Error Message: 403.2 Forbidden: Read Access Forbidden

Applies to: Internet Information Services

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This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered “as is” and will no longer be updated.


When connecting to an Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 Web site, a user may receive the following error message:
403.2 Forbidden: Read Access Forbidden


This error can be caused by a number of things, but the following are the most common:

  • The resource being accessed does not have read access set (through IIS). For example, the SCRIPTS directory does not have read access by default.
  • The default document specified is either not correct, or the default document does not exist. For example, the default document may be set to Default.htm, but the one uploaded by the Web publisher is Index.htm. If a file named Default.htm is not on that Web site, this error message occurs.
  • Directory browsing is not enabled when it should be. For example, if you have a Web site configured to show a directory listing (all files in the name space you are accessing), and directory browsing is not enabled, this error message occurs.


Be sure that read access is enabled on the site or directory where users are browsing files. If directory browsing should be used (for a file list), then it must be specified on the properties of that directory or site (a default document should not be used to prevent other problems if this is the case).