Jul 07, 2018

403 Forbidden Error and Solution

Image: 403 Forbidden Error and Solution

       A 403 Forbidden error occurs when access to some resources on a website is not granted to the user. Most of the time you cannot do anything, but there is a slight chance of asking web admin to unlock the resources. Sometimes, the problem might be on your end, here are some things you can try.

What is a 403 Forbidden error?

RFC 2616: Stanard's track HTTP/1.1 says,

"The server understood the request but is refusing to fulfill it. Authorization will not help and the request SHOULD NOT be repeated."

There are two possible reasons why you are seeing this error: 

  • The owners of the web server have properly set up access permissions, and that others are not allowed access to the resource/folder.
  • Sometimes other errors are misconfigured as 403 error instead of 404 or 401.

Like other errors, Error 404 and Error 502 web developers can customize these error pages also, but the error typically looks like this:

  • 403 Forbidden
  • HTTP 403
  • Forbidden
  • HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden
  • HTTP Error 403.14 – Forbidden
  • Error 403
  • Forbidden: You don’t have permission to access [directory] on this server
  • Error 403 – Forbidden

Would re-login work?

    No, absolutely not. RFC2616 is a document which is the actual paper for HTTP standards, explains the situation as the resource existed but no user can access it. Even if you log in again, the problem will still persist, as this doesn't depend on the users' credentials.

Quick fixes for Error 403:

    Majority of the time there is nothing much you can do, Sometimes, it’s a temporary error; sometimes it isn’t. Still, there are some things you can try.

Refreshing the Page

    Ok! Ok! I know this is the most obvious thing but still, it is always worth to take a shot. Remember, 90% computer problem solved after a restart.

  • You can press 'F5'.
  • You can click on the refresh button on the web browser.
  • Close the browser and reopen the page.

Typo Mistakes

    Sometimes we type the URL in haste and maybe this is the reason that you met with this error. Make sure that the address you are trying to access is for a web page or file, not a directory. A regular URL would end in .com, .php, .org, .html, or just have an extension, while a directory URL would usually end with a “/”. Most servers are configured to disallow directory browsing for security reasons.

Clearing Your Browser Cookies and Cache

    If the issue already been resolved, but still you are getting this error this means the error has been cached on your browser. To test this out just clear the browsers Cookie and cached data. Then reloading the page will re-download the data this may solve the issue.

Empty 'httpdocs' directory

    If you are testing your server there may be a chance that content has not been uploaded to the correct directory on your server. In that case uploading the content to the correct directory may resolve the issue.

Magical FTP

    Some directories are protected and cannot be used by HTTP protocol in that case you can use other protocols like FTP to access the files.

Change the IP

    In some cases, servers filter bad IPs. There is a slight chance that you are using a proxy or public IP address which is blacklisted by the server or maybe you are using another IP instead of the usual one. In these cases, you can change to your default IP or you can use some good proxies to access the site.

Permissions and ownership errors

    If you are the site owner then you can check for the file and folder permissions. Rule of thumb for correct permissions:

  • Folders: 755
  • Static Content: 644
  • Dynamic Content: 700

Contact the website Directly

    It's possible that the 403 Forbidden error is a mistake, everyone else is seeing it, too, and the website isn't yet aware of the problem. So, contact them let the admins be aware of the problem.

Try Again Later

    If none of the solutions we’ve talked about so far work, you can always wait a while and come back later. Since most of the time, 403 Errors are caused by issues with the website in question, it’s likely someone is already working on the problem.

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