What are HTTP 403 Errors & How to Fix Them Effectively?

 29 Nov, 2021

Introduction

When you tried to view any web page or website, you must have been encountered HTTP 403 forbidden.

“403 Forbidden- You don’t have permission to access ‘/’ on this server”

Wondering, what is a 403 error?

Yes! Well, the 403 forbidden messages are quite a common scenario these days, but many of us still don’t know much about them. Well, it is nothing but an HTTP status code that pops up when we try to access a page and forbid us to view that source. But due to these sort of 403 errors, one can lose many potential customers if this error is not fixed at the earliest. 

In this blog post on 403 errors, we have tried to cover all the essentials about “what is 403 forbidden Error Messages” as even when you try to login to myeclass same error occurs so here is the solution. What is the cause of HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Message? And how can you fix them effectively? 

Introduction 403 errors :

The 403 forbidden error appears when attempting to access a web page. If the http 403 Forbidden message appears in your browser, it indicates that you are not authorized to access the specified web page or URL.

While creating a new website to host your content and put it into live, you get a mail saying “Hey, is there a reason I see this when I click on your website?”

It tends to be a disturbing error since you are doing much to attract the audience.  But these HTTP errors 403  may cause loss of potential customers who are clicking your website but getting this message in return. This error looks something like this:

error

What Are HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages?

The HTTP 403 errors generally appear when attempting to access a web page. If the '403 Forbidden' message appears in your browser when you are not authorized to access the specified URL for some predetermined reason.

The 403 Forbidden error relates to an HTTP status code which generally happens when the web page (or other resources) that you’re trying to open in your web browser is a resource that you’re not allowed to access.

It means that the server is refusing to take any action even after understanding your request.

How does the 403 Error Appear?

Website designers can customize how a 403 error looks just like 404 errors and 502 errors!

403 errors look different in different web servers. Websites even use slightly different names for this error. The most common incarnations of 403 Forbidden errors are as follow:

  • Forbidden
  • Error 403
  • HTTP Error 403.14 – Forbidden
  • 403 Forbidden
  • HTTP 403
  • Forbidden: You don’t have permission to access the site using this server
  • Error 403 – Forbidden
  • HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden

What are the Main Causes of these 403 Errors?

403 errors are caused by issues where you’re trying to access something that you don’t have access to. Before digging into the “how to resolve” part of the article, it’s important to know what exactly causes it.

There are basically two reasons behind this Error. These are:

  • Incorrect file or folder permissions
  • Incorrect settings in the .htaccess file

Explore CMS development best practices.

Errors Like 403 Forbidden

Here are a few client-side errors that are related to the HTTP 403 Forbidden errors such as:

  • 400 Bad Requests
  • 401 Unauthorized
  • 404 Not Found
  • 500 Internal Server Error
  • 408 Request Timeout

Read more about how to fix 404 error on google

How to Fix HTTP 403 Forbidden Errors?

Methods For Fixing the HTTP Errors 403 Forbidden message.

Now, it’s time to look down at the solutions to get rid of this error message. We will take you through the working steps that you can execute to resolve this error without any hesitation.

Method 1 – Checking .htaccess File

Most people are not familiar with the .htaccess file. It’s because the file remains in the “hidden in the project directory”.

.htaccess is basically a server configuration file and mainly works by altering the configuration on the Apache Web Server settings.

However, you can access them easily if you are using the Hostinger File Manager.

In case you are not using Hostinger File Manager, or let’s say if you’re using C Panel in place, you can access the .htaccess file hosting Control Panel with the help of File Manager. Below are the steps involved:

  • Go to Hosting Control Panel and locate File Manager from there
  • Next, go to the public_html directory and look for the .htaccess file

If you are not able to find such a file though, then click on the settings and enable Show Hidden Files (dotfiles) option from there

prefrences

In case, if your website lacks the file and you don’t have a .htaccess file detected, you can create it through the manual approach. As discussed, as soon as you found the .htaccess file, you need to follow the following steps:

  • To have a backup, download the .htaccess to your pc
  • Once the downloads are complete, delete the file

downloads are complete

  • Then, try to access your site.
  • If it is working absolutely fine now, it simply indicates that your .htaccess file was corrupt.
  • Now, to create a new .htaccess file, you need to login to your CMS and then hit settings
  • In the settings option, click on Permalinks.
  • Without any changes, just hit the Save button which is located at the bottom of the page.

