How to Fix the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress


Facing the 403 Forbidden error on your WordPress site can be frustrating. This error can prevent access to your WordPress admin area and specific pages on your website. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to resolve the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress with ease.

What does the 403 Forbidden Error indicate in WordPress?

The 403 Forbidden error in WordPress occurs when your server permissions restrict access to a particular page on your website.

This error is typically accompanied by the following 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 various situations where you might encounter this error. For instance:

  • 403 Forbidden – Access denied on the wp-admin or WordPress login page.
  • 403 Forbidden – During WordPress install.
  • 403 Forbidden error – When visiting any page on your WordPress site.

Instead of the full 403 Forbidden status, you might also come across ‘Access Denied.’ Alternatively, the message could state, ‘Access to was denied. You don’t have authorization to view this page.’

For more insights into WordPress error codes, refer to our comprehensive list of the most common WordPress errors and their solutions.

What leads to the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

The 403 Forbidden error code arises when your server denies access to a specific page. Several factors can contribute to this issue.

A prevalent cause for the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress is poorly configured security plugins. Many WordPress security plugins might block an IP address (or a range of IP addresses) if they are deemed potentially malicious.

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

WordPress hosting companies might inadvertently make changes to their server settings, leading to a 403 Forbidden error on your site.

With that said, let’s delve into how to resolve the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress.

Now that you’re acquainted with the different types of 403 errors, let’s delve into their root causes.

Note: Prior to taking any actions, it’s advisable to create a comprehensive backup of your WordPress website. Refer to our guide on how to back up your WordPress site for assistance. If you utilize an automatic WordPress backup plugin, ensure that you have access to the most recent backup before proceeding.

Method 1: Resolving the 403 Forbidden Error Caused by a WordPress Plugin

Begin by investigating if any of your WordPress plugins is triggering the 403 Forbidden error. Temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins, including any security plugins installed on your site.

If this resolves the issue, it indicates that one of the plugins on your website was the cause of the error.

Identify the problematic plugin by reactivating your plugins one at a time until you encounter the 403 Forbidden error again. Subsequently, remove the problematic plugin and seek an alternative or contact the developers for assistance.

If this method doesn’t resolve the issue, please proceed with the next steps.

Method 2: Resolving the 403 Forbidden Error Caused by a Corrupt .htaccess File

Frequently, the 403 Forbidden error is triggered by a corrupt .htaccess file in your WordPress site. Fortunately, fixing this file is relatively straightforward.

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

Locate the .htaccess file in the root folder of your WordPress site. Refer to this guide if you can’t find the .htaccess file in your WordPress folder.

Download the .htaccess file to your computer to create a fresh backup. Subsequently, delete the file from your server. Don’t worry; your WordPress site will still function properly.

Now, attempt to access your website. If the 403 Forbidden error is resolved, it indicates that your .htaccess file was corrupt.

To generate a new .htaccess file, log in to your WordPress admin area and navigate to the Settings » Permalinks page.

Simply click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page, and WordPress will generate a new .htaccess file.


Method 3: Resolving the 403 Forbidden Error Caused by File Permissions in WordPress

If the previous solutions haven’t fixed the 403 Forbidden error on your site, incorrect file permissions are a likely culprit.

All files stored on your website have file permissions that control who can access them. Incorrect file permissions can trigger the 403 Forbidden error, as they lead your web server to believe you lack permission to access certain files.

You can ask your WordPress hosting provider to check your website for correct file permissions. Supportive hosts are usually willing to assist and may resolve the issue for you.

Changing file permissions yourself comes with potential risks. If you lack confidence, it’s advisable to seek help from another WordPress website owner or hire a professional.

If you decide to proceed independently, follow these steps to check your file permissions:

  1. Connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client and navigate to the root folder containing all your WordPress files.
  2. Click to select a folder, right-click it, and choose ‘File permissions’ from the menu.
  3. In the file permissions dialog box, set all folder permissions on your WordPress site to 744 or 755. Check the box next to ‘Recurse into subdirectories’ and select the option ‘Apply to directories only’. Click ‘OK’ to initiate the process.
  4. Repeat the process for files, setting file permissions to 644 or 640. Ensure to select ‘Recurse into subdirectories’ and ‘Apply to files only’. Click ‘OK’ to commence the process.

Your FTP client will set permissions for subdirectories and files accordingly.

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