Best way to set ownership of web root

  • Posted October 27, 2014

I’ve created a droplet, but the owner and group is root.

In other set-ups, I’ve seen the web root have user and group of something like www-data or apache.

How do I emulate this set-up so I can read and write files to my web root without needing to run commands as sudo?


OK, so I’ve added my UNIX user (codemartin) to the www-data group. However, now when I try to clone my project’s source code into the directory (that is now owned by the www-data user and group) I get the following error:

/var/www/.git: Permission denied

What’s failing now? Does Git use a different user, even though it’s my account (martin) issuing the command?

Mr Bean.

It really depends on what you are attempting to do…

If you are wanting to make it so you can write/edit with your regular user you should check out:

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The webserver runs as www-data on Debian-based systems, and apache or nginx on RHEL-based systems. You can change /var/www’s ownership to your webserver’s user so that it can write to it:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www

Make sure you replace www-data with the actual user that your webserver is running as. Run the following command to find out what that user is:

sudo ps wwaux | grep "http|apache|nginx|fpm" | grep -v grep