Knowledgebase: General
Why are my Links Returning a 403 Error?
  • Problem:
    Some links (such as analytic campaign URLs) are returning "403: Forbidden: Access is Denied" message and preventing the URL from working correctly.
  • Solution:
    Check the link's URL for HTML code/script and remove it.

For proper PCI compliance, any URL that includes HTML script on it is considered a possible threat and therefore returns a 403 error automatically. Sometimes, when copying a URL from a web source and pasting it into your site or newsletter email, you inadvertently capture some HTML elements from the web page's code for the displayed link, and end up pasting it into whatever destination it's going to.

For example, rather than a properly formatted tracking URL like the following:

your-domain.com/?utm_campaign=x

You accidentally copy the link (along with part of its HTML code) and paste it onto your newsletter email or wherever else like this:

your-domain.com/?utm_campaign=x</a>

The portion written in red above is a closing anchor tag for a display link and it can sometimes be accidentally copied during a simple copy/paste. When you go to that link, you would see the 403 error message described above.

To prevent this, take note of the URL after you've pasted it to its destination. Check to see if there are any common HTML coding characters on it like open or closing HTML tags like < or >.

If there are, just delete those special characters and leave only the non-HTML portion of the URL, and you should be all set!

Additional Information
In addition to the < and > brackets, you should also keep an eye out for % signs in the pasted URL. These are typically the URL encoding for the < and > characters and will appear like %3C and %3E respectively.


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