Wednesday, August 1, 2007

403 Forbidden Error: What To Do

When surfing the Internet you may run into a 403 Error every once in a while. A 403 error means that you have been forbidden access to entire the site. In some cases you may want to forbid access to certain people who wish to enter your web site.
This error usually indicates that the web server is refusing to fulfill your request even though it understood what you were trying to do. The server may provide details as to why this occurs, but this may not always be the case. A 403 error can be caused by a number of different reasons and we will examine a few of them and the resolutions.
1) If you notice, some folders allow you to access and view a listing of their files. On most of our servers, indexes are off. This means that you can create a folder and put many files in it without an index file present. When a user goes to that folder, the folder will not list its contents because indexes are off. The user who navigates to that folder will see a forbidden 403 error message. If this is the case with your folder, and you do not want users to see a 403 message, be sure you have uploaded an index file such as index.html, index.htm, index.php, and so on. You only need one index file which will be your main page.

2) This error can also be seen if you try to access a file or folder that does not have its permissions set correctly. For example, when running a script on our servers, the permissions for "the folder that contains the script" and "the script file" must be 755. If you set the permissions to 700, you will see a forbidden error. Also, make sure the public_html folder is always 755 for best performance. On a windows server, you may need to set access to allow "modify" to a file or folder to avoid this error.

3) A .htaccess file can also be the cause of a 403 forbidden error. A .htaccess file can be used to prevent hotlinking, ban certain IPs, turn off directory indexes, etc. If you run into a 403 and it is not your intention, look to see if you have a .htaccess file in your folders and rename it to something else. That may do the trick. Note: If you use frontpage, it is not a good idea to get rid of this file altogether because frontpage uses this file. Also, removing this file will undo any password protected directories, banned ips, hotlinking protection, index settings, you may have set up.

If you have tried the preceding three options and have not been successful, please give our tech line a call or email us and we will look into this further. We strive to provide you with the best hosting services in the world, do not hesitate in contacting us.

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