Solutions to fix NGINX 403 Forbidden

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NGINX, a popular web server software, is known for its high performance and scalability. However, encountering a 403 Forbidden error can be frustrating for both website owners and visitors.

This error indicates that the server understands the request but refuses to fulfill it due to insufficient permissions or misconfigurations. In this article, we will explore the common causes behind the NGINX 403 Forbidden error and provide practical solutions to resolve it.

Solutions to fix NGINX 403 Forbidden

1. Check File and Directory Permissions

One of the primary reasons for a 403 Forbidden error in NGINX is incorrect file and directory permissions. Ensure that the files and directories accessed by NGINX have the appropriate permissions.

The recommended file permissions for directories are usually 755, while files should be set to 644. To change permissions, you can use the chmod command or a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client that allows modifying permissions.

2. Verify NGINX Configuration

NGINX relies on its configuration files to determine how requests are handled. A misconfigured NGINX server block or location directive can result in a 403 Forbidden error. Double-check your NGINX configuration files, such as nginx.conf any included files, for any syntax errors or incorrect access rules. You can use the nginx -t command to test the configuration files for errors.

3. Confirm File and Directory Ownership

In addition to permissions, NGINX also considers file and directory ownership when processing requests. Ensure that the files and directories accessed by NGINX are owned by the correct user and group.

The recommended ownership for web files is usually the www-data user and group. You can use the chown command to change ownership if necessary.

4. Examine Access Control Rules

NGINX can implement access control rules to restrict access to specific directories or files. These rules are defined in the NGINX configuration using directives like allow and deny. Check if any access control rules are preventing the server from serving the requested content. Adjust the rules accordingly to allow access as needed.

5. Investigate Security Modules or Firewalls

If you have security modules or firewalls, such as ModSecurity or fail2ban, enabled on your NGINX server, they may be blocking certain requests and causing the 403 Forbidden error. Review the configuration of these modules or firewalls and ensure they are not overly strict or blocking legitimate requests. Whitelist any necessary IP addresses or adjust the rules to allow the desired access.


The NGINX 403 Forbidden error can be a frustrating obstacle for website owners, but with the right troubleshooting steps, it can be resolved. By checking file and directory permissions, verifying the NGINX configuration, confirming file and directory ownership, examining access control rules, and investigating security modules or firewalls, you can pinpoint the cause of the error and implement the necessary fixes.

By resolving the NGINX 403 Forbidden error, you can ensure smooth access to your website and provide a better user experience for your visitors.

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