Why am I sometimes receiving a "403 Forbidden" error?

First of all, a 403 Forbidden error should not be confused with the program preventing someone from accessing a directory. It is entirely possible that even after logging into a secure folder on your server, the user still receive a 403 forbidden error, which can be confusing and is often believed to be generated by Zenbership. In fact, the 403 error is generated by your server for one of the following reasons:

  • In 90% of cases, a 403 Forbidden error happens when directory indexing is turned off but there is no index file in the directory to display. The solution is to place an index.php file in the directory causing the error, which will give your server something to display to users accessing the folder.
  • Other times, the issue may be permissions-based. Please check to ensure that the directory of file you are trying to access is set to permissions 755.
  • In other cases, the issue is often caused by "mod_security" preventing access to a file. This is especially true if you are trying to submit a "POST" request from a web form. "mod_security" has been known to prevent some requests it deems "risky". Please contact your web hosting provider to confirm that mod_security is the reason, and if so, to get the directory or file that is returning the 403 error "whitelisted".

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Published on 2013/05/02.
Last updated on 2013/05/02.

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