Access Forbidden ... Error 403

Problems with the Windows version of XAMPP, questions, comments, and anything related.

Access Forbidden ... Error 403

Postby expatCM » 05. August 2006 14:11

There is not another person on this planet with this problem or it is so obvious to fix that it is not worth others time to tell me ......

I have xampp up and running on Windows 2000. No problems there.

I then installed Joomla. Even that runs. Trouble is that whenever (from Joomla) I make any change or want to do anything which means saving information to the disk then I get an Access Forbidden ... Error 403 notice.

Well I have posted this a few times on the Joomla forum but whilst people have read the posts I do not get any helpful suggestions as to how to fix this.

I do not quite know what to think since my installs are all out of the box ... I have even read the install manual for Joomla.

But I am no further forward which is very slightly annoying. I am therefore taking one step back and wonder if there is somethig in xampp that I have not done ..... ?

Any ideas or pearls of wisdom appreciated .. :)
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Postby dwion » 05. August 2006 14:35

Are you running a single Joomla site in the XAMPP working directory (htdocs), or are you using VirtualHosts?

If you're not using VirtualHosts, then I would suggest you do so, which will allow you to work with simpler site paths. In that case, see this thread for setting up working VirtualHosts...
http://community.apachefriends.org/f/viewtopic.php?t=19525

If you are already using VirtualHosts and you can get to your Joomla site just fine after starting up XAMPP, then the problem is mostly likely with Joomla and not XAMPP, you'll probably have to go back to the Joomla forum, for what that will get you.

For what it's worth, I run many instances of different CMS systems as VirtualHost sites and they're all running fine now after a recent XAMPP upgrade (and a little troubleshooting). However, none of my sites use Joomla (not interested in Joomla's heavy framework) so I can't say for sure that Joomla is not your problem.

Good luck!
Last edited by dwion on 05. August 2006 14:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Izzy » 05. August 2006 14:57

Dwion is correct but we can do this for individual directories with the aid of the .htaccess file which will over ride the httpd directives for individual directories.

Not sure if this will help but worth a try.
First look in the Joomla root directory, thats the first directory of Joomla, the one with the index file in it, and see if there is a .htacces file in there.

If there is then open it a text editor and see if there are entries that resemble this:
Order Allow, Deny
Allow from all


If not then you can add them near to the top of the file.
Backup the file before you make any changes.

If you don't have a .htaccess file then you can create one in your text editor.
Add the following to this file and save it to that same directory mentioned above.
Order Allow, Deny
Allow from all


The XAMPP default for directories is quite restrictive and as such you have to change that behaviour so you can use some functions of a directory.
As I said it is only something to try as I have no idea how Joomla is configured but a 403 error is the server telling you that you don't have permission to do what you are trying to do because of certain server restrictions.
Let me know if it helped. Good luck.
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Postby expatCM » 05. August 2006 15:00

Many thanks for responding :)

It is just a single site I am trying to run. Actually only using the sample database which comes bundled so I really was not anticipating any headaches.

Virutal hosts .... I have clicked the links through and understand what you are suggesting but here I wonder .... Jomla should just work. So in this instance I would like to hesitate first to see if anyone else makes a post.

I cannot understand how the rest of the planet does not get this error yet I do (special talents no doubt). I think you are probably correct that this is a Joomla special rather than it being attributable to xampp but I can get a response here whereas Joomla does not.

You mention that you feel that Joomla has a bit of a heavy framework. Is there another CMS you feel is particularly good?
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Postby expatCM » 05. August 2006 15:22

Hi Izzy,

you are fast ... typing my earlier reply to Dwion and your message has appeared ....

The .htaccess file exists. Opened it in notepad and could not make sense of it. Opened it in DreamWeaver and looked through. The two lines you suggested were not there and so I added them. Saved the file and rebooted. No change though ... I still get the 403.

But .... many thanks for thinking about this one :)
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Postby Izzy » 05. August 2006 15:45

Would you mind pasteing it here (after pasting just edit out any sensitive items you might have). Also look in the directory that you are trying to save (write) to for a .htaccess file and maybe paste that here as well.

Also take a look in your Joomla control panel for any signs of a configuration item for changing permissions to allow writing (saving) to the disk. The server is not allowing you to save to disk for some reason.

I may be aiming in the wrong direction here as I have just realised that you may be trying to save data to your Joomla database not to a directory.

