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When working with web servers, you may encounter various errors that can impact the functionality and accessibility of your website. One common error is the “Server-generated directory index forbidden by options directive” message. Now, we will explore what causes this error and provide step-by-step solutions to fix it.

Why does the error Server-generated directory index forbidden by options directive appear?

The error message “Server-generated directory index forbidden by options directive” appears when the web server, often Apache HTTP Server, is configured to not allow the automatic generation and display of directory indexes. It occurs due to the following reasons:

  • Missing Index Options: By default, the server may be configured to disable directory indexing. This means that when a user accesses a directory without specifying a specific file within that directory, the server does not generate a directory index (a list of files and folders) and instead returns a “403 Forbidden” error.
  • Incorrect Server Configuration: The server’s configuration file, such as httpd.conf or apache2.conf, might have been modified incorrectly or may have conflicting directives. These misconfigurations can prevent the server from generating directory indexes.
  • Security Concerns: Directory indexing can sometimes be considered a security risk, especially if sensitive files or directories are exposed. In an effort to enhance security, server administrators may disable directory indexing to prevent unauthorized access to directory contents.
  • Server Updates or Migrations: During server updates or migrations, default configurations may change, leading to the disabling of directory indexing. If you recently updated your server software or migrated to a new server, it’s possible that this change affected the server’s configuration.

Solution for the error Server-generated directory index forbidden by options directive

It’s necessary for you to deal with this error by adding “index.php” to the DirectoryIndex directive.

vim /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

After that, let’s alter the line below:

DirectoryIndex index.html


DirectoryIndex index.html index.php

Now, everything is done. The error is addressed.


The “Server-generated directory index forbidden by options directive” error can be frustrating, but it can be easily resolved by following the steps outlined in this blog post. If you have another solution for the error, please share it with us by leaving your comment below.

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