What is a 403 forbidden error? How To Fix 403 Errors for WordPress Sites

SEO forms the basis on which the success of your website rests. Taking care of the proper SEO of your site assumes a lot of importance given the positive impact it has on your Google ranking. That is precisely why you need to take care of the errors that may affect your SEO ranking. One such error that can play havoc with your site performance is the HTTP 403 forbidden error. Why should you take care to avoid using 403 HTTP error on your WordPress site and fix 403 Errors for WordPress Sites? We will explain the consequences of the 403 HTTP error and the solutions that help you fix it.

What is 403 HTTP Error?

The 403 HTTP or 403 forbidden error is an HTTP status code, and it prohibits your access to a particular website. In fact, when you access a site the access to which you don’t have right, you will end up getting the 403 HTTP Forbidden error.

The error can show itself up is several formats. Some of the possible examples are

Forbidden: You don’t have permission to access [directory] on this server

HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden

403 forbidden request forbidden by administrative rules

403 Forbidden

Access Denied You don’t have permission to access

In fact, it is one of the dreaded error that you may come across while accessing a WordPress site.

Why is 403 HTTP Error should be avoided?

Well, it will restrict your readers having access to your site. In fact, your site is completely blocked off from being accessed by all your users, well, almost all your users though there can be a few exceptions. Since you have paid for the hosting of your site and needed to access to it to update the content on the site, it has been considered to be one of the most dreaded errors you may come across as a WordPress user.

Since you have not set up the necessary permissions, you may end up getting the error on your website. It can be a result of something amiss in your WordPress installation. The failure can be quite obnoxious as it would not allow the Google crawlers to have access to your site. Thus, if not fixed right in time – the error can end up causing Google to deindex your site in its entirety.

Fix 403 Errors for WordPress Sites – ‘How To’

As we found above, the error manifests itself in a host of ways. That should be an indication to show that the 403 HTTP error is caused as a result of several reasons and causes. Some of them can be summed up as

  • It can hit you when you have a new page or article added. It can also come up when an old article is edited.
  • While migrating your live site to a local server, the error can hit your site.

The simple format of the error should indicate that you are trying to access the data that has not been permitted to you. That should suggest that you have some permissions missing and thus you are not allowed access to the data. From that perspective, a couple of causes that can trigger a 403 HTTP error can be

  • You have incorrect set permissions.
  • There could be a few errors in your .htaccess

Poor configuration of security plugins can also be one of the reasons you may end up getting the 403 HTTP error. A WordPress plugin that has not been appropriately configured can make it believe that an IP address is malicious and can block the access.

Having said all that, the hosting company itself can be a culprit in a few cases. If the hosting service changes the server settings quite suddenly or accidentally – it may result in getting 403 HTTP error.

How Shall You Fix 403 HTTP error?

Well, as we may have observed in the above steps, identifying the cause of the error should be what should guide you through the steps to determine the fixes you can apply. That is precisely what would make it a little complicated to arrive at the proper solutions to the issues of 403 HTTP error.

Fix the error by editing the .htaccess file

This fix should apply if your .htaccess file is corrupted in any way. If this is what is causing you the trouble, it should be the most straightforward task to fix the .htaccess file on your installation.

Here is how you fix it –

  • Connect to your website using the FTP client or through the file manager in cPanel.
  • The .htaccess file is located in the root folder of our site.
  • Download the file onto your computer so that it will help you backup in case you faced any issues.
  • Delete the file in the root folder of the site.

Check if the access issue has been resolved. In case the problem was with your .htaccess file, the error should be gone.

Generating the current .htaccess file should not be a concern. Log in to your WordPress admin area and go to Settings ->Permalinks. Click on Save Changes, and you are good to go!

Change File permissions in WordPress

All the data in your WordPress installation have file permissions. These are what would control the access to the pages, files, and folders.

The 403 HTTP error can be caused due to incorrect file permissions. It is likely to be the possible cause of the forbidden error you may be getting on your WordPress site. You can get the file permissions issue solved through your hosting provider. Changing the file permissions yourself may not be advisable as it may give rise to serious concerns.

If you think you can handle it, follow the steps here below –

  • Go to your WordPress installation folder. You may use FTP or any other process of your preference for the purpose.
  • Access the public_html folder in the installation folder.
  • You would find a host of folders usually with the value 755 by default.
  • If you find any of them without the default 755 setting, change it to the default setting. You should be able to do it by right-clicking on the folder and choosing the file permissions
  • Change the numerical value to 755 if you find it to be different in any way.

Please note that changing the file permissions may not be an easy and straightforward task. We advise you against opting for any changes just arbitrarily if you are not sure what you are doing. Restoring the file permissions to default should be helpful in clearing the 403 HTTP forbidden errors to go away.

If you are not sure, opt for the help from experts. It would ensure that the issues are sorted out without any trouble.

Check your Plugins

Another culprit that can bring up the 403 HTTP error can be the plugin misconfiguration. In fact, the procedure to check the issues with each of the plugins can be quite time-consuming and complicated.

Deactivate all the plugins at once and check if the issue has been resolved. If it has, you may conclude that the cause of the problem can be attributed to the faulty plugin. However, if you find the issue does persist, it may point to the status of the item being caused due to some other problems.

In case you have found that the problem has been the result of the plugin fault, you can reinstall the plugins one at a time and check if the issue comes back. Once you can pinpoint the exact plugin that has been causing the error, you may proceed to correct the errors associated if any or decide to remove the plugin altogether.

The Final Thoughts

The 403 HTTP forbidden error can be a massive issue for the website developers. However, the fixes available to address the problem are not much complicated. Of course, it could be a little time to consume, but still, you should be able to handle the task comfortably.

Pinpointing the exact cause for the occurrence of the blockage of access can be a little troublesome. If you can find the objects effectively, you may quickly go ahead and perform any of the fixes outlined here depending upon what has caused your access being denied. Though Google does not consider it a huge concern, your users may be annoyed with the error, and as such, it should be fixed as soon as finding it affects your site.

Have you faced the issue of 403 HTTP error on your WordPress installation? If yes, what were the causes of the occurrence and which steps solved the problems in your case? Do share the fixes that worked for you with us. If you found any other solutions that worked for you, do let us know of them as well. That would help our readers stay informed and prepared just in case they came across any such issues in the days ahead.


More from this stream