In SharePoint 2007, a user encounters an error message saying “The website declined to show this webpage” with an HTTP 403 error.
The user cannot access the web page. In the case of the user I was working with, the web page was the home page of the subsite. With Full Control rights, the user was able to access the page, but not with their usual rights. The user was, however, with their usual rights, able to access all other locations in the subsite in question – lists, libraries, and so on – that they were supposed to have rights to (in the case of this particular site and user, that meant everything on the site).
The problem was within the web part page. A web part was causing the page to 403. Some configuration to the web part (what was done to cause this is still not known) had made the web part no longer permissible to show to the user. Instead of just not showing the web part, SharePoint declines to show the web part page.
To resolve the problem, go to the Web Part Page Maintenance page for the page that is giving the 403 error:
One by one disable the web parts. One of them is the problem. When it is disabled, the page will display properly to the user.
There were no custom web parts on the page, just out-of-the box parts with some configuration (see my post Automated SharePoint Site Provisioning Solution – Act Eight).
What I did in this instance was to delete he offending web part and just add a replacement back, given the time-sensitive nature of the issue. I would have liked to troubleshoot the configuration further, but it was faster to delete the part and re-add it.
I’ll update this post if the problem is encountered again. Of course, if you know what things would cause the web part to make the page go 403, feel free to post in the comments.