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What is HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden

Generally. the HTTP error 403 - Forbidden means that access to the file/folder you are trying to open has been denied, either on purpose or due to a misconfiguration.

If you suspect that only your access is blocked, try a web proxy to hide your identity.

If you are the site administrator check the webserver's error log when troubleshooting. Most web hosting control panels give access to such a tool. In cPanel, it is called Error log. Check the manual for your webserver if you don't have a control panel.

In the error log you will see a list of the last error messages generated by your website. In this list you will find detailed information about each error including: the date and time of the error, some information about the client receiving the error, description of the error and information about which folder or file on your account is generating the error.

Here are some examples of the most common errors and how to fix them:

  • [Thu Apr 19 01:46:56 2007] [error] [client 127.0.0.45] client denied by server configuration: /home/user/public_html/file.php

This error message may be received when the access of certain IPs to certain files/folders/websites is forbidden by a rule added in the .htaccess file. If you do not want to deny access to this IP you should make sure your .htaccess files do not contain such rules. In order to check if such rules are added to your website you should open the .htaccess file in the folder that generates the error and search for a line such as:

deny from 127.0.0.45

- this rule denies access from a particular IP, in this case 127.0.0.45

deny from all

- this rule denies access from all IPs

If you find such a line you should delete it and save the change. After that the client with this IP should be able to access the files in the folder and will not receive the "403 forbidden" error.

  •  [Thu Apr 19 02:13:24 2007] [error] [client 127.0.0.76] Directory index forbidden by rule: /home/user/public_html/

Such error message will be displayed when a user tries to open a directory which has no index file and at the same time the Indexes option for this directory is turned off. In order to avoid this from happening, you should make sure that the .htaccess file within the directory which displays this error does not contain a line like the one below:

Options -Indexes

IMPORTANT: If you are not sure how to edit your .htaccess file, please refer to the “Editing a file” section of the File Manager Article from the SiteGround web hosting cPanel tutorial.

If you cannot find the reason for the 403 error yourself, you may ask your host for assistance. SiteGround provides the best web hosting and such requests are handled with ease.

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