I get an HTTP Error 403 - Forbidden message when I try to view my website

Knowledge Base

I get an HTTP Error 403 - Forbidden message when I try to view my website

The '403 Forbidden' message means that the page is not permitted to view. There are a few common causes:

Index file missing or named incorrectly

When Internet users don't specify a file name when accessing a website (eg visiting the domain directly as most people do at http://www.example.com), the server will search through a list of default filenames and will display the first one it finds. Common default names are:

  • index.php
  • default.htm
  • index.html

The homepage of your website should use one of these names above, with all lowercase letters.

When you subscribe for one of our hosting plans, a simple index.html file is created on your hosting so that there is a default page there before you upload your site.

If this file is deleted and not replaced, then the 403 forbidden error will be shown. In order to fix this, make sure the file is called index.html and it is uploaded to the public_html directory.

Incorrect Access Control Settings

This error will also be displayed if the site's root directory has the wrong type of permissions eg: the access settings which you do not meet. These settings are usually contained in a hidden file called ".htaccess". This hidden file is sometimes generated manually, but it is also configurable with web development tools such as Microsoft FrontPage.

If you are using FrontPage, then you should alter the web permissions using this program, and republish your site. In most cases, manually deleting the .htaccess file will solve this type of problem.

Permissions errors

A file and the folder that has the wrong permission - recommended settings are:

711 or 755 for folders
755 for CGI Scripts
644 for PHP Scripts and HTML files

Site has been disabled

Sometimes, we have to disable websites that do not comply with our terms and conditions. By disabling a website, this may show as a 403 error - we will attempt to contact you as soon as possible if this is the case. 

If none of the above helps, please contact our Support team and we will be happy to help.