analytics Professional. Specialist in: Google SEO, Website Optimization, WordPress, Structured Data, JSON-LD, Microdata, Microformats, RDF, Vocabulary, HTML5, Advanced Image Optimization, Google Search Console, Google Webmaster Guidelines, Social Media Marketing, Facebook marketing and YouTube video ranking.

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