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How to Fix the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress

Are you dealing with the 403 Forbidden error on your WordPress site? It is one of the most dreadful errors that a WordPress beginner can come across. In this article, we will show you how to easily fix the 403 forbidden error in WordPress.

Fixing 403 Forbidden error in WordPress

What is a 403 Forbidden – Access Denied Error in WordPress?

WordPress shows codes and messages when an error occurs on your website. See our list of most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

403 Forbidden status code shown on a WordPress site

403 Forbidden error code is shown when your server permissions don’t allow access to a specific page.

This is why the error is usually accompanied by the text:

403 Forbidden – You don’t have permission to access ‘/’ on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

There are different scenarios when you can see this error. For example:

  • 403 Forbidden – Access denied on wp-admin or WordPress login page.
  • 403 Forbidden – during WordPress install.
  • 403 Forbidden error when visiting any page on your WordPress site.
  • It is also possible that you only get to see ‘Access Denied’ instead of full 403 Forbidden status.
  • You may also see ‘Access to yourdomain.com was denied. You don’t have authorization to view this page.’

Now that you know about the different types of 403 errors, let’s talk about what causes this error.

What Causes 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

The most common cause for the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress is due to poorly configured security plugins. Many WordPress security plugins can block an IP address (or a whole range of IP addresses) if they believe them to be malicious.

This is why we use Sucuri to improve security of all our WordPress sites.

Another possible cause could be a corrupt .htaccess file or incorrect file permissions on your server.

Your WordPress hosting company can sometimes make accidental changes to their server settings. This may result in 403 Forbidden error on your site.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to solve 403 forbidden error in WordPress.

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Fixing 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress

Before you do anything, we recommend that you create a complete WordPress backup of your website. Here is our guide on how to manually create a WordPress backup.

If you were already using an automatic WordPress backup plugin, then make sure that you have access to a latest backup before moving forward.

1. Fixing 403 Forbidden Error Caused by a WordPress Plugin

First thing you need to do is to temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins. This includes any security plugins that you may have installed on your site.

If this resolves your problem, then this means one of the plugins on your website was causing this error.

You can figure out which plugin was causing the error by activating all your plugins one at a time until you are able to reproduce the 403 forbidden error.

2. Fix 403 Forbidden Error Caused by Corrupt .htaccess File

Often the 403 error is caused by a corrupt .htaccess file in your WordPress site. Repairing this file is quite easy.

First you need to connect to your website using a FTP client or file manager in cPanel.

Next, locate the .htaccess file in the root folder of your WordPress site. See this guide if you can’t find .htaccess file in Your WordPress folder.

You need to download the .htaccess file to your computer so that you have a fresh backup of it. After that, you need to delete the file from your server.

Delete .htaccess file from your WordPress site

Try accessing your website. If 403 forbidden error is resolved, then this means that your .htaccess file was corrupt.

You can generate a fresh .htaccess file by logging into your WordPress admin area and going to Settings » Permalinks page.

Regenerating .htaccess file in WordPress

Simply click on the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page and WordPress will generate a fresh .htaccess file.

3. Fix 403 Forbidden Error Caused by File Permissions in WordPress

All files stored on your website have file permissions. These file permissions control who can access files and folders on your website.

Incorrect file permissions can cause 403 forbidden error. It makes your web server thinks that you do not have permission to access those files.

If the above two solutions do not solve the 403 forbidden error on your site, then incorrect file permissions can be the most likely cause.

You can ask your WordPress hosting provider to check your website for correct file permissions. Some hosts are very supportive, they wouldn’t mind and will probably fix that for you.

Changing file permissions yourself can have serious consequences. If you do not feel confident doing it yourself, then ask a friend for help or hire a professional.

However, if you want to do it yourself, then here is how you would check your file permissions.

Simply connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client. Navigate to the root folder containing all your WordPress files.

Checking file permissions

Click to select a folder, right click and then select File Permissions from the menu.

Your FTP client will show you a file permissions dialog box like this:

Changing file permissions using FTP

All folders on your WordPress site should have a file permission of 744 or 755.

All files on your WordPress site should have a file permission of 644 or 640.

You can set the file permission to the root folder to 744 or 755. Check the box next to ‘Recurse into subdirectories’ and then check the option that says ‘apply to directories only’.

Click on the OK button. Your FTP client will now start setting permissions to all subdirectories in that folder.

Once it is done, you need to repeat the process for all the files. This time you will use file permission of 644 or 640 and don’t forget to select ‘Recurse into subdirectories’ and ‘apply to files only’. options.

Click on the OK button and your FTP client will start setting file permissions for all the selected files.

Try accessing your website now, and 403 forbidden error should be gone now.

We hope this article helped you fix the 403 forbidden error in WordPress. You may also want to see our expert tips and hacks to protect your WordPress admin area.

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Reader Interactions

144 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I am getting 403 Error on Updates page as well as Plugins Add new page any suggestions what can I Do?

    • Reach out to your hosting provider for them to take a look and they should be able to help fix that issue.

      Admin

  2. I tried all the mentioned points. My site is still showing the same message as “”Your connection is not private” and “403 Forbidden”. Please help…

    • If none of our recommendations are able to assist you, we would recommend reaching out to your hosting provider to ensure there are no issues on their end.

