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Help for HTTP error 403: “Forbidden”

This HTTP error occurs when a server refuses to fulfill a request, typically because the request was for an object that you don't have permission to access.

Outline: Symptoms   Causes and Solutions

Symptoms

You should experience this error if you try to access the following link: http://www.getnetgoing.com/demo/errors/http-403/

Internet Explorer may report this as “The website declined to show this webpage

Microsoft Windows Update reports HTTP 403 errors with error code 0x80244018 (hexadecimal 80244018).

Apache web servers report this as follows (text in blue may vary):

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /index.html on this server.

Forbidden finger waving cartoon Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/apelad/
Microsoft IIS web servers define extended codes that give a more specific reason of the error:
Extended code Reason Microsoft Knowledge Base articles about server-side troubleshooting
403.1 Execute access forbidden 942065
403.2 Read access forbidden 942036
403.3 Write access forbidden 942035
403.4 SSL required See IIS 6.0 operations guide
403.5 SSL 128 required 308255
403.6 IP address rejected 248043 and 306833
403.7 Client certificate required 186812
403.8 Site access denied 248032
403.9 Forbidden: Too many clients are trying to connect to the Web server 262635 and 248074
403.10 Forbidden: Web server is configured to deny Execute access  
403.11 Forbidden: Password has been changed  
403.12 Mapper denied access 248075
403.13 Client certificate revoked 942063
403.14 Directory listing denied
See directory listing forbidden below
942062
403.15 Forbiden: Client access licenses have exceeded limits on the Web server 264908
403.16 Client certificate is untrusted or invalid 942061
403.17 Client certificate has expired or is not yet valid 942038
403.18 Cannot execute requested URL in the current application pool 942037
403.19 Cannot execute CGI applications for the client browser in this application pool 942048
403.20 Forbiden: Passport logon failed  
403.21 Forbiden: Source access denied  
403.22 Forbiden: Infinite depth is denied  

Google servers: Return an error which can be seen on this page:

Google
Sorry...

We're sorry...

... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

To continue searching, please type the characters you see below:

Causes and Solutions

Official description

  1. Directory listing: If the address that you tried to access only contains a domain name (e.g. www.example.com) or ends with a slash (/) then you will receive a HTTP 403 error when the server is configured not to allow directory (“folder”) listings. Such configuration is common because it allows the site to force you to navigate through it using links in approved web pages, and also allows it to hide files in those directories that may only exist for internal use.
    1. You might be able to fix this by appending the name of default web pages (e.g. “index.html”, “index.htm” or “default.html”) after the trailing slash to identify a page within that directory.
    2. Alternatively, try removing tailing parts of the address (each part being separated by a slash) until you are left with just the domain name of the server (preceded by http://).

  2. You need to log in: If you cannot access a particular page on a website, then it may be because you need to log in to access that page. Search for a login link on either
    • the page that referred to this page that you cannot access, or on
    • the default page for the web site (accessed with just the domain name of the web site, and no information after the domain name, i.e. slashes in the address should only appear in the initial http://).
    This situation is similar to that reported by HTTP 401 Unauthorized errors, except your credentials need to be supplied through cookies that are set from a log in page, rather than through a dialog box that appears when you first attempt to access a page.

  3. Your address may be blocked: Servers block access from addresses that have previously made excessive access, e.g. leading to the Google Sorry page. Such blockages usually affect all pages on a web server. While you may not have made excessive access, it is possible that you have been assigned an address (e.g. by your ISP) which someone else previously used excessively.
    1. Check if your address is blacklisted. Note that servers may maintain independent blacklists, so your address may appear in the server's blacklist, but not public blacklists.
    2. You may be able to access the site if you try
      • through a proxy since your request will then appear to the server to come from the proxy. Of course, the server may also block the proxy.
      • again later, by which time your address may have changed.

  4. The site may be disabled: Some hosting services, e.g. Google sites, may respond with HTTP 403 errors when they have disabled a site (e.g. because it did not comply with their Terms of Service).

Updated 14 June 2012

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