How to: What is 403 Forbidden and How Do You Fix the Error?

If you're reading this, you may have recently come across the error message that says 403 Forbidden & you do not have permission or support to access the server. And quite likely, you've got no idea that what it's all about. Well, do not worry and don't panic! This is quite a general scenario that several web users find themselves in.

In short, you have to follow the below-mentioned steps to fix this 403 forbidden error:

  1. You need to check or rename/reset the .htaccess file
  2. Reset the file and the folder permission
  3. Disable the WordPress plugin

What you may expect

In this tutorial, you will learn things about the 403 forbidden error. Nevertheless, steps would be nearly identical to every other static website or CMS. It's worth mentioning that the 403 error might differentiate based on several circumstances. Seldom, this error can further result from some changes that the VPS Hosting firm might have performed in the system or due to the execution of a few updates.

Whatever it's, let's look a little deeper into an error and try finding out a little more detail concerning it. That is when one will be able to list out various reasons accountable for the error and some of the possible solutions regarding it.

So, let's see and get started!

What is 403 Forbidden Error?

Before digging deeper and trying to fix an error first, let's understand what it is. It's a hypertext transfer protocol status code. When you happen to encounter this error message, you're usually trying to reach the address or any website that's forbidden to reach.

In other words, the 403 Forbidden errors are a hypertext transfer protocol status code, meaning that accessing a page or a resource you're trying to access is forbidden for a few reasons.

Different webservers report 403 Forbidden error in different ways, and the majority are listed below. Seldom a site owner will customize the hypertext transfer protocol 403 Forbidden error; however, that is not much common.

Is it 403 Forbidden Error or No Allowance to Access

This 403 Forbidden error generally means that you need not have an allowance to view a requested resource or a file. While occasionally this is global, other times it's due to some misconfigured permissions.

One of the top reasons for an error is .htaccess error or permissions.

Causes of the 403 Forbidden Error

Getting the 403 Error in the very middle of the development may seem disturbing. However, before one can fix it, one needs to know regarding the actual reasons causing it. The very simple reason why they see this 403 error is that you're trying to reach something you do not have the license to. Throwing the forbidden error 403 is the website's way of saying that you do not have adequate permissions to go any further.

This error 403 is due to:

  • Some incorrect files or folder permission
  • Some incorrect setting in the .htaccess file

Let's take a quick peek at how one can get it to disappear.

Fixing that Error Forbidden 403 Message

Now, when you know the numerous factors causing the 403 error, it's time to look at how one can get over it. The steps mentioned here generally focus on WordPress; however, they could be applied to several other sites. Let's now go through a few of those steps involved:

Via Checking .htaccess File

One may not be well aware of the file .htaccess. This is cause the file quite often remains hidden in a project directory. But, if you're using the Manager, you'd be in a position to see .htaccess via default in your .hPanel.

In case of other cases, for instance, if you're using the cPanel, it could be done via accessing the hosting Control Panel along with the help of a File Manager. Let's go through the involved steps:

  1. Locate the File Manager from a hosting Control Panel
  2. In the public_html directory, you need to look for the .htaccess file
  3. When you don't come across any of .htaccess, you may click on the Settings and enable the Show Hidden Files option.

To help you understand & learn the .htaccess file in a much better way – it is a server contour file and largely works by adjusting the configuration straight on the Apache

Website Server settings

Though the .htaccess is already there in nearly all WordPress sites, in a few rare events, if your site does not have the .htaccess or is removed unintentionally, you require to create the .htaccess file manually.

Now, when you've found the .htaccess, everything you require to do is the following:

  1. Go and download the .htaccess in your PC to have the backup of it
  2. After you are done, go on to delete the file
  3. You can now try accessing the website
  4. If that works fine, that will indicate that the .htaccess file was defective
  5. To generate a fresh file of .htaccess, login to the WordPress dashboard, and click on the Settings Permalinks
  6. Without bringing any changes, click on the Save Changes right at a corner of the page
  7. This will go on to generate that .htaccess fresh file for your site

However, if this does not solve the problem, move onto the very next method.

Via Resetting the File and A Directory Permission

Another reason one may encounter the Error 403 Forbidden message is the bad permissions for files or folders. Usually, when the files are made, they come with specific default permission. These generally control how you may read, write, and then execute files for your use.

