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My multi site Drupal 7 installation is suddenly unable to load any CSS file located in the /modules folder and subfolders (for example http://example.com/modules/system/system.base.css). I get "Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden)" in the browser console.

All CSS files for installed custom modules and all custom theme CSS files (inside /sites/all/modules and /sites/all/themes) are loading just fine.

Even more strange: the /modules/ CSS files load fine if I enable "Aggregate and compress CSS files." in Configuration > Development > Performance. When I disable "Aggregate..." I get the 403.

I realize that aggregating CSS is recommended in production sites, but I need to figure out what is going on and why the CSS files are not loading (they were loading fine earlier today). I did some changes in permissions earlier today, but I reverted those, with no success.

Any ideas?

PS: I noticed that Drupal adds "?obkukf" after .css - what is this, and does this have anything to do with the problem?

  • I hesitate to put this into the answers below, since I cannot explain what happened. I ended up re-installing Drupal (except /sites) and that fixed the problem. I would still appreciate any insight. – argiepiano Aug 8 '16 at 6:53
  • Is there any changes in the permission before that happen? – Gulok Aug 10 '16 at 1:32
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That extra query string are used to control caching. That will change everytime the cached files expired.

As per Dave Reid:

It's to prevent browsers from caching those files when they change.

See these threads:

https://www.drupal.org/node/346711 https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11362261/appending-query-string-to-all-js-and-css-files-to-prevent-caching

  • Thank you very much for this explanation. It is helpful, but it doesn't answer the main question above of why suddenly I was getting 403 errors in different browsers. Sorry, I shouldn't have added the "PS" with a different question at the end of my question. My bad – argiepiano Aug 8 '16 at 13:59
  • Sorry, my bad. I will update my answer in a moment. – Gulok Aug 10 '16 at 1:30

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