J. Doe J. Doe - 3 years ago 110
PHP Question

Loading website server side returns 403 error

I was trying to get RSS info from a website the other day, but when I tried to load it using PHP it returned a 403 error.

This was my PHP code:

$rss = file_get_contents('https://hypixel.net/forums/-/index.rss');
echo $rss;

And the error I got was:

failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden

I must say that loading it regularly from a browser works just fine, but when I try loading it using PHP or any other server-side method it won't work.

Answer Source

Some people don't like servers accessing their stuff. They provide a service intended for human consumers, and not bots. Therefore they may include code that checks whether you are in fact a human using a web browser, which your naïve PHP script is failing to provide. Therefore, the third-party is returning a 403 Forbidden error, indicating that it is forbidden for your program to access it.

There are ways around this, of course, depending on how it's implemented. The most obvious thing to do is send a User-Agent header pretending to be a browser. But servers may do more clever checks than this, and it's questionably moral.

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