However, the FileZilla FTP clients also offer all you require to edit folder and file permissions. To start, one should:

  1. Access the website files using that any FTP client.
  2. Navigate to a root directory of the hosting account.
  3. Select the major folder which holds all your websites file (generally it is public_html), & right-clicks on it and selects the File Attributes.
  4. Select a button that reads Apply to the directories only, enter the permission 755 in the Numeric value field, and then press OK.
  5. Once the FileZilla is done altering folder permission, repeat that step 3; however, you need to select Apply to the files, the only option, and then enter 644 in that Numeric value field.
  6. After you are done, try accessing the website now, and then see whether the error is resolved.

If you wish to get a little more insight into how the files and folders permission work in the Linux environment and learn to use the command lines to alter permissions.

However, when nothing looks to happen, it's time that you make a move on the very next method.

Via Disabling the WordPress Plugins

If you've managed to come this far, the chances are very high that an error was thrown due to the faulty or incompatible plugin.

The very best thing one can do would is to disable all the plugin at once rather than going through a process individually. Alongside this step, you'd be able to discover the issue and work towards the solution. Here's what you've to do:

  1. Access the hosting account with the FTP and look around for that public_html folder (or a folder containing the WordPress installation file).
  2. Locate that wp-content folder on a page.
  3. Locate a Plugins folder, rename it anything different like "disabled-plugin," so it's easier to keep track of it.

Once you've disabled nearly all plugins, try accessing the website again. Did that fix a problem? If yes, the problematic plugin's the actual origin of the error. Try deactivating the plugins one after another, and check whether your site is back in operating action. This way, you'll be able to recognize that faulty plugin.

You can next opt to update a plugin if it's necessary, or you may install the new one. However, when nothing of the steps above works for you (which is kind of rare!), you may require to contact the hosting provider.

Note: When you've recently migrated from a web host to some other and somehow forgot to bring a change in your nameserver, your domain could still be pointing towards the old website host. It can be the problem when they cancel the account, resulting in the 403 Error. So ensure that your website is pointing towards the right place.

How does the 403 Error Appear

The most popular incarnations of the 403 Forbidden errors are as follows-

  • HTTP 403
  • 403 Forbidden
  • Forbidden: You do not have permission to access on this server
  • Error 403
  • Forbidden
  • HTTP Error 403 - Forbidden
  • Error 403-Forbidden
  • HTTP Error 403.14 - Forbidden

These 403 Forbidden errors display inside a browser window, just as the web pages do. The 403 Forbidden errors, pretty much like all other errors of this kind, might be viewed in any other browser on any operating system.

In Internet Explorer, a site declined to show the webpage message shows a 403 error Forbidden. The IE title strip should say error 403 Forbidden or things similar to that.

403 Forbidden error received when opening the links via the Microsoft Office program causes the information Unable to open [which is url]. One can not download the info you requested inside the Microsoft Office program.

Windows Update may also report the HTTP 403 errors; however, it'll display as an error code 0x80244018 or along with the following message: WU_E_PT_HTTP_STATUS_FORBIDDEN.

How to Fix 403 Forbidden Error when you are a novice

  1. Check for the URL error and make sure you are specifying the actual website page, file name, and extension, not only a directory. Most of the sites are configured to forbid directory browsing, so the 403 Forbidden text is usual and expected when trying to show a folder instead of the specific page.

When you operate a website in the question and wish to prevent the 403 error in these cases, you need to enable directory browsing in the webserver software.

2.Clear the cache of the browser. Issues with the cached variant of a page you are seeing could be causing the 403 Forbidden problems.

  1. Log in to a website, assuming it is possible and apt to do so. The 403 Forbidden text could mean that you require additional access before viewing the page.

Typically, the website produces 401 Unauthorized errors when specific permission is needed, but sometimes the 403 Forbidden is utilized instead.

4.Clear the browser's cookies, particularly if you typically log in to this site, and logging in the back (the last step) did not work.

  1. Contact the site directly. The 403 Forbidden errors may be a mistake, everyone else is viewing it, too, and a website is not yet knowledgeable of the issue.

That is all you have here to read and learn about the 403 forbidden error, which covers most things, including the covering of forbidden as to what it is, causes of the 403 forbidden error, fixing of this error, and how it appears.

And by simply following the techniques listed above, you may get rid of a 403 forbidden error. One must understand that a 403 error gets irritating and will not let you enter your site. Nevertheless, follow the steps mentioned above, one after one, and you will surely be able to get your website performing and back to action.

Hopefully, the above-written guide is easy for you to follow. And for more extensive WordPress tutorials, suggestions, and cheat-sheets, you may look over the internet, and you will find things. So yeah, that is it, and hopefully, you now won't need to face the issue again and again.


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