iThemes security says "The file path supplied in NGINX Conf File is not writable." Do i need to make this file writable? if yes, by who?

“The file path supplied in NGINX Conf File is not writable. Please supply a file path that can be written to.” - Basically iThemes is trying to modify the nginx.conf file for certain settings and is unable to do so? Do I need to create a symlink etc. to make sure everything is working fine with iThemes.?

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Since you’re using NGINX and PHP-FPM, your files and directories should be owned by the user that is running the PHP-FPM process, not the NGINX user. When you’re using PHP-FPM, NGINX is not handling reading/writing to your files, PHP-FPM is. Even if NGINX were, you don’t want the web server to handle your files for you, PHP-FPM should be.

You can change in to your PHP-FPM directory and check the file in ./pool.d to see who the process is running as.


cd /etc/php/*/fpm/pool.d
ls -al

You should see either www.conf or default.conf. Use nano to open that file.

nano www.conf

In this file, look for:

user  =
group =


listen.owner = =

On a default setup, all four of those should be set to the same user which is normally www-data. In such a case, your files and directories should be owned by www-data.

If you’re web root is /var/www then simply run:

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

and then try writing again.

You’ll need to change the owner to either www-data or nginx on newer versions of nginx, you can see which by looking at the user specified in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.

To change the owner of a file or directory you use chown like so:

chown -R www-data /var/www

Breaking this down, the -R option makes chown act recursively, changing the owner of any subdirectories or files, replace www-data with the user you want to be the owner of specified files/directories and /var/www is said file/directory.