It depends on the file or directory.
For example, some web server setups allow the machine's users to publish files as
http://server.name/~username, with the files typically living in that user's subdirectory.
httpd will probably need execute permissions on the directory containing the files and all of the directories above it in the path, due to the way it processes URLs. In other words, if you have
~username/public_html set to 777, but
~username is 700, Apache probably can't serve the files.
The broader answer to the question requires you to consider all the daemons running in the system. They typically do not run as either root or your user, so they do not automatically have permissions for any files in your directory unless given them explicitly.