What is a 403 Forbidden Error and How to fix it?

If you are reading this article, then you recently may have come across the message saying “403 Forbidden Error”. And you must be wondering  What is a 403 Forbidden error, what causes a 403 forbidden error, and How to fix it?

Many times when you try to access your WordPress site you get hit up by some message saying “403 Forbidden Error ” or you don’t have any permission to access this site? If that’s the case, you’ve likely run into the 403 Forbidden error on WordPress.

Seeing this kind of message on your WordPress site can be frustrating and annoying, which is why I have created this detailed beginner guide to help you fix the 403 forbidden Error on WordPress and get your site online again as soon as possible.

So Let’s get started on What is 403 Forbidden error and what causes a 403 forbidden error.

what is a 403 forbidden error

What is a 403 Forbidden Error?

The 403 Forbidden Error Occurs when the web page or any other resources that you’re trying to open in your web browser is a resource that you’re not allowed to access. It’s called a 403 error because that’s the HTTP status code that the server uses to describe that kind of error.

You usually get this error for one of two reasons. The first is that the owners of the webserver have properly set up access permissions and that you’re really not allowed access to the site or resource.

The second reason is that the owners of the server have improperly set up permissions and you’re getting denied access when you really shouldn’t be.

Just like with 502 errors and 404 errors, website designers can customize how a 403 error looks. So, you might see different-looking 403 pages on different kinds of websites. Websites might also use different kinds of names for this error.

For example, you might see things like:

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

This kind of error is Sometimes a temporary error; sometimes it isn’t. Most of the time, there’s not much you can do to fix things on your end. Either there’s an error on the server-side or you are really not granted permission to access the site or resources.

What causes a 403 forbidden error?

Most of the time when there is a 403 forbidden error it’s because you are not allowed to proceed further and if this error occurs in the middle of development it seems disturbing.

The most common reason why we are seeing this error is that you are trying to access something you don’t have permission for. Displaying a 403 forbidden error is your web site’s way of stating that you don’t have permission to proceed further.

These errors basically occur due to:


There could be some issue with the .htaccess file. Most of the website, especially that is built with Content Management System(CMS) like WordPress, have .htaccess file.

If some changes are made to this file, and now your website is displaying a 403 error. Then you just need to modify it again or create a new one to resolve the “403 error” which is displaying due to the .htaccess file.

File Permission

These files and folders stored on your site need permission to access. It depends upon File permission to allow who can access these files or folders on your website. This 403 Forbidden error occurring means that your file has incorrect permission. A string of Three numbers denotes these permissions.

These should be the file permissions for the following:

  • WordPress site files must be 640or 644.
  • WordPress and Directories and folders must be 755.
  • Images, media, and text files like HTML should be 644 or 755.

Conclusion on What is a 403 Forbidden Error

The 403 Forbidden error means that your server is working properly, but you no longer have permission to view all or some of your sites for some reason.

The two most common causes of this error are issues with your WordPress site’s file permissions or the .htaccess file. Beyond that, some plugin issues might also cause the 403 Forbidden error on your site. Or it could be that something is misconfigured with hotlink protection or your CDN.

By following the step mentioned in this guide, you will be able to get your site back to working in no time.


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