Permission denied: .htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable

Do you get the following error message when you try to visit a site/your site?
Forbidden
You don’t have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

You may see this message when you try to visit a folder in your domain like http://xenexbd.com/hello/. Most of the time, I have found this error for subdomains like http://hello.xenexbd.com. Most probably this is very common in a cPanel server. You may get this error after your install/uninstall FrontPage Extension in the main domain. I was repeatedly facing this problem. I usually solved it by installing/uninstalling/reinstalling the FrontPage extension on that subdomain.

But FrontPage extension is a dead project. Microsoft will not release any more update of it. So, I decided to solve in alternative ways. I searched google but did not find any specific help. So, I dig it myself and solve it within 1 min ;). Allow read & execute access to that specific directory. Uninstalling/Installing FrontPage extension ceases the access.

When you get the above error, login to cPanel & find the error log. If you see the error log shows something like :

[Thu Jun 05 15:21:54 2008] [crit] [client 202.56.x.x] (13)Permission denied: /home/x/public_html/email/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable, referer: http://x.com/x.html

[Note: I have replaced some value with x]

then, you are attacked by same problem. Don’t panic, its a one minute solution. We just need to give read & execute access for that directory. Mind it, execute access is necessary for direcctory if you want to read contents inside this.

Solutions
Method 1: Login to shell. now run the following command
chmod 755 email

Method 2: If you don’t have shell access, open file manager from cPanel. Enter to public_html directory. Now click on the email directory. [Note: click on directory name not the directory icon]
At right-top frame, you will get a menu. Click Change Permission. Now ensure that permission is at least 755.

If you are using X3 series of cPanel theme, select the email after entering to public_html directory. Click Change Permissions from the toolbar. Make it 755 and click Change Permissions.

All done. Now browse the site. It should come without any problem.

  • I reinstalled the Front Page extensions, restarted apache and everything worked well. Thanks!!.

  • Changing permissions and ownership usually is the way to fix this issue. One time one time, I have seen it happen because the group and owner define in the httpd.conf file were non existent: http://www.raditha.com/blog/archives/000788.html

  • Do people still use Front Page? I thought that became extinct years ago.

  • Disable the Mcrypt in the easy apache and recompile the webserver

  • Yes, you are right, this kind or error are about permission settings.

    I got it, Thanks!

  • koviko

    To think the permissions error was for the containing folder and not the inexistent .htaccess file… Than you very much. My folder’s permissions were 0750 instead of 0755. I never would have thought to look.

  • Yasir Khursheed Mirza

    Thanks buddy its super thanks my issue resolved

  • Yes, this absolutely solved my problem. All of my files weren’t allowed to be viewed by the anyone in my public_html directory, including the directory itself! I would never have thought to actually look at that. Thank you!

  • hamid

    Thanks buddy,

    Really helpful and clear!

  • Thanks, great help.

  • techno

    You can set it to 750 or 754 instead of 755. 750 worked for me. This shoud give you more protection against attacks.

  • Betty

    Thanks for this great fix!!!!

  • Hi thanks for the info worked perfectly… My issue was caused my using the cp -Rp command to move files from DEV to LIVE, after I did change owner and group, I was getting this error, but thought that the permissions would have retained so didnt even check them (get that after a 14hour day) anyways Im up and running and happy…

    Cheers for the info,

  • The reason for this error usually is: Installing or uninstalling FrontPage Extensions for the domain. – Changed ownership of public_html directory. This post should help: http://blog.teamgrowth.net/index.php/apache/permission-denied-htaccess-pcfg_openfile-unable-to-check-htaccess-file

  • Teşekkürler cidden, Thankss serously thanks you saved me from a big problem – lsp7

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  • Marco

    Ahh man Thanks a lot, couldn’t find a like button, so though about leaving a comment 😀

  • jR

    Arg. Yes , It’s working now! Why did I even bother with frontpage extensions.
    I don’t even know what they are for….. Thanks!

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