I've got a well-established web application. It's working for lots of people with a variety of browsers and platforms. But, there's this one guy...

He's getting a "403 Forbidden" on his side, I've even seen screen shots. But, I'm not logging anything in Apache or Tomcat that seems to indicate that he's actually been denied. I know he's authenticating because I see it explicitly. This, combined with the fact that he's the only broken user makes me wonder.

Can a browser (IE in this case) ever decide on its own to throw a 403 that's not actually generated by the server?

P.S.: I don't have rep to create '403' tag, but it's probably appropriate.

2 Answers 2


It could be generated by a proxy server between the client and your server. Check the error message.


A few suggestions are to:

  1. clear the users DNS cache
  2. disable any proxy settings
  3. check their hosts file for any references to

It's possible that the user has a web server enabled on the local machine and is hitting that instead.

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