I've created a user 'www' and added it to the 'www-data' group. I've set the home directory of 'www' to /var/www/ also. I would like to use 'www' to transfer files in and out of my web server by FTP

The problem is when I run the command:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

..I don't have permission to write files via FTP

However when I run:

sudo chown -R www:www /var/www

..I have full FTP access but get a 'Forbidden' message in my browser.

Any advice on how to get full FTP access including all subfolders would be really appreciated.

1 Answer 1


That means that you already have a www-data user which Apache uses that should have the necessary permissions in /var/www.

The simplest solution would be to use that same user, but you could also assign the www-data group to your new user and make sure the /var/www directory structure allows the group to write to it:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www
chmod -R ug+rw /var/www
  • 'chmod -R ug+rw /var/www' did the trick. You've saved me a massive headache. Thanks a lot for your help.
    – Cayman Roe
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 20:09
  • Sorry to bother you again, I've found out that PHP files are returning a HTTP 500 error code. 'Permission denied' in apache logs. HTML files are fine.. just PHP. Any ideas?
    – Cayman Roe
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 0:31
  • Maybe the directories holding them don't give +x to the Apache user. Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 4:03

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