3 Ways to Fix the 403 Forbidden Error on your WordPress Site

Whenever an error occurs on a WordPress site, it display codes or error messages in return. The 403 Forbidden error code is specifically shown when server doesn’t allow access to a certain page. This is why the error is usually accompanied by the following text:

403 Forbidden – You don’t have the permission to access ‘/’ on this server.

A 403 Forbidden error can also occur while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request. Following can be the scenarios when such an error occurs:

  1. 403 Forbidden – Access denied on wp-admin or WordPress Login page
  2. 403 Forbidden – during WordPress installation
  3. 403 Forbidden error – while visiting any page on your WordPress site

It is also possible that you only see ‘Access Denied’ or ‘Access to your was denied. You don’t have authorization to view this page’ text instead of 403 Forbidden statuses.

Here are the 3 most common reasons due to which your WP site may display the 403 Forbidden Error and their fixes.


The most 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.

You need to deactivate all WordPress plugins including security plugins that are installed on the site temporarily. If this resolves the problem then it means one of the installed plugins was causing this error. Additionally, you can figure out which plugin was causing the error by activating all the installed plugins one at a time until the 403 forbidden error appears.

Corrupt .HTACCESS File

Another possible cause could be a corrupt .htaccess file or incorrect file permissions on your server. WordPress hosting sites sometimes make accidental changes to their server settings. This may result in a 403 Forbidden error on your website. Before taking any step to resolve this issue, it is recommended to create a complete WordPress backup of your website.

You can repair the file easily by using the following steps:

  1. Connect to the website using an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel
  2. Locate the .htaccess file in the root folder of WordPress site
  3. Download the .htaccess file to your computer so that you have a fresh backup of it
  4. To delete the file from your server, generate a fresh .htaccess file by logging into your WordPress Admin Dashboard. Now go to Settings » Permalinks page. Click on Save Changes button located at the bottom of Permalinks page. WordPress will then generate a fresh .htaccess file.

Permission Issues

Incorrect file permissions can cause a 403 forbidden error. It also makes the web server think that you don’t have the permission to access those files. If the above two solutions don’t solve the 403 forbidden error on your website then incorrect file permissions can be the most likely cause.

In order to resolve this issue, connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client. Navigate to the root folder containing all WordPress files. Make sure that all the folders on your WordPress site should have a permission of 744 or 755 while all the files should have a file permission of 644 or 640. After implementing this solution, the 403 forbidden error should be gone.

User Comments

1 thought on “3 Ways to Fix the 403 Forbidden Error on your WordPress Site

    manish says:

    I have recently been getting a 403 forbidden page when visiting urls on my site. This only occurs from any computer on the office network.

    The thing is that it first happened when I was updating my site to wp-core 4.5 and the latest version of my premium theme. So I thought it was to do with that. I went through methodically checking my .htaccess both root and admin (which actually had not changed anyway), checked file permissions, checked my hosts (to see if our range of IPs were blacklisted), deactivated all plugins, swapped theme to default 2016 but the 403 was still happening. In desperation I reloaded a backup of the site both database and files.

    When I went back on in the morning the site was fine. I could edit, view, etc. Ahh I thought that must have been the reason (I didn’t think about the overnight change of IP!). So carried on with the older version. About half way through the day the 403 error pages were back! Arrgghh. I did notice that when this happened one computer on the network had just been booted up. This could be the problem I thought. I disconnected the computer and then restarted the router (for new IP) and I was back in. I then updated the wp-core to 4.5 and it was OK for a bit, but then the dreaded 403 came back. So it wasn’t that one computer. This time I just went and reset the router and I was back in.

    So I’m confused, it doesn’t seem to be the IP range as I am now happily connected and using, it doesn’t seem to be the wp-core or theme update as it happened again with the old versions installed, it’s not the .htaccess and it doesn’t seem to be any of the plugins.

    Someone has mentioned that it could be stemming from an FTP client. I use filezilla and the times of it’s use could well match the 403 error. Has anyone heard of the program causing this?

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