Save button

  • Hence, following these steps, you will generate a fresh.htaccess file for your website.

In case, this doesn’t work out, move onto the next discussed steps:

Explore an in-depth guide on how to fix 500 errors.

Method 2 – Resetting File and Directory Permissions

Remember when files are created, they always come up with some default permissions. This bad permission is what led to a Http Error 403 forbidden message. They control all the files and folder activities such as how you can read, write and execute the files for your use.

If you are using Hostinger, download Fix File Ownership to take care of all your permission problems in just a single click.

Not only it will save your time but also will restore all file and directory permissions to default values.

fix file ownership

However, you can use FileZilla FTP to edit file and folder permissions. To get started, you should follow the following steps:

  • Choose any FTP client and try to access your website
  • Then, shoot the hosting account and go to the root directory of it.
  • Next, you have to select the main folder which obviously includes all your website files (public_html), and then right click on it. After that, hit File permissions. (step 3)

hit File permissions

Next, check the Apply to directories the only option and enter permission 755 in the numeric value field provided, and finally press OK.

permission 755

Once the FileZilla is done changing folder permissions, repeat step 3 again. But remember, you have to choose to apply to files only option this time. Then enter the numeric value 644 in the provided field.

FileZilla

  • Once you are done, try to access your website and check if the error is resolved

If the error is not resolved/ looks down similar as before, move to the next section of the article:

Method 3 – Disabling WordPress plugins

If the errors are still not resolved using the above two methods, it’s high time to understand that the error is popping up over and again due to an incompatible or faulty plug-in. In this section, we will try the disabling plug-in and would check if it fixes the 403 forbidden errors or not.

Instead of going to each and every plug-in and then disabling it, it would be better to disable all the plugs- INS at once. Through this step, you would not only take less time but also will be able to detect the problem easily. Below are the following steps you need to take:

  • Look for the public_html folder after accessing your hosting account with FTP.
  • Next, reach out to the wp_content folder on the page
  • Then, go to the plugin option and rename it completely different such as “non-working plugin” etc. By doing this, the tracking procedure will become easier for you.

non-working plugin

Try to access your website again after disabling all the plugins. Did it take away the problem? If yes, then the actual source of the error was the plugin only. Now, next, you need to deactivate the plugin one by one and thus have to check if your website is coming back to action or not.  Thus, using this method, you would be able to detect the faulty plugin that is the root cause of the problem.

If installing a new one seems mandatory, you can choose to update the plug-in though.

If sadly, none of the methods explained above works out for you, (It’s really rare), you may need to get in touch with your hosting provider.

Method 4 – Upload Index Page

Another method to resolve these 403 errors is to upload an index page.

Check your website’s homepage name as it should be like index.html or index.php format. If it’s not, then simply rename the homepage as index.html or index.php.

However, if you want to keep the current homepage name, another way is to upload an index page to your public_html directory and create a redirect to your existing homepage. Here are the steps to follow for the same:

  • Using a hosting account’s file manager or FTP, Upload an index.html or index.php file to your public_html directory. 
  • Open the .htaccess file.
  • Insert the below-given code snippet to redirect the index.php or index.html file to your existing homepage. Don’t forget to replace homepage.html with your page’s actual name.

