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How to fix the HTTP 403 forbidden error

Updated June 02, 2017

The HTTP 403 Forbidden error is caused by limited access to a web domain or directory. Administrators can limit access to a web domain's directory by removing the anonymous user or requiring a password to view the content of the location. To remove or fix the error requires added permissions on the Windows host machine using the Internet Information Services (IIS) console. Once permissions are set, browsers to the domain will be able to access and read files normally again.

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  1. Click the Windows Start button and select "Control Panel."

  2. Double-click the "Administrative Tools" icon. In this list of consoles, double-click the "Internet Information Services" icon. This opens the IIS settings console.

  3. Right-click the directory from which Web browsers are receiving the 403 error. Click the "Properties" entry in the menu.

  4. Click the "Directory Security" tab in the Properties window. Click the first button that is labelled "Edit" in the "Anonymous Access" section. In this window, check the box that says "Anonymous Access." Click "OK" to return to the Properties window.

  5. Click the "Directory" tab in the Properties window. Ensure that no other check boxes except "Read" are checked in the "Permissions" section. This allows users to read and browse website pages. Click the "OK" button.

  6. Verify the changes by opening your Web browser and entering the website domain in the address bar.

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About the Author

Lysis is the pen name for a former computer programmer and network administrator who now studies biochemistry and biology while ghostwriting for clients. She currently studies health, medicine and autoimmune disorders. Lysis is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in genetic engineering.

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