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403 Forbidden Microsoft Azure Application Gateway v2: What Does It Mean (and How To Fix)?

If your team regularly uses Microsoft Azure, you might notice that you receive 403 Forbidden errors from time to time. This error is common, but it has multiple causes, which makes it difficult to remedy.

Azure, a part of the Microsoft ecosystem, can make your organization more efficient, but migration, administrative changes, and other issues can cause 403 Forbidden errors to take up your team’s time. 

In this guide, we’ll look at what 403 forbidden errors are, as well as common fixes for this error in Azure.

What Is a 403 Forbidden Error?

A 403 Forbidden error is an HTTP status code error. This happens when a web server knows what you need from it, but it can’t give you access to the directory for various reasons. 

More often than not, 403 Forbidden errors happen because of:

  • Administrative rules: If your Azure administrative rules prevent you from accessing files, folders, or directories, you’ll see a 403 Forbidden notification. This can happen if you’re new to an organization, if your administrator settings changed, or if you recently migrated to Azure. 
  • Firewall settings: The page you’re trying to view has a permission error, which is a defensive measure used to prevent attackers from accessing potentially sensitive files. If your behavior looks suspicious, the Azure firewall might throw a 403 Forbidden error to stop your request. 
  • Corrupt files and missing pages: Corrupt .htaccess files, missing index pages, and changed URLs can create 403 Forbidden errors. 
  • Malware: Some malware will corrupt your .htaccess file and create errors. You’ll have to resolve the malware to restore access. 

How To Fix a 403 Forbidden Gateway in Azure

In Azure, a 403 Forbidden error will display as “403 Forbidden – Microsoft-Azure-Application-Gateway/v2.” It happens because the Azure Application Gateway has prevented your request performing the desired action, whether that’s uploading files or accessing certain file directories. 

This isn’t an issue with Azure as a whole, but likely with your browser or account settings. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with your Azure platform, but you do need to take action to remedy the situation. 

There are multiple causes for a 403 Forbidden error in Azure, but these solutions will usually remedy the error.

Clear Your Browser Cache and History

If links were updated and your browser cached the old version of a page, you might see a 403 Forbidden error. Clear your cache, including your history and cookies, to see if this resolves the error. This will often fix the issue by clearing the old data your browser used to access Azure.

Check Your Firewall Settings

The second most common reason for a 403 Forbidden error is your Azure firewall settings. The firewall might prevent you from accessing certain content, so check your firewall logs to see if it’s preventing you from accessing certain files, folders, or directories. 

Azure’s firewall is called the Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF) and it’s designed to protect your application against vulnerabilities. But if WAF thinks you’re acting suspiciously, it will block your request. For example, it might think a photo you’re uploading is a SQL injection attack and block access, throwing the 403 Forbidden error. 

If your WAF is in “Prevention” mode, it may block actions that look suspicious according to its default rules. Your diagnostic logs will show which WAF rule is blocking your request. You can create a custom exception to the rule to get around this; simply create an Exclusion List of the URL or file you want to unblock.

Reconfigure Access Rules

Sometimes Azure throws 403 Forbidden errors if you don’t have permission to view a certain file, folder, or directory. This typically happens because of misconfigured access rules. 

Ask your Azure administrator to check who can read and write certain files and folders. These often come with default permissions that control which users have access to them. See if the file in question has settings that don’t allow certain users to access it. 

Follow Upload Size Limits

You might receive a 403 Forbidden error if you’re trying to upload a large file to Azure. This happens when you exceed the file upload size limit in your account. You can try reducing the size of the file, adjusting your file size limits, or creating an exception for this file in your administrator settings.

403 Forbidden errors have multiple causes, but all of them are easy to fix. It often comes down to adjusting permissions. However, this likely won’t be the last time you experience issues with Azure, especially if you just migrated to the platform. 

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