Troubleshooting issues logging in to Northwestern services

If you are experiencing trouble logging into a NetID-authenticated system, review the following possible causes and solutions.

Service Availability
Is the service currently available? Check the status of University IT services at to find out if there is scheduled maintenance or an unplanned outage.

NetID Password
Before going any further, verify that:
  • You're typing in your password correctly.
  • The caps lock key isn't pressed.
  • Your browser isn't auto-filling an old password.
  • Your password is current. Go to NUValidate at and enter your NetID and password. 
Cookies and Cache
Some services, including the Online Passport, require your browser to use cookies. Other services, such as CAESAR, may require you to periodically clear your browser cache. Instructions for enabling cookies and clearing your saved cookies and cache are available at

Multi-Factor Authentication
Have your registered your phone with Multi-factor Authentication? Many University systems, including myHR, CAESAR, and NUFinancials use Multi-factor Authentication as part of the login process. Learn more about managing your phones at

Some services, such as the Online Passport, use Javascript. Make sure your browser does not use any add-ons that restrict or disable Javascript.

Are you eligible to access the service? Several University systems and services, as well as access to some software titles, have specific NetID eligibility requirements and may not be available for all users. Check with the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) to determine if your NetID is authorized for access.

"Forbidden" Error
Did you get a "Forbidden" error trying to access a NetID-authenticated service without even being prompted for your NetID and password? It could be due to one of these common issues and not your NetID:
  • Your computer is connected to both wired and wireless networks.
  • You physically moved your laptop from one location to another while connected to a wireless network and its network address changed.
  • You're using SSL VPN.
Try quitting your browser and relaunching it to access the service. If that doesn't work try using a different browser.

Off Campus
Are you trying to access a service from an off-campus location? Some services require you to either be on campus or use VPN when off campus. Get step-by-step instructions on setting up VPN at

Security Certificates
Many secure sites at the University require security certificates to ensure secure data transmission. Most browsers should receive certificates automatically and experience no issues when accessing services. If you are experiencing a certificate error, get instructions on installing certificates at

Are you trying to access a service from an off-campus location that's behind a firewall? It's not uncommon for companies and businesses (and even some countries) to restrict authenticated access to sites on the Internet from computers on their network. Check with your company's IT department if you are having access issues at your non-University workplace.

Security Form
Some services, such as NUFinancials, Cognos, and administrative access to CAESAR, require you to have completed a security form before you are permitted access to the system. Verify with your department's business administrator that you have been granted appropriate access.

See Also:

For additional assistance please contact the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) or via email at

Keywords:cookies cache forbidden error 403 error403 NetID websso "web sso"   Doc ID:62270
Owner:TSS Tier 2 .Group:Northwestern
Created:2016-03-27 21:18 CDTUpdated:2022-08-16 12:16 CDT
Feedback:  165   522