How to Fix the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress Website?


Published on 25 Mar.

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    You must have encountered a 403 Forbidden Error or may be your access to server have been denied; that’s why you are led up till here, and reading this blog post. And most likely you don’t know why it popped up and what it means. But, you simply don’t need to worry about it, because it is a very common error and may appear frequently for a number of reasons. Almost everyone familiar with the web development field has encountered a 403 Forbidden error.

    This guide provides a detailed explanation of what causes the 403 Forbidden error and possible solutions that you can take to fix it. In this blog post, we will be explaining you about how you can fix 403 Error in your WordPress Site. However, all steps and instructions can be applied to any other CMS or any other static site.

    It’s also worth noting that the causes of the 403 error can vary depending on the different conditions. Sometimes this could be due to multiple changes your hosting company made or updates to your website.

    Anyway, let’s dive into the details of the bug itself and find out a little more about it. Next we will list the causes of the errors and possible solutions.

    What Are The Prerequisites?

    Before beginning with the process, you must have the access to your hosting control panel.

    What is 403 Forbidden Error?

    Before you attempt to fix 403 Error, we would recommend you developing the basic understanding of this error. Fundamentally, the Forbidden Error 403 is a HTTP status code. It often appears when you try to access an address or website that is denied access.

    Here are some examples of some of the most common mistakes:

    • Forbidden: You don’t have permission to access [directory] on this server.
    • Access Denied: You do not have permission to access [directory] on this server.
    • HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden.
    • HTTP Error 403 – Access Denied.
    • 403 forbidden request forbidden by administrative rules.
    • 403 Access denied by administrator.
    • 403 Forbidden.
    • 403 Access Denied.
    • Access Denied You don’t have permission to access.
    • Access is denied! You do not have permission to access.

    So what is the reason for their appearance? Let’s find out.

    Causes of Error 403 Forbidden Error

    Getting a 403 error message during development can be a problem. However, the reason is quite simple, you see this error because you are trying to access something for which you do not have permission. Showing a 403 error is one of the ways your site can communicate that you do not have sufficient rights to perform a given action or access something. The reason may include the following;

    • Incorrect Folder or File Permission.
    • Or Incorrect .htaccess File Settings.

    Now, let’s jump directly to the process of fixing Forbidden Error 403.

    How to Fix Forbidden Error 403

    Actually, fixing Forbidden Error 403 is quite easy and there are various tools available in the market that you may also use to fix this. But below, we have elaborated you an examples step by step that you can use for any WordPress Sirte. All you need to is following these steps correctly.

    Step 1 – Checking For Your .htaccess File

    You might be listening the word .htaccess file for the first and have no understanding of it. This is because it is not a generic file, in fact it is usually a hidden one in the directory of your site or project. However, this could be visible to you by default, if you are using any File Manager which has such specifications.

    In any other cases, for example, if you are using cPanel, you must enable the display of hidden files in the file manager settings:

    • Go to Control Panel and find the icon for File Manager.
    • Got to Public_html Directory and find .htaccess file.
    • If you cannot find this file, click Settings and check the Show hidden files (dotfiles) box.

    To give you an overview of the .htaccess file, we’ll cover it in a bit more detail. Htaccess is a server configuration file and is mainly for changing configuration in Apache server settings. It is required for your website to function properly. Also, almost all WordPress sites have the .htaccess file, however, in some rare cases it may be missing or simply deleted. In such case, you need to manually create the new .htaccess file.

    Once you find or create .htaccess file, you need to do the following steps;

    1. Download .htaccess to your computer to have a backup copy of it.
    2. Now deleted the file.
    3. Attempt to revisit the site.
    4. If it works fine, then your .htaccess file has been corrupted.
    5. Go to your WordPress Dashboard and then Go to Settings → Permalinks, in order to create new file.
    6. Click ‘Save Change’ button at the bottom without changing anything.
    7. After that, you should have a new .htaccess file.

    However, if this did not solve your problem, then proceed to the next step.

    Step 2 – Configuring Access Rights

    Another reason for the 403 Forbidden error to appear is incorrect permissions for your files or folders. In general terms, when files are created, they are assigned standard permissions. In some cases, for example, during the installation of plugins or other actions, it becomes necessary to change these access rights. This is pretty easy to do. You can use either an FTP client or File Manager for this. You can also use your client’s FTP to change its folder and file permission. Then, in this case, your step will be following;

    1. Use FTP to connect with your client’s site.
    2. Now go to your hosting accounts’ root directory which is usually the public_html.
    3. Now select the file and right click on it to select File Attributes.
    4. Check the checkbox of ‘Apply to Directories Only’, now enter the value of 755 within the input field and then click OK.
    5. After finishes changing the folder permission, now go back to Step 3 and repeat it. But this time, check the checkbox of ‘Apply to Files Only’ and by entering the value 640 in the number field.
    6. Now, now go back and try visiting your site to see if the error is resolved.

    Step 3 – Disabling WordPress Plugins

    If you still have not been able to solve this problem, then the chances are high that it is related to damaged or incompatible WordPress plugins. You can solve this problem simply by disabling them. To save you time and make sure that it is the plugin that is causing the error, we need to disable all plugins at once. What you are required to do is;

    1. Using FTTP, log on to your hosting account and then navigate to the public-html directory or the one that you have specified to locate your WordPress Files.
    2. Open the wp-content directory.
    3. Next, rename the plugins directory, for example to ‘plugins-disabled’, so that it is easier to find them later. This will disable all plugins completely.

    Now try to visit your site again. Did this solve the problem? If so, then one of the plugins was causing the 403 Forbidden error. Now rename the Plugins Folder to Plugins, and try disabling all the plugins one after the other. You can also change the folder name of a specific plugin to disable them individually. In this way, the knotty plugin can be easily detected.

    You can either try to reinstall the plugin or install a replacement. In worse scenario, if nothing of the above works fixing you 403 forbidden error issue, then you should get your hosting provider contacted to resolve the issue for you.


    You can get rid of the 403 forbidden error easily by following these simple steps. This error is quite annoying and prevents you from accessing your site. However, our step-by-step instructions will help you fix this error. We hope you found our guide helpful and simple enough to follow.

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