Tell me if this is so, you are trying to save items or data that would be stored in your database?
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Postby expatCM » 05. August 2006 16:10

Hi Izzy, this is the file which was in the htdocs directory, not much here though ... I only found the one htaccess file in the xampp directory and sub directories ..


Last edited by expatCM on 06. August 2006 03:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Izzy » 05. August 2006 16:23

That looks OK no problems there. You can delete those lines you added if as you say they made no difference.

Also you can edit your post and delete the .htaccess file now as we are finished with it for now.

I am going to download Joomla and install it on my XAMPP server and see what I can find. I will take a closer look in the morning as it is 1:30 am here and I am pooped.
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Postby expatCM » 06. August 2006 03:09

Hi Izzy,

Thanks for looking more ...

I have deleted the file on the ticket as you suggested.

Look forward to hearing your news ..... after some well earned rest :)
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Postby Izzy » 06. August 2006 04:33

I have installed Joomla with no cofiguration changes, straight out of the box, with no problems at all :(

I have spent some time trying to break it to give me a 403 error but up to now have not succeded. Every other error but not that.

So either your installation, database or server is corrupt.

If you want me to look into Joomla for you then create a user/pass with admin permissions and send that to me in a PM. I promise I will only check out your configuration, make no changes and then inform you via PM what I find, if anything. We/you can then post the fix, if we find one, back to the forum so others that follow may read the result.

If not then there is not much else I can suggest except perhaps to look in the apache/loghs/error.log for a clue immediately after you receive the 403 error. The 403 error is fairly general and does not give too many clues as to its origin other than you don't have permission etc. Can be hard to find if you have tried the obvious.
expatCM wrote:...Is there another CMS you feel is particularly good?
Take a look at Xaraya.

I have not tried it out but it looks neat and interesting and might be worth a try if you feel Joomla (always being hacked) is not your cup of tea.
:)
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Postby expatCM » 06. August 2006 08:14

Ah... an interesting suggestion ... look at the log file. So I created a few 403 errors and these entries were added

[Sun Aug 06 14:03:53 2006] [error] [client 127.0.0.1] (20024)The given path misformatted or contained invalid characters: Cannot map GET /administrator/javascript:hideMainMenu();submitbutton('new'); HTTP/1.1 to file
[Sun Aug 06 14:04:23 2006] [error] [client 127.0.0.1] (20024)The given path misformatted or contained invalid characters: Cannot map GET /administrator/javascript:submitbutton('save'); HTTP/1.1 to file
[Sun Aug 06 14:05:04 2006] [error] [client 127.0.0.1] (20024)The given path misformatted or contained invalid characters: Cannot map GET /administrator/javascript:submitbutton('cancelconfig'); HTTP/1.1 to file

Since you can run Joomla with no problem may I ask do you think this could be a browser error? Or does the error log spell out clearly the problem? (here am I clutching at straws)
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Postby Izzy » 06. August 2006 08:47

Could be your browser. Which browser and how have you configured javascript in your browser?

If you have another browser try your Joomla site with it. If you don't have more than one browser then you should have at least IE, Firefox and Opera (all free). Just select your favourite as the default browser. ;).

I am now investigating your error messages and will report back if and when I find some answers.
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Postby expatCM » 06. August 2006 09:46

Hi Izzy,

Well you really are very good at prompting where to approach this problem :)

Problem now solved.

I thought well ... try this site with Avant (which is an IE overlay). Opened and no problems. I was amazed.

So back to Firefox and problems.

I then had a look at Tab Mix which is one of the extensions you can use with Firefox and pulled the settings I had been using to basically recycle windows rather than open a fresh window / tab.

As soon as I had done this and restarted the browser then Joomla started to work as I have nver seen before ..... magnificent :)

Thank you very much indeed for your suggestions, they were certainly the key to success here.

Thank you also for your comments about the security weaknesses of Joomla and for telling me about Xaraya (I have had a quick look and see that I need to download this and also explore).
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Postby Izzy » 06. August 2006 10:02

Great outcome.

I am pleased you now have it working and are somewhat more familiar with the process of fault diagnosis. A bit like being a detective, as long as you have some clues, no matter how small, then you have a chance. ;)

I liked the look of Xaraya and it seems to have some good reports. I hope it serves your purpose as I am not too keen on Mambo/Joomla. It seems to be a magnet for all the 'script kiddie pests' out there.

Good luck and all the best.
:)
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