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Forbidden 403 Error - Site disabled

One of the most common questions that crops up time and time again in the Google Sites help forums relates to Site disablements due to Terms of Service violations. There are two main reasons for a Google Site to show as disabled. a) The individual Site in question is deemed to be in breach of Google's Terms of Service or b) the account of one of the Site owners is deemd to be in breach of Google's Terms of Service. This article aims to help users understand which one applies in their case and what they can do about it.

Terms of Service violation - Site

If you are seeing the following message, there is nothing that I (or any of the other Top Contributors) can do apart from advise you to click on the 'appeal form' link, follow the instructions and wait.


Why has this happened

For consumer Google Sites (those not built in a Google Apps domain), Google uses automated 'Bots' to examine sites and flag up those which are believed may have violated their Terms of Service. These Sites are then disabled until they can be manually reviewed by a person. Google never provide information about what specifically may have caused the Site to be flagged for a ToS violation as this would provide information to spammers to help them avoid ToS violations for spam Sites.

What can I do now

If you haven't already, you need to request an appeal by clicking on the 'appeal form' link and wait 3-4 days and keep checking back to see if your Site has been restored. You will not receive any communication from Google either way.

How can I avoid future Site disablements

To avoid this type of Site disablements in future, I highly recommend using Google Apps for business (free for up to 10 users) and creating/transferring your Sites in Google Apps. See move site to apps.


As of 06Dec2012, Google Apps Free version is no longer available.

I still recommend business users to use Google Apps - the cost for a single user is small compared to the benefits. You can still add consumer accounts as owner/editor/viewer to any Google Apps Site.


Terms of Service violation - Account

If you see the message:

The Google Account of a site owner has been disabled because of a perceived violation of the Terms of Service. The site owner needs to restore their Google Account before this site can be viewed. Learn more

Then, as the message suggests, one (or more) accounts that is an owner of the site has been disabled.

Why this has happened

If Google detects activity on a Google account which suggests that the account has been hacked or compromised in some way, they will disable Sites owned by that account until the verified owner restores access to the account. This is done to protect the Site since if a Site Owner account has been compromised the Site(s) would be at risk.
(It's possible the account was disabled temporarily and restored by Google before you even noticed it.)

What can I do now

You need to follow the instructions given by the link 'Learn More'. Once your account has been restored, it can take up to 24 hours for the site to be restored.

Owner Accounts

If you have access to at least one account that is a Site owner then you can determine which other accounts are owners using Google's Webmaster tools. Make sure you are signed in with the owner account and go to:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/user-admin?hl=en&siteUrl=http://sites.google.com/site/YOURSITENAMEHERE/

How can I avoid future Account disablements


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