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How to Fix the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress

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Are you dealing with the 403 Forbidden error on your WordPress site?

403 Forbidden error is one of the most annoying errors that a WordPress website owner can encounter. It may stop you from accessing your WordPress admin area and/or specific pages on your website.

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 the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

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

This 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.

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

403 Forbidden status code shown on a WordPress site

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

You may also see ‘Access Denied’ instead of the full 403 Forbidden status. Alternatively, the message might say, ‘Access to yourdomain.com was denied. You don’t have authorization to view this page.’

For more explanation about WordPress error codes, you can see our list of the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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

What Causes the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

The 403 Forbidden error code appears when your server doesn’t permit access to a specific page. There are several causes that can make this happen.

One common cause for the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress is 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.

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 a 403 Forbidden error on your site.

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

Note: Before you do anything, we recommend creating a complete WordPress backup of your website. You can check out our guide on how to back up your WordPress site.

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

You can use these quick links if you want to skip to a specific method:

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If you prefer written instructions, then just continue reading.

Method 1: Deactivate Your Plugins Temporarily

The first thing you need to do is see if one of your WordPress plugins is causing the 403 forbidden error. To do this, you need to temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins. This includes any security plugins that you may have installed on your site.

Bulk deactivate all WordPress plugins

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 reproduce the 403 Forbidden error. Then, you will need to delete the problem plugin and look for an alternative or contact the developers for support.

If this method doesn’t work, then just continue reading.

Method 2: Regenerate Your .htaccess File

Often, the 403 forbidden error is caused by a corrupt .htaccess file in your WordPress site. The good news is that fixing this file is quite easy.

First, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client like FileZilla or the File Manager app in cPanel.

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

You will need to download the .htaccess file to your computer so that you have a fresh backup of it. After that, simply delete the file from your server. Don’t worry, your WordPress will still be able to work.

Delete .htaccess file from your WordPress site

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

You can generate a fresh .htaccess file by logging in to your WordPress admin area and going to the 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 new .htaccess file.

Method 3: Correct Your File Permissions

If the other solutions have not fixed the 403 forbidden error on your site, then incorrect file permissions are the most likely cause.

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

Incorrect file permissions can cause the 403 forbidden error. They make your web server think that you do not have permission to access those files.

You can ask your WordPress hosting provider to check your website for correct file permissions. Some hosts are very supportive, so they won’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, it’s best to ask a fellow WordPress website owner for help or hire a professional.

However, if you want to do it yourself, then here is how to 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 it, 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.

Meanwhile, all files on your WordPress site should have a file permission of 644 or 640.

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

Simply click on the ‘OK’ button. Your FTP client will now start setting permissions for 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 the ‘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 see if the 403 forbidden error has gone.

Method 4: Clear Your Cache and Cookies

Sometimes a simple fix can be the most effective. Clearing your browser cache and cookies, as well as your WordPress cache if you’re using a caching plugin, can resolve the 403 forbidden error.

Just like how your computer stores temporary files to speed up loading times, your browser also caches website data. If this data becomes corrupted, it might cause compatibility issues and lead to the 403 error.

Similarly, a corrupted cache generated by a plugin can also lead to the server misinterpreting requests.

Some caching plugins also offer advanced settings that allow you to restrict access to specific pages or user roles. If these settings are accidentally misconfigured, they could unintentionally block access to certain parts of your website.

To clear your browser cache, you can follow the instructions in our article on how to clear cache in major browsers.

If you’re using a WordPress caching plugin, you can read our guide on how to clear WordPress cache and consult the plugin’s documentation.

Method 5: Temporarily Disable CDN (Content Delivery Network)

If you’re using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to improve website performance, it’s possible that it might be interfering and causing the 403 forbidden error.

A CDN acts as a middleman between your website’s server and visitors, serving cached content from geographically distributed locations for faster loading times.

To see if your CDN is the culprit, you can disable your CDN temporarily. Then, test your website to see if the error disappears.

If disabling the CDN resolves the error, you’ll need to contact your CDN provider’s support team for further troubleshooting.

Method 6: Check for Malware

Malicious software can cause a variety of issues including the 403 forbidden error. It can interfere with file permissions, inject malicious code, or disrupt communication between your website and server.

To see if there’s malware on your website, we recommend scanning your website using a security plugin or a service offered by your WordPress hosting provider.

Many reputable security plugins offer malware-scanning features, and you can usually remove these malicious files in one click.

Learn More Ways to Solve Common WordPress Errors

Having other problems with WordPress? Perhaps one of these guides can help you solve the issue:

We hope this article helped you fix the 403 forbidden error in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of the most common block editor problems and must-have WordPress plugins to grow your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

163 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. mohadese esmaeeli says

    Hello, good day. I appreciate your efforts in creating this content. The presence of a 403 error is often due to permission issues. I have encountered it multiple times, and most of the time, fixing permissions resolves the error. I’ve successfully resolved my site’s 403 error with the help of this guide before.

  3. Kevin says

    For my site it ended up being ModSecurity. I eliminated any robots.txt and .htaccess issues. I found the issue when looking at the apache log and then whitelisted the rule. All was fine after that . Took about 4 days to figure it all out.

  4. iri says

    Thanks for this information! It has been very helpful. I had this error in several pages with broken images (I think this happened after buying a larger hosting plan) and it seems the problem was a corrupted .htaccess file, but thanks to this info I solved it in one minute!

  5. Ayouba Seybou says

    Hello,
    i am getting the same error but in my case, i have access to my dashboard. the the problems begin when i click on some admin menu like page, update, setting.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Our recommendations would be the same even if you still have access to your wp-admin area.

      Admin

  6. Wendy Clash says

    Thank you so much. I had to restore my website and I got this error. The entire folder for my wordpress site dit not have the right permissions. I changed it and it worked. Thanks so much.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Thank you for sharing that, if it gets to the point where disabling mod security is what you want to try, we would recommend most beginners reach out to their hosting provider instead to see if their host sees an error or something on their end that could be fixed.

      Admin

  7. Peaky says

    Hey thanks for this Guide
    Saves me from a long headache
    Nb : Deactivate Litespeed Cache fix my problem

  8. Jason Gomes says

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

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  9. Suraj says

    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…

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  10. Aditya PF says

    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

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  11. Mohd Anwar says

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

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  12. Alan Wright says

    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!

  13. Alabi says

    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

  14. Humayan Kabir says

    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,

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  15. Essau says

    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!.

  16. N. iru says

    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?

  17. Adam says

    Hi,

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

    What could be causing this?

    cheers

  18. Nukri Tusishvili says

    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 :)

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  19. David Kempton says

    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.

  20. Jan says

    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!!

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  21. Stephanie says

    “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?!

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  22. liam says

    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

  23. Luthfunnahar Hussain says

    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

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  24. Wellington Lübke says

    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!

  25. twinkle says

    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

  26. asim says

    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???

  27. ItsMisterDavid says

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

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