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403/404/500 errors

Last Updated: January 31, 2024

If you’re getting a 403, 404, or 500 error when you go to your domain name, there are a variety of different causes that may be to blame. Below are some of the more common issues and how to fix them.


How to troubleshoot 403, 404, or 500 errors

The first thing you should do is check the DNS records on your domain name. Make sure that you have the correct nameservers and DNS records. If you are hosted with, then this means that your nameservers should be and your DNS should include A records that point to your hosting. You can find our guide on how to set up our default name servers here, and our guide on adding A records for hosting here.

If those records seem fine, the next step is to look into your hosting files.

  1. Log into your hosting cPanel.
  2. Click File Manager under Files.
  3. Make sure you select Web Root as the destination and check the box for Show Hidden Files, then click Go.
  4. This will bring you to the public_html folder. In this folder, there needs to be either an index.html file or an index.php file. If you do not see one of those here, this is the problem. Check to make sure that the file has not accidentally been uploaded to the wrong directory, and re-upload it if necessary.

If you do have an index file in the public_html folder, then it may be a file permissions error. In the file manager, you can see the permissions for each file under the Perms column on the right. In most cases, files should be set to 644 and folders should be set to 755.

  1. To change the permissions on a file or folder, right click the item you would like to change and select Change Permissions.
  2. To set the permissions to 755 for folders, check all three boxes under the User column, and under the Group and World columns check only the Read and Execute boxes.
  3. To set the permissions to 644 for files, check only the Read and Write boxes under the User column, and check only the Read boxes under the Group and World columns.

Note: Changing the permissions on a folder will not change the permissions of the files within that folder.

If none of the above works, the problem may be something in your .htaccess file. Find this file, and rename it to something like .htaccess_old. This will cause the system to auto-generate a new, blank .htaccess file. If the domain resolves after changing this, it means there is an error in the coding of the original .htaccess file. Unfortunately, we can’t fix coding errors for you, so you’ll have to take a look in there and see what’s wrong for yourself, or get your web developer to take a look at it. Please note, not all sites have an .htaccess file, but if your does, be very careful with making changes to the code.


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