I know this question is asked a lot, but the solutions I saw didn't work for me.

I only have one virtual host enabled, and I'm trying to enable access to a folder that's not under the document root

ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
DocumentRoot /var/www/html

Alias /movies /home/username/Videos/Movies

<Directory /home/username/Videos/Movies/>
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Require all granted

I set /etc/apache2/envvars as follows

export APACHE_RUN_USER=www-data
export APACHE_RUN_GROUP=public

I made sure that /home/username/Videos/ and its sub folders are owned by username:public, set the permissions to 777 (after 775 didn't work) and made sure that user www-data belongs to group public.

Now, when I browse to http://localhost/movies I get

[Mon Apr 21 11:28:14.971844 2014] [core:error] [pid 1385:tid 140067725104896] (13)Permission denied: [client] AH00035: access to /movies/ denied (filesystem path '/home/username/Videos') because search permissions are missing on a component of the path

But when I set /etc/apache2/envvars to run Apache under username (my own username) everything works fine. The problem is permission related, but I don't see how in my case; especially when I set the permissions to 777. Any ideas?

P.S. Ubuntu version is 14.04, Apache is 2.4.7 and I didn't edit other configuration files.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of How do I give www-data user to a folder in my home folder? – NGRhodes Apr 21 '14 at 9:08
  • I did everything they suggested over there, as I wrote, and it does not help – Yotam Apr 21 '14 at 9:41
  • Any chance you have mounted your /home with ACL enabled? (there is a "+" sign at the end of the permission bits if it's the case (check with ls -l)) – Polosson Apr 22 '14 at 8:06
  • No, I didn't do it. Right now I'm running Apache under my user, so it's working, but I'd like to run it under another user for security reasons. – Yotam Apr 23 '14 at 13:33
  • I'm using Linux for the first time. I downloaded Ubuntu 14.04 LTE version. I'm facing the same problem. Can anyone help please? – Imdad Jun 24 '14 at 13:26

Do a chmod +x on your user dir, and restart apache. 755 permissions should work. I've had problems with 644.

  • 8
    Indeed, and to double check file and directory permissions, if available, you can use namei -m /home/youruser/public_html/yourfile.ext or try people.apache.org/~igalic/hacks/parsepath – Junior Mayhé Jun 27 '15 at 19:06
  • 2
    to clarify, any directory you want Apache to read, must be readable for Apache user. Most likely your user home folder is not owned by you user and group, therefor you have to set 755 permissions to /home/username to access it with apace. – ruuter Sep 1 '15 at 10:06
  • 1
    I had this problem on OSX Mac OS High Sierra and this solution worked for me. Didn't even have to restart Apache. – gone Mar 1 '18 at 11:36
  • After hours of searching it turns out that the permissions should be correct for the parent directories of the DocumentRoot too. Thank you very much . BTW this does not need to restart Apache – Accountant م Jul 11 '18 at 5:28
  • This worked for me. – Ahesanali Suthar Dec 9 '19 at 10:32

If in the case of selinux being the issue, rather than just disable it, this page and this page give the command to grant access:

chcon -R -t httpd_sys_content_t ~/public_html/
  • 2
    I Was sure it was my issue. Damn CentOS ! Thx for the command, works perfectly. – Balmipour Mar 22 '17 at 12:28
  • 2
    thanks, just had to replace the ~/public_html/ part with the root directory of the content I was trying to serve. – trpt4him Oct 17 '17 at 17:26
  • chcon -R -t httpd_sys_content_t /var/www/html/phpmyadmin/ (in my situation) – cssyphus Feb 28 '18 at 19:42
  • Discovered selinux can't handle simple homedirs, and only one of those features was required while the other was optional. Thanks for the reminder as to the fix -- after the mandatory re-test period with each new release, and disappointment, I usually just hack that out in the kickstart. Now for systemd. – user2066657 Mar 13 '19 at 15:00

You might have selinux enabled. Try


If it shows "Enforcing", try

setenforce 0

and try if this fixes your issue.

  • 4
    Don't just disable SELinux as a fix. Fix the SELinux problems by reassigning ports or setting booleans. – siride Mar 13 '18 at 15:45
  • 1
    This answer helps to identify that the issue is related to SELinux. But disabling it is not recommended. – Rajkumar R Apr 23 '19 at 7:21

I encountered the same problem, after hours of trying, I found a solution exactly solves the problem:


Basically, the Apache server does not only require read permissions of all files it serves, but the execution permission of all directories in the path of your virtual host.

The utility namei can be used to help find permissions problems by listing the permissions along each component of the path:

namei --modes /usr/local/apache2/htdocs/foo/bar.html

In my case, a directory in my path has the permission 700, it causes the problem. After changing it to 701, the problem was solved.

  • 1
    The link here is helpful because it explains the problem: One of the nodes in the directory path is missing search permissions. Use the "namei" command to find this and then "chmod" to 755. – user3751385 Dec 29 '17 at 1:50
  • It explain the real reason as well as solution. thanks – Emdadul Sawon Dec 26 '18 at 6:32

I was experiencing this issue when I was trying to run apache in a docker container on an Ubuntu 16.04 host that was using the 4.4 kernel instead of 4.10.

Once I ran this command on the host and re-deployed, I was fine:

sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-16.04 
  • I have bumped into this problem, but with the strange effect that I can chmod or chown inside the container, and it suppresses the Apache 403 errors for a while, only to revert some time later. There is no intervening container restart or other substantive change that could be the cause of this, as far as I can tell. Since I am indeed running 16.04, I tried installing this binary, and my 403s are held at bay for now. I will keep a beady eye on it, and thanks! – halfer Sep 2 '18 at 10:39

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