Ordinary Apache Reload turns working site into a Forbidden 403

  • | 742 points

    Re: 403 Forbidden Issue

    Original question on StackOverflow.


    Local development:

    • Windows 10 Pro (20H2 19042.685)
    • Laragon Full 4.0.15 190704
    • Apache httpd-2.4.35-win64-VC15 (port 80)
    • MariaDB mariadb-10.5.8-winx64 (port 3306)
    • PHP 8 php-8.0.0-Win32-vs16-x64 [TS]


    A previously working local website site.test results in 403 Forbidden after changing php.ini and reloading Apache with Laragon.

    How the error was produced

    After failing to retrieve environment variables from .env file, I went to php.ini file and changed variables_order from "GPCS" to "EGPCS". After saving it I reloaded Apache with Laragon > Menu > Apache > Reload. Previously working URL site.test now results in 403.

    error.log shows the following:

    [Tue Jan 12 17:49:37.115215 2021] [access_compat:error] [pid 7160:tid 1152] [client] AH01797: client denied by server configuration: C:/laragon/www/site/public/index.html
    [Tue Jan 12 17:49:37.115215 2021] [access_compat:error] [pid 7160:tid 1152] [client] AH01797: client denied by server configuration: C:/laragon/www/site/public/index.php

    Hack that solves the problem

    1. Open C:\Laragon\www\ and rename site to tmp.
    2. In Laragon choose Menu > Quick app > Blank and name the new project site.
    3. Open C:\Laragon\www\tmp\, select all files and copy (cut).
    4. Open C:\Laragon\www\site\ and paste.


    What causes this behaviour and is there a better way of solving it?

  • | 9898 points

    @mathmul did you change PHP8 to PHP7 and back again? If so you need to see [Tutorial] How to add another PHP version (PHP 7.4 - PHP 8.0) - Updated, in particular post #74 regarding Apache and post #82 regarding enabling the extensions.

    Each time you switch PHP 7 to 8 you need to change the php8_module to php_module, possibly changing the php.ini has triggered this module to re-create as php8_module.

  • | 742 points

    Of course I did. I can't even phatom how there are no solutions (or problems) about it out there.

    Whether I add or remove a semi-colon in php.ini, or change httpd-conf, or simply change PHP to v7 and v8 back again (and fixing the php8_module to php_module), or whatever other server change I make, it doesn't matter. I results in 403 forbidden as is, on Apache reload, and/or on Windows restart.

    The only thing that works is to rename myProject in www to something, create a new myProject, and then copy all from something in myProject. That even keeps the database so it all works perfectly after that workaround.

  • | 742 points

    I finally figured out where the problem lies in, but hopefully you can tell me a solution.

    On Apache reload, as stated, my site goes to 403 forbidden.

    Checking error.log, I see the following:

    [Tue Mar 16 14:15:08.488240 2021] [access_compat:error] [pid 3304:tid 1192] [client] AH01797: client denied by server configuration: C:/laragon/www/my-site/public/index.php

    The problem is, that my-site is not a Laravel app or something that has it's "first" file inside /public/, but directly on root of this project ie. C:/laragon/www/my-site/index.php

    As presented in my StackOverflow question you can see that the problem is that ROOT is defined with public/ in the end in the auto.my-site.test.conf configuration file.

    Sadly just removing it and saving the file doesn't work, and Apache reload brings it back in.

    I also noticed that sites that do not have the public folder in root don't have that problem, so there is some automagical method somewhere that checks if public folder exists in root and writes configuration accordingly.

    Currently my best workaround is therefore to rename this public folder to let's say public_files, but that calls for a lot of refactoring.

    Where do I have control over these auto-magical settings?

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