How to fix "HTTP Error 403" in WordPress

A web server may return a 403 Forbidden HTTP status code in response to a request from a web browser for a web page. It indicates that the server can be reached and understood the request, but refuses to take any further action. Status code 403 responses are the result of the web server being configured to deny access, for some reason, to the requested URL by the web browser.

The following are some possible cause and it's solutions.

Window server

There could be problems with Directory Indexes if your blog is hosted on a  Windows server. Please contact your web hosting company to assist in resolving this issue, you will need help in adding index.php to your web.config file.

Firewalls or Security Plugin

HTTP 403 errors can also result from  website firewalls or other security plugins. If the URL is correct and the 403 error persists, check to see if the firewall is preventing access to any web pages. Check if your IP is being blacklisted by your firewall or security plugin. Turn off your firewall and security plugin, clear your browser cache and see if you are able to access your website. You should reconfigure them to prevent them from blocking visitors.

File and Folder Permissions

Your file and folder permissions if set wrongly, it can also cause a HTTP 403 error. Try setting folders to 755 and files to 644.

  1. Login to your web server using FTP. 
  2. Go to the file and right click. Choose Permissions or Attributes or Properties (depends on your program).
  3. You should be able to see it's permission.

.htaccess

Check your  .htaccess file for any codes that are not added by WordPress. Your plugin could have added them and it could have been incompatible with your setup and blocked your access. A basic WordPress .htaccess looks something as follows.

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress

Contact Web Hosting Company

If the above suggestions does not work, you should contact your web hosting company for help. This is a server error, therefore only your web hosting company is able to help you. Not the Theme or Plugin developer.

External Resources

  1. HTTP 403
  2. Changing File Permissions
  3. WordPress .htaccess