What Is the 403 Forbidden Error & How to Fix It

What is the 403 Forbidden Error and How to Fix It?

Have you ever encountered a 403 Forbidden Error while trying to access a website? If so, you’re not alone. This error message appears when you attempt to visit a website or webpage that you’re not allowed to access. In this article, we’ll explore the causes behind the 403 Forbidden Error and provide simple solutions to help you resolve it.


What is a 403 Forbidden Error?

In plain terms, a 403 Forbidden Error tells you that you lack the necessary permission to proceed further on a website. It’s like encountering a locked door when you don’t have the key. This error may arise due to one of the below-listed reasons:

403 Forbidden error

Incorrect File/Folder Permissions:

The files and folders on a web server have specific permissions that control who can read, write, and execute them. If these permissions are set up incorrectly, you may encounter a 403 Forbidden Error.


Issues in the .htaccess File:

The .htaccess file is a configuration file used to control various aspects of a website. If this file contains incorrect or corrupted code, it can trigger the 403 error.


Empty Website Directory:

If your website’s directory is devoid of content, there may be nothing for users to access. Ensure that your website contains the necessary files and pages.


Missing Index Page:

An index page is the main entry point to your website. Without it, your server may not know where to direct visitors. Make sure you have an index page in the correct directory.


How to Resolve a 403 Forbidden Error:

Now that we’ve uncovered the potential causes of this error, let’s explore step-by-step solutions to fix it:


  1. Check the .htaccess File:

The .htaccess file is often hidden, making it less known to many users. To troubleshoot this file:

Delete the .htaccess file and try loading the website. If the site loads without error, it suggests that the .htaccess file was corrupted.

To create a fresh. htaccess file, follow the below steps:

  • Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Navigate to Settings > Permalink.

Without making any changes, click “Save Changes.” This action will generate a new .htaccess file.

If you have cPanel Access to work on the back end of your WordPress site, you can log in to your cPanel.

=> Navigate to File Manager
=> Select the Public_html folder (Where the WordPress files are stored)
=> Create a new file named .htaccess
=> Right-click on the file and select edit.
=> Place the below code on your .htaccess and save it.


# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On

RewriteRule .* – [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]

RewriteBase /

RewriteRule ^index\.php$ – [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress


Also Read About:

How to Edit the .htaccess File in WordPress?

What is .htaccess File? – Uses, Advantage, and Disadvantage


  1. Ensure Your Website Has Content:

Verify that your website contains the necessary content. If you’ve uploaded content, make sure it resides in the correct directory.


  1. Check File/Folder Permissions:

Review the permissions assigned to files and folders on your server. Ensure they are configured correctly to allow reading, writing, and executing as needed.

Also Read: change-my-files-and-folders-permissions


  1. Investigate Conflicting WordPress Plugins:

WordPress plugins can sometimes clash and trigger the 403 Forbidden Error. To identify the problematic plugin:

Check by disabling all the plugins you have installed in your WordPress.

Check if the website loads without errors. If it does, one of the plugins is likely causing the issue.

Re-enable the plugins one by one, checking after each activation, to pinpoint the problematic one.


  1. Verify the Presence of an Index Page:

Make sure your website has an index page. If it’s missing, upload one to your httpdocs directory and set up a redirect to your actual homepage.


  1. Clear Browser Cache:

Sometimes, your browser caches error pages and this cached version may conflict with the updated website. To resolve this:

Clear your browser’s cache and cookies.

Try to check the website again if the issue remains.

Also Read: Clear Browser Cache for site


To Fix Other Errors:

HTTP 500 Internal Server Error

400 Bad Request

401 Unauthorized

404 Not found


By following these steps, you should be able to resolve the 403 Forbidden Error and regain access to the website. Remember that this error can stem from various sources, so it may require a bit of troubleshooting to pinpoint the exact cause. However, with patience and these straightforward solutions, you can navigate past this common web obstacle and enjoy a seamless browsing experience.