      Admin

    • There can be or sometimes the host may prevent the file permissions from being changed. If our guide did not help we would recommend reaching out to your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  3. Hi, how to solve the 403 forbidden but only happens when try to publish or update post/pages? I have no problems when accessing website or upload media

    • Reach out to your hosting provider for them to take a look and they should be able to assist and fix that issue.

      Admin

  4. I have done all the thing read in this article yet the problem persist is there any other solution?

    • If none of these recommendations helped, we would recommend reaching out to your hosting provider and they can normally assist

      Admin

  5. Followed up all tips, thank you. The htaccess one was closest: after removing the image Hotlinks rule within, my site is finally back to normal!

  6. I never knw .htaccess get corrupt. Tip number 2 fixed it quickly but I was unable to generate the .htaccess. So I downloaded, delete and re-upload the .htaccess and it worked super fine. Thank you, WPBeg

  7. Hi,

    Suddenly my website is showing a message “This site can’t be reached” .Can anybody help me ? i am unable to fix it for last 7days.

    Thanks,

    • Have you reached out to your hosting provider? They can normally let you know any errors they can find on your site.

      Admin

  8. I’m glad I read the post and tried everything mentioned here but it did not work. However, the user comments were resourceful. I tried step by step all the suggestions people have mentioned and I found that MOD SECURITY, just as others have mentioned, is the main culprit.

    Since I’ running a VPS, I disabled it from my control panel and did the adjustments I wanted on my site and it worked like a charm!.

  9. After I installed wordpress. My webpage is still on 403 error and when I go to /wp-admin a 404 error appears. Basically wp-admin is missing. How should I fix this?

  10. Hi,

    My images don’t appear at all when I view my site on different web browsers.

    What could be causing this?

    cheers

  11. I have tried all the things, checked stackoverflow, google, than tried these paths and none of them work. The last thing i did i reinstalled wordpress from dashboard and it worked. 403 forbidden disappeared…

    Thank you anyway for this article. hope my exp will help others also :)

    • Should the problem continue with yoast, if you reach out to the plugin’s support they may be able to update and fix the problem :)

      Admin

  12. File uploads with illegal characters (e.g. apostrophe in my recent cases) cause a 403 error. I have seen this with file submissions in Gravity and WPForms.

  13. I have started a new website for an individual through WP. When old website is pulled up, it gives a “Forbidden- access denied on this server”. I have tried many things through WP to fix the problem, but since it was that way before, would it be something from the last webhost? I have changed the nameservers on the domain site to the new host site I’m using. The new host has it as primary domain, but says domain is locked. Would unlocking the domain name make a difference? Any help would be MUCH APPRECIATED!!

    • If the domain is locked then your old hosting provider normally may not be accepting the nameserver edits. If you reach out to where the domain is currently hosted they should be able to ensure the domain is pointing correctly.

      Admin

  14. “Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden) async-upload.php:1” is the console error log I am seeing when I try to upload an image to media in the dashboard. It says “http error” when I try upload any files. And they’re only a few kb, also the upload size has been increased already.

    Any suggestions?!

    • Reach out to your hosting provider and let them know about the issue and they should be able to assist

      Admin

  15. Hiya Folks, I worked through everything and nothing seemed to fix my problem then I had a spark of genius. If you use Cpanel then check under the Security option for Hotlink protect. You may have it turned on. Just add your full site website web address to it and click submit it should work. It did for me

  16. why i am getting this problem –
    Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden)
    wp-content/themes/health/assets/slabText/css/slabtext.css?ver=5.0.3

    • You would want to take a look at step 3 in the article for an error like that with your theme

      Admin

  17. Works for me after i disabled ModSecurity on Cpanel. If you don’t have access to this option, contact your host provider and say that you want to disable this option.
    Hope that works for y’all!

  18. Hi, Please help.. I got this error when i tried to log in my wp-admin ..

    HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden
    The Web server is configured to not list the contents of this directory or you do not have enough permissions to access the resource

    Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (14)

    Thanks in advance

  19. When i was putting my second addon doamin i select blog in directory (optional). I think it should be empty now i can’t see my website when i enter sitename .com its says error. i can access my wp admin as sitename .com/blog/wp-admin. i want to remove blog from it. My first website on this hosting is working fine with wordpress, Godaddy. I don’t know what to do please some one help me???

  20. Thanks guys.
    You saved me a whole lot.
    I just discovered my Public Permissions were not readable and Executable.

  21. None of these fix my problem as it is one page and the only way i could fix it was to rename the permalink, The page in trouble is https://example.com/blog/ and the only way i could fix it was to change it to /blog2/, any ideas?

  22. Please somebody help me. I have two websites on the same host. I just added a third addon domain recently and installed wordpress to it through the softaculous installer.

    The problem is not from wordpress, and other websites on the same host is accessible.

    Please help.

  23. I hade one page Forbiden 403 and tryied all the steps. And now i dont have permission to login wp-admin on my site? :-(

  24. Thank you so much for this article. My problem was a corrupted htaccess file. My website is now working fine.

  25. I still having this problem. I tried all the steps. The problem began when I installed the WooCommerce plugin in my WordPress Site. Now in my wordpress y receive a 403 Forbidden and in my other site, without wordpress i recieived a 502 Bad Gateway error.

    Please someone can help me?

  26. I discovered – after all else failed and many hours spent, that at one time (but no longer) I used Bullet Proof security. It left a stray .htaccess file in my wp-admin folder – THAT, was causing the 403 error for me. ARGH!

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