If you see a 403 Forbidden error when opening your website, it means that the server could not authorize your request. This may be due to a few different reasons:

Incorrect file structure or permissions

You may have incorrect file or folder permissions. If that’s the case, you can easily fix the permissions of your files.

Alternatively, the public_html folder is missing or empty. Go to HomeManage, search for File Manager and click on it:

If it is not present, simply create a new directory named public_html and make sure to upload your website files in this location. In case your files are in a different folder, move them to the correct path.

Issues on the .htaccess file

To check if the .htaccess file may be corrupted or have some incorrect configurations, go to the public_html folder of your domain using the File Manager, locate the .htaccess file and rename it, eg. to .htaccess-disabled:

Clear your browser cache and try accessing your website - if it works it means you need to double-check the code within your .htaccess file. Some common issues are:

  • Deny rules

  • Incorrect rewrite rules

  • Improperly set redirections

For WordPress-based websites, some security plugins can add Deny from All rules to your .htaccess files:

In that case, look for these lines and remove them if necessary.

NOTE

  • These WordPress plugins can also create .htaccess files with deny rules in directories like wp-admin and prevent you from reaching them

Incorrect A record

Go to your domain’s DNS Zone and make sure that the A record is set to the IP of your hosting plan:

After making any changes to your DNS records, allow up to 24 hours for them to propagate fully, and your website should start working! 😊

Further steps

While these are the most common reasons for the 403 error, there still may be other factors that you can consider, such as a missing index page, a faulty WordPress plugin, or a malware infection.

You can find more information about these cases and how to fix them in this comprehensive tutorial: What Is the 403 Forbidden Error and How to Fix it.

You can also check the following video tutorial:

NOTES

  • For detailed information on any 403 errors encountered on your website, you can check the Access Logs section on hPanel

  • If you're seeing the 403 error when logging into hPanel, check this article: How to fix 403 error in hPanel

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