How To Fix 403 Forbidden Error In WordPress?

How To Fix 403 Forbidden Error In WordPress

So you’re facing a frustrating issue with your WordPress website – the dreaded 403 Forbidden Error. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of this error and show you how to fix it like a pro.

First things first, let’s understand what exactly the 403 Forbidden Error is all about. Essentially, it’s a response your website server gives when it refuses to grant access to a particular resource. It’s like being told, “Sorry, you’re not allowed to go there!”

Now, you might be wondering, “Why is my website being so strict?” Well, there are a few common reasons behind this error, which we’ll explore in detail. By knowing the causes, you’ll be better equipped to tackle them head-on.

What Causes the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress?

Before we dive into troubleshooting the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress, it’s essential to understand the common causes behind this frustrating issue. By gaining insight into these causes, you’ll be better equipped to identify and resolve the problem effectively.

Insufficient File and Folder Permissions: One of the primary culprits behind the 403 Forbidden Error is incorrect file and folder permissions. When the server restricts access due to insufficient permissions, it leads to the error. This can happen when permissions are set too restrictively or when there are conflicts between different files and folders.


Plugin or Theme Conflicts: Conflicts with plugins and themes can also trigger the 403 Forbidden Error. Sometimes, a specific plugin or theme may contain code that interferes with the server’s access permissions, resulting in the error. Incompatibility issues or outdated versions of plugins and themes can contribute to this conflict.

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Corrupt .htaccess File: The .htaccess file is a powerful configuration file that controls various aspects of your website. If this file becomes corrupted due to improper modifications, it can cause the server to deny access, leading to the 403 Forbidden Error.

Security Plugins and Firewall Settings: While security measures are essential for protecting your website, they can sometimes become too strict and block legitimate access. Security plugins or firewall settings may have rules or configurations that mistakenly label certain requests as suspicious, triggering the 403 Forbidden Error.

Related: Best WordPress Security Checklist 2023

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, let’s move on to the troubleshooting steps to fix the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress and regain control of your website.

Troubleshooting the 403 Forbidden Error

Troubleshooting the 403 Forbidden Error can be a frustrating endeavor, but fear not! We’re here to help you navigate through the maze of potential solutions. 

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Here, we’ll walk you through step-by-step troubleshooting techniques to resolve the error and get your WordPress website back on track. From clearing browser cache to examining security settings, we’ll cover various approaches to tackle the 403 Forbidden Error head-on. 

Wondering where to find reliable WordPress help online? Don’t worry, Seahawk is here to help but before that, llet’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the troubleshooting process to reclaim access to your website.

Fixing the 403 Error by Clearing Browser Cache and Cookies

Alright, let’s start with a quick and easy fix that often does the trick: clearing your browser cache and cookies. Think of your browser cache as a storage space where it keeps copies of the websites you visit to load them faster next time. Sometimes, this cache can cause conflicts and lead to the 403 Forbidden Error.

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So, here’s what you need to do:

  • Open up your browser settings.
  • Look for the “History” or “Privacy” section.
  • Now, find the option to clear your browsing data or cache. It might be labeled as “Clear browsing data,” “Clear cache,” or something similar.
  • Make sure to select the option to clear both cache and cookies. These little cookies are like crumbs that websites leave on your computer, and they can sometimes cause conflicts too.
  • Once you’ve selected the appropriate options, click on that magical “Clear” or “Delete” 

If this quick fix didn’t do the trick, don’t worry. We have more troubleshooting steps up our sleeves. Let’s move on to the next one.

Fixing the 403 Error by Resolving File and Folder Permissions Issues

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into another potential culprit behind the 403 Forbidden Error – file and folder permissions. Every file and folder on your WordPress website has certain permissions assigned to it, determining who can access or modify them.

Sometimes, incorrect permissions can trigger the dreaded 403 error. But fear not, we’ll guide you through the process of checking and fixing these permissions.

  • Open your FTP client and connect it to your WordPress website using the provided credentials. If you’re not sure where to find these, reach out to your WordPress hosting provider.

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  • Once connected, you’ll see a list of files and folders on your website. Locate the folder or file that’s generating the 403 Forbidden Error.
  • Right-click on the file or folder, and select “File Permissions” or “Change Permissions” from the context menu. This will open a dialog box showing the current permissions.
  • Now, we need to ensure that the permissions are set correctly. In most cases, folders should have a permission of 755, while files should have a permission of 644. You can modify the permissions by entering the numerical value or checking the appropriate boxes.
  • After adjusting the permissions, click on the “Apply” or “Save” button to save your changes.
  • Repeat this process for any other files or folders that might be causing the 403 Forbidden Error.

Fixing the 403 Error by Disabling Plugins and Themes

Sometimes, conflicts with plugins and themes can trigger the 403 Forbidden Error on your WordPress website. Here is a solution that might just save the day.

