Everyone who spends time online has come across an HTTP status error at one point or another. Few of them, however, are as trying as getting a 403 Forbidden error on your own WordPress website. Considering you pay for a hosting service and probably set up that WordPress install on your own, it’s nice-looking insufferable when you’re denied access.

Fortunately, this error is not a by product of your servers unexpectedly becoming sentient and deciding to take over your website.It’s just a matter of it refusing a request due to a lack of necessary permissions, most often due to something minor breaking down in your WordPress installation. In fact, you’ll probably spend more time figuring exactly where the error lies How to Solve 403 forbidden ERROR in WordPress?.

First: Backup! 

Before we jump into the meat of the article, let us take up a brief moment of your time in order to spread the gospel of performing regular backups. In case you haven’t taken the time to set up a backup solution for your WordPress website, you definitely should. Even though the 403 Forbidden error can be pretty simple to fix, having a recent backup can save you a giant headache at some point when you do run into a site breaking error.

Step 1: Check Your File Permissions

The 403 Forbidden error is the importance of a server refusing a request due to a lack of proper permissions. Therefore, it makes sense to start your troubleshooting by checking whether your WordPress files have the correct permissions.

First of all, in order to check this out, you’ll need to use an FTP manager. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be working with FileZilla, and if you need any help setting it up or learning the basics, take a look  where we covered everything you need to know.

Once you’re set on that front, you’ll want to access your FTP server using your login credentials, then go over to your WordPress installation folder. If you haven’t done this before, they’re located inside the public_html folder – all you have to do is double-click on it.

 

ftp-public-html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside public_html, you’ll find a lot of folders and files that represent the backbone of your WordPress website. Each of these will have its own permission settings, with a numeric value that tells you exactly which interactions are enabled for which group of users. For example, every WordPress folder should have a setting of 755 by default, which can be easily seen on FileZilla.

 

ftp-file-permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The permission column should appear to you by default, but if for some reason it doesn’t, all you have to do is right-click on the titles of the columns in order to activate it. Additionally, you can simply right-click each file or folder and choose the File Permissions option. You’ll then be able to modify the numerical value of the permissions or manually change the settings for each group of users, which will automatically update the permission value.

Step 2: Check Your .htaccess File

It is possible for your .htaccess file to become corrupted, which in turn can cause a 403 Forbidden access error to appear on your WordPress site. The good news is that fixing a corrupted .htaccess file will only take you a couple of minutes with the aid of your trusty FTP manager How to Solve 403 forbidden ERROR in WordPress.

If you’re following our guide step-by-step, your FTP manager should still be open – otherwise, get it started again and go to your WordPress root folder. Therein you’ll find the .htaccess file we’re looking for, and we’ll proceed to make a backup of it just to play it safe. Right-click on the file and choose the Download option. It will then be downloaded to the folder that’s set in your Local File directory

 

ftp-htaccess  

 

 

 

 

Once you have a copy stored securely on your computer, proceed to delete the .htaccess file on your WordPress installation. Don’t worry, we will be restoring it shortly, and you should still be able to access your dashboard.

When you have successfully deleted the file, try to access your site again in order to see if the error persists. If it does, we can discard the .htaccess file as the source of the problem – in which case simply proceed to re-upload the copy you made to your WordPress root directory via FTP.

However, if deleting the file does solve your issue, it was most likely corrupted – in which case we’ll have to generate a new copy. To do so, access your dashboard, jump to Settings, and select the Permalinks option. Inside, you may proceed to update your settings if there is anything you wish to change. As an aside, it’s important to note that updating your permalink structure can sometimes result in a 403 Forbidden error, since the rules you set are inserted into the.htaccess file.

Once you’re satisfied, simply click on Save Changes, and this will automatically generate a brand new .htaccess file

 

wordpress-permalinks-htaccess

 

 

Step 3: Check Your Plugins

We already covered this in detail in a previous guide, but let’s do a quick recap in case you unused it. It’s quite easy to find out whether the 403 Forbidden error is being caused by a faulty plugin without having to deactivate each one individually.

All you have to do is deactivate them all at once, and if the error disappears, you can proceed to go through the boring task of pinpointing exactly which plugin was causing the error in the first place.

In order to achieve this feat, all you need to do is relocate to your plugin directory via FTP, and change its name to something different as in the example below.

 

ftp-plugins-deactivated

This will render WordPress unable to find your plugins, and therefore result in their deactivation. Once that’s done, proceed to check once more whether the error is gone – if that’s the case, restore the folder’s name, then change the name of each individual folder inside in order to deactivate them until you find the culprit.

Conclusion

As you can see, the 403 Forbidden error is really more of a nuisance than something to be scared of. Chances are that if you ever run across this issue, you’ll be able to fix it in a matter of minutes with a little tinkering – and the help of our guide.

Let’s run through a quick recap. If your server does rise up against you and you’re faced with a 403 Forbidden error on your WordPress site, all you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Check your user privileges.
  2. Check your.htaccess
  3. Check your plugins.