What Can Cause Apache to Show a 403 Forbidden Error?


Quick Answer

A Web browser displays a 403 error request when the browser is unable to access the content at a given URL. Fixing this problem on an Apache server involves ensuring that there is a default directory file in place, that CGI scripts have executable permissions and that directory permissions are properly set on the directory. Log files in the Apache log directory| sometimes reveal specific clues as to why the 403 error was generated.

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Full Answer

A 403 error may be caused by an index.html or index.htm folder not being present in the accessed directory. Creating a blank file and naming it index.html is a good way to test whether this is the problem. If CGI scripts are invoked on a particular page, running the "chmod +x file.cgi" command ensures that they have the proper executable permissions needed to prevent a 403 error from appearing.

Looking at the Apache vhost file for the website or folder that is being accessed is also a good idea, since improper directory permissions can sometimes cause a 403 error. Ensure that the vhost file has the correct permissions for the directory. Apache log file locations vary depending on the specific server operating system on which Apache is running, so the relevant operating system documentation should be consulted to find where these log files are located. Viewing the last few lines of an Apache log after a 403 error has been generated may reveal what particular issue has caused the 403 error.

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