  • Open your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Navigate to the “Plugins” section in the sidebar. Here, you’ll find a list of all the plugins installed on your website.
  • Start by deactivating all the plugins at once. Look for the option to select all plugins or use a bulk action to deactivate them. This step temporarily disables all plugins, allowing you to identify if any of them are causing the 403 Forbidden Error.

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  • Now, visit your website to see if the error is gone. If it is, then you know one of the plugins was the culprit. Proceed to the next step to identify which plugin it is.
  • Return to the WordPress admin dashboard and reactivate your plugins one by one, testing your website after each reactivation. This way, you can pinpoint the exact plugin that triggers the 403 Forbidden Error.

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  • When you find the problematic plugin, delete it and look for another alternative for that plugin if its functionalities are essential for your website.
  • In some cases, themes can also cause conflicts leading to the 403 error. To test this, go to the “Appearance” section in the WordPress dashboard and switch to a default WordPress theme. Check if the error persists with the default theme enabled.

Fixing the 403 Forbidden Error Caused by Corrupt .htaccess File

The .htaccess file – a tiny but powerful configuration file that can sometimes wreak havoc and trigger the 403 Forbidden Error on your WordPress website. Let’s look at how to resolve this.

  • To start, you’ll need access to your website’s files again. You can use an FTP client or a file manager provided by your hosting provider.

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  • Locate the root folder of your WordPress installation. This is where you’ll find the .htaccess file. It’s often in the same directory as your wp-admin and wp-content folders.
  • Before making any changes, it’s essential to create a backup of your .htaccess file. Right-click on the file and choose the “Download” or “Save” option to save a copy to your computer. This backup ensures that you can revert back in case anything goes awry.
  • Once you’ve created a backup, you can go ahead and delete the existing .htaccess file from your server. Don’t worry; we’ll regenerate it later with the correct settings.

Related: Best WordPress Backup Plugins 2023

  • Now, visit your WordPress admin dashboard. Head over to the “Settings” section and click on “Permalinks.”
  • Without making any changes, simply click on the “Save Changes” button. This action generates a new .htaccess file with the proper configuration for your permalinks.
  • Finally, revisit your WordPress website to check if the 403 Forbidden Error has bid farewell. With a fresh .htaccess file, your website should be back in action.

Here, you’re essentially resetting its configuration and allowing your website to function properly. If the error is still holding on tight, don’t despair. We have more troubleshooting techniques up our sleeve. Let’s move on to the next step and conquer this error together!

Fixing the 403 Forbidden Error by Examining Security Plugins and Firewall Settings

When it comes to website security, sometimes our protectors can be a bit overzealous. Security plugins and firewall settings designed to safeguard your WordPress website can sometimes go overboard and trigger the 403 Forbidden Error. 

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But fear not! We’ll help you navigate through this obstacle and restore access to your site.

  • Start by accessing your WordPress admin dashboard. From there, navigate to the “Plugins” section and locate your security plugin. If you’re not sure which plugin is responsible, look for those with names like “security,” “firewall,” or similar terms.
  • Temporarily disable your security plugin by clicking on the “Deactivate” or “Disable” button. This action will help us determine if the plugin is causing the 403 Forbidden Error.

Learn More: How To Protect Your WordPress Site From Malware?

  • After disabling the security plugin, visit your website and see if the error persists. If the error disappears, it’s likely that the security plugin was the culprit. In that case, proceed to the next step.
  • Re-enable the security plugin, but this time, we’ll need to review and adjust its settings. Look for options related to IP blocking, access restrictions, or firewall rules. Carefully review these settings, ensuring they don’t inadvertently block access to your website.
  • If you identify any overly restrictive settings, consider whitelisting your IP address. This action ensures that your own access to the website is not blocked. Look for an option to add your IP address to the whitelist or trusted list within the security plugin’s settings.
  • Save the changes and visit your website once again to check if the error has been resolved. With the appropriate security plugin and firewall settings in place, your website should be accessible without triggering the 403 Forbidden Error.

By examining and adjusting your security plugins and firewall settings, you strike a balance between protection and accessibility. It’s like having your website guarded by a reliable bouncer who allows legitimate access while keeping the troublemakers at bay.


In conclusion, the 403 Forbidden Error in WordPress can be a frustrating roadblock, but with the right knowledge and troubleshooting steps, it can be overcome. By addressing potential causes such as file and folder permissions, plugin and theme conflicts, corrupt .htaccess files, and security settings, you can gradually eliminate the factors contributing to the error.

Remember, troubleshooting requires patience and persistence. It may take a few attempts to pinpoint the exact cause and find the appropriate solution. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from professional WordPress experts to get it right in the first place. 

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