The 403 error message means that you’re blocked from accessing a certain page for one reason or another. You can easily resolve your access issues once you find the source of the problem. Before we get started fixing 403 errors, here are some examples of common 403 error messages just in case there isn’t a bespectacled ghost there to tell you:
- HTTP 403 Permission Required
- You are not authorized to view this page
- Error 403 Access Denied
- Permission Denied
3 Possible Causes for 403 Errors
After identifying a 403 error on your site, there are a three common problems that could be causing it. Here are the three most likely causes and how to fix them:
Empty Public Directory
One likely cause of your 403 error is an empty public directory or “public_html” directory. The public_html directory stores all of the website files for your primary domain. If your files are stored in the wrong place or you have no files in the public directory, you’ll experience a 403 error when trying to access your primary domain. You can fix this by first verifying that you have the correct files stored in your public_html directory. If not, then move your website files to the appropriate place.
Missing Index Page
The pages named index.html or index.php are automatically configured to be your home page. If your home page file is named incorrectly it’ll result in a 403 error. Verify that your files are named correctly to see if this the cause of your 403 error. If so, it’s an easy fix with the ACC.
The most common cause of 403 errors is file permissions. File permissions are assigned to files to control user access. It’s possible that your permissions are incorrectly assigned or need updated to fix the 403 error.
Learn how to update your file permissions here.
Encountering a 403 in the Wild
Occasionally, you may come across a 403 error in the wild, on a website you don’t manage. If you really need access to that content or are understandably experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out), you have a few options. Here are a few steps to take when you encounter a 403 error on a website you don’t control:
- First, check for URL errors and make sure you’re searching for an actual web page file name and extension.
- Then try clearing your browser cache – you could be having issues with a cached version of the page you’re viewing.
- You can also try clearing your browser cookies.
- If you still get a 403 error, contact the website owner and let them know a page on their site isn’t working properly.
- Last, contact your ISP. If you know the site works for others and not for you, it’s possible your public IP address was blacklisted.