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I am getting 'Forbidden' 403 problem with my website. Earlier today it worked. The only thing I did was try to access other folders (eg bin). I checked permissions, and it all seems to be looking right. Any ideas how to solve this? what I should be looking for or doing?

Some of the suspicious error logs:

[Fri Mar 02 14:08:57 2012] [error] [client yyyyyyyy] script '/var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs/file.php' not found or unable to stat
[Fri Mar 02 15:48:43 2012] [error] [client xxxxxxxx] (13)Permission denied: file permissions deny server access: /var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs/index.html
[Fri Mar 02 15:45:33 2012] [crit] [client vvvvvvvvvvv] (13)Permission denied: /var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs/folder/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable

I found that I had .htaccess file under httpdocs, and so I deleted it, but it didn't seem to help. The domain still doesn't work.

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Can you find out if your server has SELinux enabled? If so, check /var/log/audit/audit.log for messages abut AVC denial. –  Ulrich Schwarz Mar 3 '12 at 6:29
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1 Answer

The second error message seems to squarely point to it being a file permissions problem so here's a quick test to see where the problem might be. First switch to the correct user that apache is running as. I'm assuming it's www-data, but it may also be either apache, www, or something else. To find out for sure, you can try running ps -ef | grep apache or ps -ef | grep http depending on what the name is for apache. The user will be in the first column. To switch users, I normally use sudo su - www-data which will give a full login shell for www-data. Then start looking at files like this:

ls -ld /var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs/index.html
ls -ld /var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs
ls -ld /var/www/vhosts/example.com
ls -ld /var/www/vhosts
ls -ld /var/www

My guess is that the first few will fail until you find the directory where the permissions problem is. The first one that shows status should be the culprit.

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