How to Fix the HTTP 403 Forbidden Error

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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Website Permissions

Step

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

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Open Control Panel
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Open IIS console

Step

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

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Edit website properties

Step

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

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Enable anonymous access

Step

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

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Edit home directory permissions

Step

Click the "Home 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.

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Check website status

Step

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