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HTTP 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress and How to Fix?

HTTP 403 Forbidden ErrorHTTP 403 forbidden Error is a general issue indicating that the web server received and understood your request, but cannot take a further action to response it. It’s common to meet this problem when surfing on the Internet or running a website. Many people are hard to solve this error, but don’t worry. This tutorial comes with careful definition, causes, and resolutions of HTTP 403 Forbidden error in WordPress, helping you easily solve this problem with comprehensive introduction and guidelines.

What is HTTP 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

Just like many other HTTP error codes as HTTP 404 Error, HTTP 500 Error, HTTP 400 Error, 403 Forbidden is a simple HTTP status code appeared when you cannot successfully access a web page. It shows that you don’t have the permission to access on the server. For example, a web page may return this error in the browser window when your IP address is blacklisted, just like the below picture.

HTTP 403 Forbidden Error showcase

Well, as the 403 Forbidden error is customizable, it comes with different presentations, like “Error 403”, “HTTP 403 Error”, “403 Forbidden”, “HTTP 403 – Forbidden”, and so on – all are based on the site design.

The Causes of HTTP 403 Error in WordPress

There are many possible reasons may result in an HTTP 403 Error. In the below, we just list out some typical ones.

  • Your IP address is listed into the backlist by the server.
  • Your are trying to access the site with an exclusive frequency, especially utilizing collection procedures. So your requests are denied by the firewall.
  • The domain is already resolved to the hosting, but the hosting server doesn’t bind with this domain.
  • The script file of the web page doesn’t have permissions to execute in the current directory.
  • You are trying to create and write file under the directory list which doesn’t allow to read and write operation.
  • The server is busy because the same IP sends too many requests.

All these reasons are possible to cause HTTP 403 error, but not necessarily. To find the specific reason for a set error, we can see the sub-status error codes like the following.

HTTP 403 sub-status code

How to Fix HTTP 403 Error in WordPress?

Once encountered a 403 Forbidden, you need to be calm and find the corresponding method. Here we sum up some common solutions for solving this error easily.

Backup Your Site Firstly

Before addressing the 403 error, you firstly need to backup your WordPress site. This practice can eliminate your headache at the point of website breaking. After all, to deal with this HTTP error, you might be required to work with your core files, folders, plugins and many more in a deep manner.

Check and Modify the File Permissions

It is a common sense that all the WordPress files and folders have the access permissions to control who have the right to check the content. In this case, if your file permissions are set to the wrong value, the 403 error can happen, for the web server may think that you do not have the access freedom so as to refuse the requests.

To figure out this part, you need to leverage an FTP manager that can connect to your WordPress site. After accessing it using your exclusive login credential, you should go over the installation folder of WordPress by double clicking the public_html folder. This way, you can find all the essential files and folders.

Now, you just need to select them, right click your mouse and click the File Permissions button.

public_html Folder

Next, you can see a pop-up window that allows you to change the file permission. Here, to resolve the 403 error, you need to make sure that the permission value of all the folders is 755 or 744, while that of all the files is 640 or 644.

Change File Permissions

Before clicking the “OK” button, you need to tick the checkbox that applies the changes to all the sub-directories.

Fix the Corrupted .htaccess File

To be frank, once your .htaccess file is corrupted, there might be a lot of issues happened on your site, and the 403 error is one of them. However, the good news is that the process of fixing such a corrupted file is quite simple that only takes you a few minutes.

To check whether this file is wrong or not, you can firstly locate it from the WordPress root folder using either the FTP client or the File Manager tool available from the cPanel control panel. After that, you need to download this file to your local computer, and then, delete from your web server.

Fix the Corrupted .htaccess File

Now, you can go back to your site to figure out whether this error is removed. If so, it means your .htaccess file is in the wrong situation. In this case, you’d better generate a new one.

To create a fresh copy, you simply need to jump into the Settings page of your dashboard and click the Permalinks option. If there is nothing you want to change, you can directly click the Save Changes button. After that, a new .htaccess file is created and uploaded to your site server automatically.

Clear Cache and Cookies

Sometimes, you have already fixed this 403 error. However, the error may still exist due to the browser cookies and cache data. In this case, you need to clear them to make sure that your method truly takes effects.

In addition, if your website is powered by a cache plugin for the performance improvement, you’d better delete all the cached pages and turn off the caching function for a while.

Deactivate Your Plugins and Themes

Here, you need to know that some compatibility issues and the faulty settings of your plugins and themes may also cause the 403 error. In this case, you should deactivate all of them to figure out whether this error lays on this aspect. If the 403 error disappears, you can start the boring task of picking up the real trouble maker.

Here, to deactivate your plugins and themes altogether, you simply need to locate your plugin folder and theme folder using the File Manager or the FTP. After that, you can change their names to anything you like. This way, WordPress cannot find your plugins and templates so as to result in the deactivation.

Deactivate Your Plugins and Themes

Some Other Resolutions for the 403 Forbidden Error

The above mentioned practices are the top priorities you’d better carry out once you have encountered this 403 error. However, if the issue still cannot be fixed, you can also consider the below tips that are gathered from many other WordPress users.

  • Contact your web hosting provider. Sometimes, this error might be caused by some wrong server configurations and security settings determined by your web host. In this case, you’d better contact your hosting company to check if there is something wrong.
  • Fix the index.php file. Many webmasters claim that they fix this issue simply by deleting the old index.php file from the root directory and uploading a totally new one.
  • Install a new copy of WordPress. This can be your last choice if you have tried a large number of methods but none of them bring your WordPress site to the normal condition.
  • Check the IP deny rules. It is possible that you are blocking your IP in the web server. If so, you’d better unblock it using your control panel.
  • Modify the Index Manager. You need to make sure that you have not changed the settings of Index Manager to the No Indexing option.
  • It is possible that you have done all you can do, but the error still exists. If so, it is possible that your website is hacked. In this case, you’d better fix your hacked WordPres site by restoring your site using the latest backup file. If the problem is serious, you even need to clean up your WordPress site manually and thoroughly.
  • It is possible that the 403 error is caused due to your WordPress directories. In this case, you’d better figure out whether all your files and directories are available in the root folder of your site upon the proper WordPress installation.
  • Also, you can check whether it is your IP address that is blocked after using a VPN or a proxy when accessing your site.

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