Permissions on /var/www/html for uploading web site files via SFTP


I’ve installed nginx successfully on an Ubuntu instance here at DigitalOcean. The index.html page (in /var/www/html) displays appropriately: “Welcome to nginx on Debian.”

Now I want to upload some files via Cyberduck (sftp) to “duplicate” my current web site currently hosted elsewhere:

But I cannot because I don’t have the appropriate permissions. (I created a new user with sudo permissions after I created the Ubuntu VPS.)

Via Cyberduck, I see the following for /var/www/html (all these directories):

rwxr-xr-x (755)

        Read      Write     Execute

Owner Y Y Y Group Y No Y Others Y No Y

Owner 0 Group 0

I’m the only user that will upload files I create with Octopress on my Mac.

How do I change the ownership/permissions to best accomplish this ?

I have a rudimentary understanding of Unix permissions :-(

So, please explain with some detail if possible.


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Update: the following seems to have worked:

  1. Establish a [new directory] at /var/www

  2. Change the directory owner and group: sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/[new directory]

  3. allow the group to write to the directory with appropriate permissions: sudo chmod -R 775 /var/www

  4. Add myself to the www-data group: sudo usermod -a -G www-data [my username]

Logout and login again.



When I upload 2kb file to sftp the file is 0 byte in sftp why? I can not directly edit file in sftp. Plz help. Thx

I believe the owner is www-data? 755 will allow www-data (Webserver) to create and edit, as you’re not the owner you cannot edit it, I’ve simply found doing chown ben:www-data /var/www -R will allow you and the webserver owner permissions which gives you all access to that directory.