I've had a little search and can't find a direct answer, so I'm posting on the forum. W3 Total Cache sounds like a wonderful plugin and I would like to install it on my site.
Following the installation instructions I got stuck at step 1 - I do not know how to change permissions to 777. So I contacted DreamHost, where I host my domain, and they told me:
"on our systems, there is *never* a need to set *anything* to 777 permissions, and to do so is a serious security risk."
"We use suExec, so your own user (and therefore the WordPress program) can write to all directories with them set to 755."
They advised me to proceed with the permissions left to 755. I asked what effect they thought this might have:
"It should have none at all. The 777 permissions are the programmer's way of avoiding problem with user unfamiliar with programming having to set *proper* permissions to allow the script to write to the directory. We have you covered on that, as we have the default permissions set to 755 which allows this, and is much safer."
Will I be ok to install W3 Total Cache leaving permissions at 755?
(I am using WordPress version 2.8.5)