a website I control is showing 403 errors only on company machines on their own network.

It's throwing an Access forbidden! error

Error 403

www.example.com Tue Oct 1 Apache mod_fcgid/2.3.7 mod_auth_pgsql/2.0.3

The company uses another IT firm for their servers. I'm almost certain this is a problem with their internal network. My guess is some kind of DNS / routing conflict. Their company server uses the same URL (www.example.com).

I realize this puts me in a bind. I can't solve this issue for them, or ask specific enough questions here to get the answer to the actual problem.

My question is - is there any kind of workaround I can provide them in the mean time to access their site?

  • 1
    If the website is being run on a server located on the same network as the client computers, then it's likely rejecting internally assigned network IP addresses. In that case, add something like this to your Apache configuration: Allow from, which would allow IP addresses from to – dan Oct 2 '13 at 3:51
  • There could be any number of reasons for a 403 error in this case, please post more information that could help diagnose the problem. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 3 '13 at 13:38

If the site is accessible from the internet then a temporary solution would be to use a proxy. http://hidemyass.com would be a really quick way to do that.

The main problem you have is not network related it is a permission error. In order to get a 403 it means that the server WAS contacted but then the webserver said 'No, you are not authorized'. Unfortunately, that's about all it really says. It doesn't tell you which service refused exactly. Usually, this is caused by Apache authorization errors.

Here is a guide for troubleshooting these type of errors: http://www.checkupdown.com/status/E403.html


I agree with Krowe, 403 means access forbidden it could be any number of things causing that (one of which could be their internal network DNS is routing them to a different location then you expect).

If it is an issue with the network DNS you might be able to force the appropriate routing by updating the hosts file on their individual PC. This would only be a temporary solution though.

  • That's the main problem I think. The IT firm the company is using fixed the problem this way, but now they moved their website to a new hosting company and the problem returned. There has to be a better solution than updating the hosts file on individual PCs right? This wouldn't even work unless the website had a static IP anyway – timshutes Oct 2 '13 at 19:13
  • Yes changing the host file on the individual PCs is not a good long term solution, I suggested it because it is a quick solution so the users could see the site while you found out what the real issue was. It sounds like there is an internal DNS issue and the network admin needs to update the DNS info for the network. (Ideally they would just accept the standard DNS rather then try and duplicate it locally though). – Joshak Oct 3 '13 at 18:29

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