.htaccess & 403 Forbidden

The 403 Forbidden Error may show if your .htaccess file or the public_html/ folder is inaccessible due to file permissions.

The 403 Forbidden Error may appear under the following error messages:

  • Forbidden. You don't have permission to access this directory on this server.
  • Forbidden. You don't have permission to access this resource.
  • HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden
  • Error 403 – Forbidden
  • 403 Forbidden: Request forbidden by administrative rules.
  • Access Denied: You don't have permission to access

Common causes

  • Incorrect file or directory permissions
  • Missing index.php, index.html or index.htm page in the public_html/ folder
  • If you use WordPress, faulty WordPress plugins may cause the error

Fix 403 Forbidden Error

Create the public folder

Verify that you have the public directory created:

  • /var/www/my_domain/public_html/ for Apache.
  • /usr/share/nginx/html/ for nginx. Others may be /var/www/html/.

Create the index page

Navigate to the public directory, i.e. public_html/, and check that you an index file:

  • index.php
  • index.html
  • index.htm

Check file and directory permissions

Generally, use the following files and directories permissions:

  • 755for directories
  • 644for static content (images, .htaccess)
  • 700for dynamic content (PHP files)

Set the correct directory permissions for the public directory, the public_html/ folder:

cd /var/www/my_domain/
chmod 755 public_html/

Set the correct file permissions for the .htaccess file:

cd /var/www/my_domain/public_html/
chmod 644 .htaccess

Check the .htaccess file

Certain directives placed in the .htaccess file may cause the 403 Forbidden Error.

Empty the entire .htaccess file to determine if the error is caused by the directives. Keep the file using the permissions suggested above (644).

Disable WordPress plugins

Faulty WordPress plugins may be the cause for the 403 Forbidden Error.

Disable newly installed plugins or disable plugins one by one until the error is triggered again.