What is a 403 forbidden error?
It’s an HTTP status code that means “access denied.” You may also see it appear as:
.403 forbidden access
What causes a 403 error?
1. content is private
The owner of the content has designated it as private. It could be anything from temporary, behind-the-scenes website updates to the website being subscriber-only access.
2. content is user restricted
Only authenticated users can access the content. This comes into play with organizations such as libraries and schools, both of which might have a limited number of content users.
3. content is geographically restricted
Some sites only allow you access if you live in a specific geographic location. Examples of this are Netflix and Hulu. How does the website know where you’re located? Your IP address, which is unique to your computer and acts like a street address.
4. IP address is prohibited or blocked
There can be a number of reasons for this but sometimes it boils down to spam or unwanted posts coming from a specific IP address. It can also be as simple as too many failed login attempts.
How to fix a 403 error
Take a few minutes to troubleshoot a 403 error. These suggested techniques aren’t complicated or overly technical and are well worth the time. We suggest that you try them in the order provided since you might fix the problem on the first attempt.
1. Double-check the URL
It’s easy to mistype a URL so simply retyping may fix the 403 error.
2. Clear your cache and cookies
You’ve likely heard the terms cache and cookies but you should know that they play specific and different roles. Think of a cookie as leaving crumbs or tiny bits of information about where you’ve been on a site, what you like on the site, etc. The cache is more about speed since its purpose is to make loading time faster. An added benefit to clearing cache is that it may also improve your overall internet speed.
Here’s how to clear cache and cookies on any browser. Keep in mind that clearing your cache and/or cookies may also clear your saved passwords. Double-check your browser settings to be sure your passwords don’t get wiped out as well.
3. Give it some time
Visit some other sites, get a cup of coffee, or go for a walk. Allowing some time to go by may reveal that the 403 error was nothing more than in-progress website updates. Those updates are generally made as quickly as possible to minimize disruption.