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] 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

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

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] 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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  1. Reply August 25, 2015 / 17:52 Bryan WakefieldSiteGround Team


    I am trying to use a software program called CurationSoft to post to my WordPress blog. I am receiving the following error message:

    Sorry, you've entered incorrect information for account "http://www.kayakwire.com - KW Staff". Cause: faultCode:Server.Error.Request faultString:'HTTP request error' faultDetail:'Error: [IOErrorEvent type="ioError" bubbles=false cancelable=false eventPhase=2 text="Error #2032" errorID=2032]. URL: http://www.kayakwire.com//xmlrpc.php'

    I have contacted CurationSoft's technical support and they have tried posting using Windows Live Writer and Scribefire in addition to their software. None of these programs have been able to post to my site. They have asked that I submit a query to you to find out if SiteGround actively blocks third party software from posting to hosted sites?

    I'd appreciate any information you can provide on this issue.

    Best regards,

    • Reply August 26, 2015 / 15:34 Ivan StefanovSiteGround Team

      Bryan, the issue was related to a triggered mod_security rule and I managed to resolve the issue by disabling the mod_sec for your website by adding the following content in your /home/beachmed/public_html/kayakwire.com/.htaccess file:

      # Turn the filtering engine On or Off
      SecFilterEngine Off

      Note that if you experience this issue for another website, the best course of action would be to submit a new ticket and our Technical Support operators will love to help you!

      • Reply February 20, 2017 / 21:11 MatthewSiteGround Team

        I am having the same problem, but when I add this to my .htaccess it does not help. I am trying to connect my blog to Hoot Suite and it cannot find it.

        I've tried disabling mod_sec, removing Options -Indexes, adding an Allow From All/Any rule, Removing Security Plugins, etc...

        • Reply February 21, 2017 / 16:00 Ivan AtanasovSiteGround Team

          It is possible that your hosting company does not permit the deactivation of mod_security the same way we do. A 403 Forbidden error message will be recorded by the web server of your host and they will be able to troubleshoot the exact reason by reviewing the logs and reproducing your issue.

  2. Reply March 12, 2016 / 06:53 matheshSiteGround Team

    i have 403 error in joomla site , how to recover that, i am checked all the ways but no use , the error remains same

    • Reply March 12, 2016 / 07:23 Hristo PandjarovSiteGround Team

      Check if there's a .htaccess file blocking your access. If the issue persists, please open a ticket in your Help Desk.

  3. Reply August 19, 2016 / 15:49 DebbieSiteGround Team

    Is there any way to create a custom 403 message similar to a 404 message?

    • Reply August 23, 2016 / 13:40 Ivan StefanovSiteGround Team

      Debbie, in your .htaccess file you can specify what document you want as a default 403 error document. If you've created a custom 403.html page, you just need to add the following line in your .htaccess:

      ErrorDocument 403 /403.html

      Keep in mind that the directory is relative to the document root, so if you've placed 403.html in a subfolder, you need to modify it accordingly.

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