When accessing a site defined in my local dev environment, I can't seem to get past a 403 Forbidden error.

Under /etc/apache2/sites-available/ I have defined a file fun.local:

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName fun.local
        DocumentRoot /home/noah/work/fun
        ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/fun-error.log

        <Directory /home/noah/work/fun>
                Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride None
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all

The the apache error log for the site contains this error:

[Sat Aug 21 13:34:34 2010] [crit] [client] (13)Permission denied: /home/noah/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable

I am running apache2 and ubuntu 10.04.

  • Provide the output for ls -la on /home/noah Aug 22, 2010 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


Make sure to check the permissions on that directory. Realize that apache runs as the user 'www-data' and it will require read access to the files in that directory in order to function.

To check the permission run from the command line:

ls -al /home/noah/

Note that Apache figures out if a directory is able to be served by checking the whole path for .htaccess files. This is in case there's a rule in /home/noah/.htaccess that says things should be denied, overriding the information setup in your virtualhost file.

Allowing the www-data user to read the directory should help. The other thing you can do is to symlink the /home/noah/work/fun directory into /var/www where the apache user should be the default owner.

Let me know if you need more details or if you can get there from here.

  • I think the problem actually lies in the fact that my home directory is decrypted when I login, which makes it unaccessible to apache. Aug 22, 2010 at 16:55

You can use apache userdir module to achieve this.
See this post for details: Apache symlinked to home directory - Permission Errors

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