How to Fix Blocked Due to Access Forbidden (403) Error

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How to Fix Blocked Due to Access Forbidden (403) Error

If you’ve just tried to visit your site and got a message that says something is “Forbidden” or that you don’t have permission to access it, you’ve likely encountered a 403 Forbidden error. In Google Search Console, “Blocked Due to Access Forbidden (403)” means Googlebot tried to access a URL on your site but was denied.

The 403 forbidden code is an HTTP status code that belongs to the 4xx group, representing client error responses. This error suggests that the server understands the request but refuses to authorize it.

Isn’t it frustrating and annoying to face an error like this on your own site? In this post, we’ve put together this guide to resolve the 403 Forbidden error effectively, understand their causes and get your site back up and running so it does not hurt your site’s visibility in search results.

Recommended ways to Fix the 403 forbidden error

For googlebot, 403 errors can happen if the bot is accessing a page for which you need to be authenticated. This can happen if there are internal links from the website to member area pages that require authentication. Moreover, this can also happen if member area urls appear on the sitemap and googlebot access these urls. 

  • If the pages are designed to be public:  Fixing 403 errors is crucial. These errors can prevent Googlebot from crawling, indexing, and ranking your content, which can affect your site’s visibility in search results.
    • You should make the content accessible to users and search engine crawlers so that they can read it. In other words, users who are not authenticated should be able to see the content of the page.
    • Making the content accessible is often a server modification. The website should be able to gather the content from the backend server even though the request to the backend server is unauthorized.
  • If the pages contain sensitive or private content: then the 403 errors are serving their intended purpose by preventing unauthorized access. In such cases, these URLs should be noindexed. This way, 403 errors can help maintain security and privacy for content that’s not intended for public access.
    • This happens when a page is part of a protected member area section. You do not want the crawler or users to access the page unauthorized. Remove the page from the sitemap and remove internal links from the website to the page that allow unauthorized access to the page.
    • An example for a page that contains private information that should not be accessible is a service business which aims to keep their prices private. Only the business owner gave you log in credentials or a password, the potential customer is allowed to access and see the prices.

Identifying 403 forbidden error in Google Search Console

Before attempting to resolve a 403 Forbidden Error, one must accurately identify the issue. Finding which pages are affected by a 403 Forbidden error in Google Search Console is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you identify the problematic pages and determine which ones need attention from your webmaster or SEO specialist.

  1. Sign in to your Google Search Console and navigate to the “Pages” option under the “Indexing” section on the left sidebar.
  2. This brings you to the Page Indexing Report, where you’ll find an overview of your site’s indexing status.
  3. Scroll through the report to view the list of indexing issues Google has detected. Note that this list varies for each site, as different websites have different indexing issues.
  4. Look for entries with the error message “Blocked Due to Access Forbidden (403).”
  5. Once you’ve identified these pages, examine each URL to determine whether they need to be fixed. If these errors are affecting your SEO, you’ll want to address them promptly.

What cause the 403 forbidden errors

A 403 Forbidden Error occurs when a web server forbids user and Googlebot from accessing the page or resource they are requesting. This may be due to several reasons:

  • Incorrect file or folder permissions: Each file and folder on a web server has permissions that control who can read, write, or execute them. Incorrect permissions can lead to a 403 error.
  • .htaccess file misconfiguration: The .htaccess file controls the high-level configuration of a website’s access settings. Improper rules or directives can block access, resulting in a blocked due to access forbidden (403) error.
  • IP address blocking: Some servers may block specific IP addresses or specific geographic location as a security measure.
  • Server-side scripts: Errors in server-side scripts may inadvertently block access to certain users or resources.

Knowing the cause is the first step to resolving a HTTP error 403 and regaining access to the blocked resource.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides concise, step-by-step guidance on resolving 403 Forbidden errors and ensuring seamless access to webpages.

Q: What can cause the http error 403?

A: The 403 forbidden error can be caused by issues related to permissions to access a certain website or resource. It could also be triggered by misconfigurations in the server or the website itself.

Q: How to fix a 403 forbidden error?

A: To fix a 403 forbidden error, you can start by checking the permissions to access the particular URL or resource. You can also try troubleshooting by deactivating plugins on your WordPress site or reaching out to your hosting provider for assistance.

Q: What should I do if I see a 403 forbidden error in Google Search Console?

A: If you encounter a 403 forbidden error in Google Search Console, you should investigate the specific pages or resources that are returning the error. Check for any issues with permissions, plugins, or server configurations that could be causing the problem.

Q: What are common causes of the 403 forbidden error in Google Search Console?

A: Common causes of the 403 forbidden error in Google Search Console include issues with permissions to access certain pages or resources, misconfigured plugins, or server settings that block certain requests.

Q: How can I troubleshoot a error code 403 on my WordPress site?

A: To troubleshoot a 403 forbidden error on your WordPress site, you can start by deactivating plugins one by one to identify if any of them are causing the issue. You can also check the file permissions on your server and review the access rules set up in your .htaccess file.

Q: What does the http status code 403 error mean?

A: The error code 403 signifies that the server understood the request made by the client, but the server is refusing to fulfill it. This could be due to lack of proper permissions, restrictions set by the server, or other security-related issues.

Q: Why am I getting a “blocked due to access forbidden” error?

A: The “blocked due to access forbidden” error typically occurs when the server or a security measure in place prevents access to a specific URL or resource. This could be due to permissions, server configurations, or restrictions imposed by the website owner.

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