SFTP permissions command

Hello. I am trying to edit files on my droplet via SFTP (using espresso on a mac). I’m a frontend dev and not used to this workflow, but my dev has left me in a bit of a lurch so I was hoping someone could help.

I can view files fine, but when I try to save I get the error: “You don’t have permission to perform this action.”

From what I’ve read on the community here, the most common fix for this is:

sudo usermod -a -G www-data $USER
sudo chmod -R 775 /var/www

However I do not now how to make these commands apply to m. For example do I need to replace $USER with my username and do I keep the dollar sign etc? And I’m not quite sure what the www-data etc represents. i am worried about experimenting and messing something up so I wish to ask first!

If it helps my sftp connection is using this remote path: …/…/var/www/event

Thank you!



You need to use SSH for this. SFTP is limited in scope.


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Hi - I am using Mac OSX Sierra.

I contacted Digital Ocean support but I just keep getting back canned responses that don’t address the question. What they have said is that my user does not have root access, and I can reset my root password and login that way. But I don’t want to reboot my droplet because the last time that happened it caused a problem and my developer is not on hand at the moment to sort it out. Thing is, it was working before so I don’t really know what has changed. Could it be to do with ssh keys installed on my computer? Another stupid q, but where is all this login info stored? They say I need to look at the users but that’s not in the dashboard so would I have to do that all through the command line? Is that where it’s all set?

Thanks so much for bearing with me. I know what I need to learn in my down time over xmas!

Hi Dilby,

The commands you mentioned should work. You can replace $USER your unix username.