What is 403 Forbidden Error? How to Fix it?

What is 403 Forbidden Error? How to Fix it?

What is 403 Forbidden Error? How to Fix it?

Have you ever tried to access your website, only to see a message saying “Forbidden” or that you’re not authorized to view a specific part? If yes, you’ve come across the 403 Forbidden error. 

The 403 Forbidden error appears when you access an empty website directory or a page with permission issues. This is often set up to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive files. 

If you or your website visitors come across this error, it’s important to address it to avoid losing valuable traffic. Since there can be different reasons for this error, there are various ways to fix it. 

In this blog, we’ll explain what the 403 forbidden error means, look into why it might happen, and share nine effective ways to solve the problem. 


What is 403 forbidden error? 

A “403 forbidden” error is an HTTP status code that occurs when a server receives a request from a client (usually a web browser), but the server refuses to fulfil the request due to a lack of proper authentication or authorization. This error indicates that the client does not have the necessary permissions to access the requested resource. Web servers commonly employ it to block unauthorized access to sensitive information or resources. A “403 Forbidden” response may occur when a user tries to access a webpage, file, or directory demanding special privileges.

 This encompasses trying to enter a restricted website area without the right credentials or accessing a file protected from public viewing. To resolve this error, the user typically needs to authenticate themselves by logging in with valid credentials or by obtaining the necessary authorization from the server’s administrators. 


Causes of 403 forbidden error  

HTTP 403 forbidden errors often result from access misconfigurations on the user’s side, providing an opportunity for users to address the issue independently. These errors stem from permission settings on files or folders, defining who can read, write, and execute them.  

Herein, two possible scenarios arise: the site owner intentionally restricted your access or inaccurately set permissions. Another potential source of the problem could involve corrupted .htaccess file parameters due to user changes. Thankfully, this issue can be easily resolved by creating a new server configuration file.

Beyond these typical reasons, several other potential reasons for the error include: 

No index page

The website’s primary page might not bear the names index.html or index.php.  

Problem with the WordPress Plugin

A 403 error could potentially be triggered if a WordPress plugin is misconfigured or conflicts with another.

Incorrect IP address

When the domain name connects to an outdated or erroneous IP address hosting a site that obstructs your entry.  

Malware intrusion

A malware attack can persistently corrupt the .htaccess file, necessitating malware removal prior to file restoration.  

Fresh web page link

Alterations to a webpage’s link by the site administrator could render it inconsistent with the cached version. 

New link to page

The website owner adjusts a page’s web address, causing it to differ from the saved version. 

READ: What is Malware and How Can You Protect Your Website Against It? 


How to fix the 403 error 

Below we’ve explained nine different ways to troubleshoot the error: 

1. Refresh the page and verify the URL 

At times, uncomplicated solutions can effectively tackle intricate issues. Try giving the page you’re having trouble accessing a simple refresh. It’s possible that this action may resolve the 403 error.


Additionally, it’s advisable to double-check the accuracy of the URL. If you’re trying to access a directory rather than a web page, there’s a possibility of encountering a 403 error. (e.g., www.example.com/folder/2023/08/) 

2. Deactivate CDN temporarily 

To resolve this issue, consider temporarily deactivating your CDN and verifying if it resolves the problem.

3. Check to see if hotlink protection is misconfigured 

Hotlinking occurs when an individual includes an image on their website, yet the link directs back to another person’s site. To counteract this, some individuals establish “hotlink protection” with their CDN or hosting provider. 

Active hotlink protection typically generates a standard 403 Forbidden error. If you encounter an unwarranted 403 error, ensure that your hotlink protection is correctly configured.

4. Disconnect from your VPN 

Here’s another straightforward suggestion that could address this issue. 

Certain websites restrict access for VPN users, which might explain why you’re encountering the 403 forbidden message. 

To confirm this, disconnect from your VPN and attempt to access the site through an alternate method. Alternatively, consider switching to a different server within your VPN service. 

5. Use the Sitechecker Website Crawler Tool 

The Sitechecker Website SEO Checker offers an extensive SEO audit report equipped with solutions and various tools tailored to your website. These tools include a website crawler, site monitoring tool, rank tracker, and more. 

Regularly keeping an eye on your pages for 403 errors is crucial, and Sitechecker can help with this. It not only detects 403 errors but also identifies various other types of errors across your website. 

6. Reach out to the hosting provider 

If the preceding solutions haven’t resolved your problem, we suggest contacting your hosting provider. They are likely able to assist you in identifying the issue and restoring your access.  

Reliable hosting providers like Bigrock offer 24/7 customer support via email, chat, and phone, ensuring best-in-class customer support. 


READ: Make Cdn Your Best Friend Today 

FAQs on 403 Forbidden Error

  • What does 403 forbidden error mean?  

403 forbidden error message signifies the server’s inability to grant authorization for a specific user request, preventing access to the requested resource. This error is usually accompanied by a message indicating that the user lacks the necessary permissions to view the content.

  • What causes 403 forbidden?

Malfunctioning security plugins, incorrect file permissions, or a corrupted .htaccess file can cause the 403 Forbidden error. The error message communicates that the server denies access to the requested resource due to a lack of authorization or a configuration problem.

  • Is 403 forbidden bad?  

The 403 forbidden error message doesn’t inherently indicate a detrimental situation for your website. Rather, it signifies an authorization issue hindering your request to access specific files or pages on your site. It’s a result of inadequate permissions or configurations, not necessarily a severe problem with your website’s functionality. 

  • Can a “403 Forbidden” error be caused by malware or viruses?  

While a “403 Forbidden” error itself is not directly caused by malware or viruses, it can be a result of website security measures implemented to protect against them. Websites might restrict access to certain resources to prevent unauthorized access or malicious activities. 



Understanding the nuances of the 403 Forbidden error is valuable for website owners and users. It can result from permission issues, configuration errors, or external factors like VPNs. Addressing it requires a systematic approach. Understanding this issue clearly equips you to resolve it and guarantee smooth online experiences.

Hope this blog was insightful for you.


If you have any queries or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments box below!


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