WordPress can't write files on HHVM and nginx

Just posted this to the ‘Advanced WordPress’ Facebook group. Posting here for public archive. Will update.

Tech stack:

Ubuntu 14.04.1 nginx 0.91-ubuntu1 mysql 5.5.40-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 (Ubuntu) hhvm 3.5.0 (rel) WordPress 4.2.2 Any hhvm users here?

Superficial problem: auto updates to core, theme, plugins asks for FTP credentials. Same for uploading media. WordPress can’t write to server

Everything was running really well on my LEMP server until I needed to reboot my DO VPS last month. Still running well, but now simply can’t write files.

I currently (temporarily) have all mod permissions at 775 with www-data:www-data owner/group to root wp directory.

This is more a question of best practices running WP on hhvm. Is it all that different than running php-fpm?

From I can ‘sense’, it seems the hhvm process can’t write to the directories, as it either isn’t using the www-data user or part of the www-data group.

php5-fpm explicitly declares this in the /etc/php5/fpm/pool.d/www.conf file, but I can’t find a similar file or declaration for hhvm. There is a /etc/hhvm/ directory containing a php.ini and server.ini files, but currently there is no explicit user line in the files.

Upon further review in htop, it seems my ‘casey’ user owns the 6 hhvm processes. Do I just need to start hhvm as ‘www-data’? If this was the case, since ‘casey’ is a member of www-data, hhvm should be able to write to directories given the current 775 mod (but I might be mistaken about how that works). Regardless, the hhvm server process should obviously be owned by another user, but unclear what the best practice is here. If I recall, I manually booted hhvm after the server reboot, probably better to set up as a daemon.

Before I mess with the config files I want to make sure I’m relatively correct about this.

My google searches weren’t bringing up exact results on this. Am I headed in the right direction?

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By default on Ubuntu, HHVM does run under the www-data user. This is defined in the init script that is used to start the process. Here’s a snippet from /etc/init.d/hhvm:

# Default values. This values can be overwritten in '/etc/default/hhvm'

As the comment notes, you can override these defaults by placing a file at /etc/default/hhvm with new values. You shouldn’t edit the init script directly. For more information on running HHVM on Ubuntu, check out: