An HTTP 403 error, also known as ‘Forbidden’, is an error message that indicates that the server does not allow access to the requested resource. This means that the web browser sends a request to the server, but the server rejects the request due to lack of appropriate permissions. A 403 error is one of several HTTP response codes that tell the web browser how it should proceed after receiving a response from the server.
HTTP headers are part of the HTTP protocol that allow the web browser and the server to communicate with each other. HTTP headers contain various information about the HTTP request and response. In the case of an HTTP 403 error, the HTTP header contains information about the type of error and why it occurred.
Causes of a 403 error
The most common causes of a 403 error are:
- Lack of permission to access the resource
- Incorrect server settings
- Incorrect .htaccess file settings
- IP or network range restrictions
- Access restrictions based on referrer
Impact on SEO
A 403 error can have a negative impact on a website’s positioning in search results because:
- Weaker indexing: When a 403 error affects important pages or resources on a page, it can make it difficult for search engine robots to index the content.
- Unfriendly to the user: 403 errors can discourage visitors from continuing to use your site, which can lead to a higher rejection rate.
- Loss of authority: If a 403 error affects pages that were previously a source of internal or external links, the authority of the site may be affected.
How to fix a 403 error?
To fix a 403 error, you can take the following steps:
- Check the resource access permission settings.
- Look in the .htaccess file and make sure there are no invalid rules there.
- Verify your server settings, especially if they relate to user authorisation.
- Check for access restrictions based on IP addresses or network ranges.