Redirect /index.html /homepage.html

Method 5 – Edit File Ownership

  • Incorrect file ownership could be a cause of 403 forbidden errors if you use Linux or VPS hosting. Generally, files and folders are assigned to an Owner, a Group, or both.
  • Keep in mind that you need SSH access to modify file ownership in Linux and VPS hosting and an SSH terminal to connect to the VPS server.
  • Once you’ve connected SSH to your web server, you can check the file ownership by using this SSH command:

ls -1 [file name]

  • The result would come something like this:

-rwxrw-rw- 1 [owner][group] 20 Jul 20 12:00 filename.txt

Look at the owner and group part, if you find different ownership, use the chown Linux command to modify file ownership. Here’s the basic syntax for chown linux command:

chown [owner][:group] [file name]

For example, if your username is Godady, use the syntax like this:

chown Godady filename.txt

If you don’t feel comfortable using SSH yourself, you can contact the JanBask’s support team for assistance.

Method 6 – Verify A Record

Another possible cause of 403 errors is pointing to the wrong IP address, where you don’t have permission to view the content. 

So, make sure to check the domain A record that your domain name points to the correct IP address.

To check if the domain A record is pointed correctly, you have to access the DNS Zone Editor in hPanel:

Here are the steps to follow:

  • First, log in to your hPanel.
  • Click on DNS Zone Editor under the Advanced section.

DNS Zone Editor

  • You will get the list of DNS records. You can find the record with the label A in the type column.

DNS records

  • Check does the IP address in the Content column. If it’s pointing to the wrong IP address, click on Edit to change it, once you update the correct one, click Update.

In case you don’t find the correct record, you have to create a new one from the Manage DNS records section. Make sure you select Type A and insert the correct IP address into the Points to field, then click Add Record.

Add Record

Wrong nameservers  also cause HTTP error 403 

If you have recently migrated from one web host to another and your domain may still be pointing to your old web host.

Once the old host cancels your account, it will cause 403 errors. Therefore, 403 errors when you change the web host, make sure your domain is pointing to the right web host.

Method 7 – Scan Website For Malware

Malware can be another cause of the HTTP 403 errors. 

Scan your website to identify any malware. There are plenty of security plugins that you can use for WordPress websites, such as Sucuri or WPScan, to do so.

Using security plugins you can remove malware by deleting or restoring them.

Method 8 –  Clear Web History/Cache

Your browser’s cache and cookies may also give rise to 403 errors. Cache stores data to make a website load faster for future visits.

However, it may be possible that the website’s link has been updated, and the actual & recent web page link is different from the cached version. So, clearing browser cache and cookies may also resolve this issue. 

Follow these steps to clear cache and cookies on Google Chrome:

  • Click on the three-dot icon on the top right corner of the browser and select Settings.
  • Go to the Privacy and Security section and click Clear browsing data.

Clear browsing data

  • Select the time frame for data deletion. Then, check the Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files options.

Cached images and files

  • Finally, click Clear data.

Now you are done, you can check by visiting the website and logging in if HTTP error 403 gets resolved or not.

If the above-listed methods don’t work, we recommend contacting our support team to help you get out of this issue.

Some Basic Tips to resolve this error:

Basic Tips for Visitors For Fixing the Error 403 Forbidden

  • Check for URL errors
  • Make sure you're requesting an actual web page file name and extension
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies
  • Log in to the website in order to access the page or resource

Basic Tips for Website Owners For Fixing the Error 403 Forbidden

  • Reset file and directory permissions if required.
  • Contact your hosting company and get technical assistance.

Final Words on 403 Errors

Detecting 403 errors need patience. We understand that this error prohibits you from accessing your website and thus becomes quite irritating sometimes.

Some of the methods often overlooked which can help you to resolve the error:

  • Check the browser’s cache memory. Sometimes, cache issues led to the 403 forbidden errors.
  • Clear up the browser’s cookies. Especially when you regularly log in to the website but logging in again is not working out.
  • Make sure you are just not specifying a directory. Research better, check for the URLs error, and make sure you are reaching out to an actual web page file name and extension. A number of websites show 403 Forbidden messages when trying to display a folder instead of a specific page.

Nevertheless, follow the steps of the above-explained methods one by one to bring your website back into action.

Did this blog help you understand what is 403 forbidden? Want to explore how to fix 404 errors on google? Feel free to reach our experts at JanBask.

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