HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them

 14 Feb, 2019

The 403 forbidden messages are quite common these days, but many of us still don’t know much about them. One can lose many potential customers if this error is not fixed at the earliest. So, do you know what it is an HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Message? How you can fix them? 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.

Have you seen the following message when you tried to view any page?

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

Yes! Well, this is a common scenario for many webmasters.

This blog post takes into account all the essentials about “HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages” error.


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. Also, you are losing a number of potential customers who are clicking your website but getting this message in return. This error looks something like this:

HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them

What Are HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages?

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 the 403 Error Appears?

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 this Error?

403 errors are caused by issues where you’re trying to access something that you don’t have access to. Before digging 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

Errors Like 403 Forbidden

Below errors are also client-side errors and are related to the 403 Forbidden errors such as:

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

Fixing the Error 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 of the 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.

HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them

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

HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them

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 complete, delete the fileHTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them
  • 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.HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them
  • 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:

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.

HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them

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)HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them
  • Next, check the Apply to directories the only option and enter permission 755 in the numeric value field provided and finally press OK.HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them
  • 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.HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them
  • 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 plug- 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. Doing this, the tracking procedure will become easier for you.

HTTP Error 403 Forbidden Messages- Easy Ways to Fix Them

Try to access your website again after disabling all the plugin. 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.

Some other methods to adapt to resolve this error:

Below are 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 into the website but logging 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 an actual web page file name and extension. A number of websites show 403 Forbidden message when trying to display a folder instead of a specific page.

Time to sum up:

Detecting 403 errors needs patience. We understand that this error prohibits you from accessing your website and thus becomes quite irritating sometimes. Nevertheless, follow the above-explained methods steps one by one to bring your website back into action.

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