Learn how to troubleshoot WordPress 403 Forbidden error messages. We show you how to check for a corrupt .htaccess file. Diagnose faulty WordPress Plugins and checking for correct WordPress file permissions.


When you attempt to view your WordPress site, or login to your WordPress admin area you see an error similar to the below;

403 Forbidden – You don’t have permission to access ‘/’ on this server.


  • Your browser returns a 403 denied error message.
  • You’re unable to view your WordPress site.
  • You’re unable to login to your WordPress admin Dashboard.

How to fix 403 errors in WordPress

We have seen a number of issues which can cause WordPress 403 errors. We recommend checking the following;

Fix 403 forbidden errors using .htaccess

A corrupt .htaccess file, or an .htaccess access with rules denying access to your WordPress site can result in 403 errors.

The fastest way of checking if your .htaccess file is cuasing problems, is to backup and rename the file. You can do this using your FTP client or your cPanel File Manager.

  1. Log in to cPanel.
  2. Open File Manager.
  3. Locate the .htaccess file in the parent WordPress folder. If you can’t see an .htaccess file, check File Manager is setup to show hidden files. Click the Settings button in the top right and select ‘Show Hidden Files’. Click Save.
  4. Download the .htaccess file to your device so you have a copy.
  5. Now rename the .htaccess file to .htaccess.bak
  6. Try viewing your WordPress site. If you no longer see a 403 forbidden error, your .htaccess file is the cause.

You can also complete the above steps using your FTP Client.

To generate a fresh .htaccess file by logging into your WordPress admin area and going to Settings » Permalinks page.

Fix 403 forbidden errors by disabling WordPress Plugins

Sometimes a newly installed WordPress Plugin or updated plugin can cause 403 errors.

Check for any faulty WordPress plugins. If your WordPress site was working fine, it might be a faulty plugin update. Backup your site and try disabling each plugin until the problem is resolved. If you’re unable to access the Plugin are of your WordPress admin, disable your plugins by deleting the plugins using cPanel File manager or FTP.

Fix 403 forbidden errors by fixing File Permissions

All files in your WordPress site have file permissions. File permissions control who, and what, can read or save files in your WordPress site. For example file permissions allow you to upload files to the /wp-content/ upload folder.

If a folder or file has incorrect permissions, the server will prevent you from viewing the file and instead display a 403 error.

All folders in your WordPress site must have a file permission of 744, or 755. All files in your WordPress site should have a file permission of 644, or 640.

If you installed WordPress using our 1-click installer, we’ll have set the correct permissions for you.