403 forbidden WordPress – Fix Error WordPress

403 forbidden WordPress

Are you dealing with the 403 Forbidden error on your WordPress site? It is one of the most dreadful errors that a WordPress beginner can come across. In this article, we will show you how to easily fix the 403 forbidden error in WordPress.

Fixing 403 Forbidden error in WordPress

What is a 403 Forbidden – Access Denied Error in WordPress?

WordPress shows codes and messages when an error occurs on your website. See our list of the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

403 Forbidden status code shown on a WordPress site

403 Forbidden error code is shown when your server permissions don’t allow access to a specific page.

This is why the error is usually accompanied by the 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 different scenarios when you can see this error. For example:

  • 403 Forbidden – Access denied on wp-admin or WordPress login page.
  • Forbidden – during WordPress install.
  • 403 Forbidden error when visiting any page on your WordPress site.
  • It is also possible that you only get to see ‘Access Denied’ instead of the full 403 Forbidden status.
  • You may also see ‘Access to yourdomain.com was denied. You don’t have the authorization to view this page.’

Now that you know about the different types of 403 errors, let’s talk about what causes this error.

What Causes 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

The most common cause for the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress is due to 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.

This is why we use Sucuri to improve the security of all our WordPress sites.

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

Your WordPress hosting company can sometimes make accidental changes to its server settings. This may result in 403 Forbidden errors on your site.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to solve 403 forbidden errors in WordPress.

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Fixing 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress

Before you do anything, we recommend that you create a complete WordPress backup of your website. Here is our guide on how to manually create a WordPress backup.

If you were already using an automatic WordPress backup plugin, then make sure that you have access to the latest backup before moving forward.

1. Fixing 403 Forbidden Error Caused by a WordPress Plugin

The first thing you need to do is to temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins. This includes any security plugins that you may have installed on your site.

If this resolves your problem, then this means one of the plugins on your website was causing this error.

You can figure out which plugin was causing the error by activating all your plugins one at a time until you are able to reproduce the 403 forbidden error.

2. Fix 403 Forbidden Error Caused by Corrupt .htaccess File

Often the 403 error is caused by a corrupt .htaccess file in your WordPress site. Repairing this file is quite easy.

First, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client or file manager in cPanel.

Next, locate the .htaccess file in the root folder of your WordPress site. See this guide if you can’t find the .htaccess file in Your WordPress folder.

You need to download the .htaccess file to your computer so that you have a fresh backup of it. After that, you need to delete the file from your server.

Delete .htaccess file from your WordPress site

Try accessing your website. If the 403 forbidden error is resolved, then this means that your .htaccess file was corrupt.

You can generate a fresh .htaccess file by logging into your WordPress admin area and going to the Settings » Permalinks page.

Regenerating .htaccess file in WordPress

Simply click on the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page and WordPress will generate a fresh .htaccess file.

3. Fix 403 Forbidden Error Caused by File Permissions in WordPress

All files stored on your website have file permissions. These file permissions control who can access files and folders on your website.

Incorrect file permissions can cause 403 forbidden errors. It makes your web server thinks that you do not have permission to access those files.

If the above two solutions do not solve the 403 forbidden error on your site, then incorrect file permissions can be the most likely cause.

You can ask your WordPress hosting provider to check your website for correct file permissions. Some hosts are very supportive, they wouldn’t mind and will probably fix that for you.

Changing file permissions yourself can have serious consequences. If you do not feel confident doing it yourself, then ask a friend for help or hire a professional.

However, if you want to do it yourself, then here is how you would check your file permissions.

Simply connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client. Navigate to the root folder containing all your WordPress files.

Checking file permissions

Click to select a folder, right-click and then select File Permissions from the menu.

Your FTP client will show you a file permissions dialog box like this:

Changing file permissions using FTP

All folders on your WordPress site should have a file permission of 744 or 755.

All files on your WordPress site should have a file permission of 644 or 640.

You can set the file permission to the root folder to 744 or 755. Check the box next to ‘Recurse into subdirectories’ and then check the option that says ‘apply to directories only’.

Click on the OK button. Your FTP client will now start setting permissions to all subdirectories in that folder.

Once it is done, you need to repeat the process for all the files. This time you will use file permission of 644 or 640 and don’t forget to select ‘Recurse into subdirectories’ and ‘apply to files only’. options.

Click on the OK button and your FTP client will start setting file permissions for all the selected files.

Try accessing your website now, and the 403 forbidden error should be gone now.

We hope this article helped you fix the 403 forbidden error in WordPress. You may also want to see our expert tips and hacks to protect your WordPress admin area.


In conclusion, the 403 Forbidden error in WordPress is one of the most common errors encountered by beginners. This error usually occurs when the server permission does not allow access to a particular page. It may also be caused by poorly configured security plugins, a corrupt .htaccess file, or incorrect file permissions on the server. To fix the 403 Forbidden error, you can temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins, repair a corrupt .htaccess file, or check file permissions. It is essential to create a complete backup of your website before attempting to fix this error. In case you encounter any difficulty, you can ask for help from your hosting provider or hire a professional. By following the solutions provided in this article, you can easily fix the 403 Forbidden error and ensure that your WordPress site is up and running smoothly.

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