Web Sharing Forbidden Lion

Mac OSX LionIf you recently installed Mac OSX Lion and now can’t start Web Sharing, or if you get a 403 Forbidden Message when you try to access your web server I have a fix.

The first thing you should do is to open the Console app. To do that click in the Spotlight Search box in the upper right hand corner. Type Console and then double click the application to open it.

This sounds more complicated than it is

Note: I’ve received a bunch of emails asking how to best open the files I mention below. The easiest thing you can do is to download Text Wrangler (It’s Free).

Then to open the files just click File -> Open File By Name. Then enter the name of the file you want to open. You’ll probably have to enter your password because these files are protected.

Fix your Computers Website in Lion

First I’ll show how to get your own localhost site to work

  • Click System Preferences – Sharing
  • Click in the Checkbox next to Web Sharing
  • If it doesn’t remain checked, click it a couple of times (Really!)
  • Now inside of the Console App you should see an error referencing your httpd.conf file
  • It is located here /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf
  • I opened it and uncommented the line that followed the line with the error

When I turned on Web Sharing my localhost site was available again.

Fix the Forbidden 403 Error

If you are getting a Forbidden 403 error when you open your Personal Website in the browser, this is the fix:

  • Open the file /private/etc/apache2/users/YOURUSERNAME.conf
  • Put your personal user name where I reference that in uppercase above
  • Type in the following and save (Again use your username instead)

<Directory "/Users/YOURUSERNAME/Sites/">
Options Indexes MultiViews
AllowOverride None
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

Restart your server and everything should work perfectly now.

I hope that fixed everything for you. It took me about 2 hours to fix this issue. I hope this tutorial saves you that time and hair pulling πŸ™‚

Mac OSX Lion Review

So what do I think about Mac OSX Lion? Aside from breaking my Web Sharing it is ok. I mean who can complain about a $30 OS upgrade? Here are the new features and what I think.


Launchpad opens all of your applications on the screen like you get with an iPad. The only reason I can imagine anyone would ever use this is if they want to quickly find an application that isn’t on their dock.

The idiotic thing about Launchpad is that every application is loaded into it. What is even more idiotic is that you can’t remove applications from Launchpad!

Grade : D

Mission Control

Mission Control spreads all of your currently open applications out on the screen. It also displays all of your desktops and allows you to assign each application to its own individual desktop.

I can see myself maybe using this feature. It helps with organization when you have numerous applications open at the same time.

Grade : B


Resume saves all of your currently open applications in their current state when you shutdown your machine. You no longer are forced to save everything before you can shutdown. This is a nice feature and I have used it numerous times already.

Grade : A

Autosave & Versions

Autosave and Versions work in concert with each other to keep you from losing valuable work. Their names are self explanatory and they save you from ever worrying about a power outage.

Grade : A

Air Drop

Air Drop allows you to easily send files to nearby computers that also have Air DropΒ even without a wifi network. If that sounds good to you, Great! I however don’t imagine I’ll ever use this feature.

Grade : –


Mail has been changed looks wise. Mail also automatically is sorted into folders so that you can more easily keep track of a long series of emails that you’ve received from the same person. It also organizes messages based off of similar topics. Here is what the new interface looks like

Apple Mail

Grade : B

Full Screen Applications

Yes some applications can be viewed at full screen. I was actually excited about this until I realized Adobe applications still can’t be viewed in full screen mode. You’ll either like this, or you won’t?

Grade : –

Mac OSX Lion Overview

This isn’t a set the world on fire upgrade like Snow Leopard was, but for $30 bucks why not? However if you’d prefer to keep that $30 in your pocket… Why?

Till Next Time

Think Tank

16 Responses to “Web Sharing Forbidden Lion”

  1. oscar says:

    It’s work fine, thank you so much.

  2. Jeff says:

    Thanks, I actually ended up having to chmod my /Sites/ folder as well. It seems Lion decided to make web sharing a whole lot harder. Thank you for the useful article!

  3. Ryders says:

    For me, setting the ServerName config in the /etc/apache2/httpd.conf is what did it.. I used the Mac os “.local” value, “sudo httpd -t” stopped whinging and the websharing check box in the sharing prefpane finally stayed checked.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for submitting your solution. Everyone has a different setup and will find solutions custom to their machines.

      I provide my solution because after passing it off to a Mac genius he relayed that it worked on numerous other machines

  4. Rusty says:

    I upgraded my Snow Leopard to Lion recently and had all the same symptoms. However, I already had the correct configuration files. My problem was that my ~ was not readable by Apple’s everyone group. To fix this, I simply ⌘+i (Get Info) my home directory and in Sharing & Permissions, change “Everyone” to Read only from No access.

  5. Tianrens says:

    hi i dont have the /private/etc/apache2/users/YOURUSERNAME.conf
    or i cant find it


  6. Samuel Mburu says:

    Thanks for the info, this helped me out. I had been trying to do this without going the long route and setting up virtual hosts.

    The only thing for people trying this out would be to change the quotation marks. What you copy using COMMAND + C is not the right quotation mark and as such will not work. I only noticed this after 15mins, hopefully my note will save someone those precious mins.

    Thanks again for posting this, it helped me a lot.

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