I am quite new to ubuntu and I have been trying to install BuilderEngine, a content management system, to my ubuntu server 12.04 lts. I have figured some things out but I am struggling with permission for files and folders. I know I have to change the permission for folders and files in /var/www/ to be able to read and write files. But I am not sure what to do.

All I know is never use chmod -R 777 /var/www/ because that can read/write/excute files.

Was thinking of trying sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/ but not sure.

2 Answers 2


Make sure the group is www-data on '/var/www'

sudo chgrp www-data /var/www

Make '/var/www' writable for the group

sudo chmod 775 /var/www

Set the GID for www-data for all sub-folders

sudo chmod g+s /var/www

Your directory should look like this on an ls -l output.


Last, add your username to the www-data group (secondary group)

sudo usermod -a -G www-data [YOURUSERNAME]
  • Does this method work with ubuntu server 12.04 LTS because I only found out that it is easier to install the Builderengine cms on 12.04 version. Thanks for the quick reply
    – user244666
    Feb 5, 2014 at 1:12
  • Yes, this should work with ubuntu server 12.04.
    – Kai
    Feb 5, 2014 at 1:27
  • Was able to to get into 192.168.0.xx/admin/install/index but sadly my last check box for the installation progess was unchecked it was : website folder is not writable
    – user244666
    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:10
  • doesn't matter fixed it
    – user244666
    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:19
  • 2
    Also, if you already have files inside /var/www then the change /var/www AT THE CMD to /var/www/* -R so for example sudo chgrp www-data /var/www/* -R Dec 2, 2014 at 17:10

My Suggestion for the permission you can use below command to find and set p:

find /var/www/html/ -type d -perm 777 |xargs chmod 0755 --
find /var/www/html/ -type f -perm 777 |xargs chmod 0644 --


For Directories:

 find /path/to/your/wordpress/install/ -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

For Files:

find /path/to/your/wordpress/install/ -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

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