Support » Fixing WordPress » Confused about permissions

  • I’ve seen numerous posts on permissions, most of which amount to the same responses. 777, 775, 664, etc.
    I think we (they, us) are ignoring the more common aspect of this question, that is, why is PHP having trouble writing /updating files?, because in the end, we are working in an admin that is built on top of a deployed piece of software, namely WordPress. WordPress is written in php, and has admin/public interfaces to manage these updating issues for us. It’s the authors and developers of the WordPress program that have provided these interfaces, writing the backend functionality using a programming language, php, which, assumming it is installed correctly, has the ability to read/write/delete/create files, access databases, etc.
    My point being, it’s not YOUR USER that’s attempting to write or update a file. It’s the PHP executable, which has permissions to modify files. Now, when your discussing access via an FTP user, which has specific system permissions, then YES, these permission become relevant. But many of these permission questions are actually WordPress architecture issues, as I see it.
    Does anyone agree?
    As an example, many of you are familiar with
    I have a user account on FLICKR.
    I can upload and delete photos via this applications user interface.
    My FLICKR user certainly has no permissions to do any of the above via FTP access to the FLICKR web servers.
    Am I striking any chords here?
    Am I missing something, or shouldn’t my WordPress ADMIN user, which has access to edit/update type interfaces, be able to use these interfaces to perform the allowed functions? Why should I care about a server’s file permissions. Technically, I shoudn’t need access to the server at all once the appliation has been installed. I’m sure many WordPress users DO NOT have access to their web servers.

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  • I am not an expert in coding, but I am in logic.
    Your comparison is not OK. Compare Flickr to – that’s OK. In both cases you have a central administration, one server setup and equal access for outsider, logged-in users.

    On a shared server environment (aka host service) nobody can guess what the specific setup of the software will be on the individual machines. Every hosting company will have different software, different security settings etc.
    On one server you can upload images while the folder permission is 755 (safe), while at other host companies you need to chmod to 777 (unsafe).
    If you can arrange/order that all the servers to be the same – then, probably, life would be easier 🙂

    you’re right.
    I neglected the fact that WordPress was written to be distributed on a variety of server environments.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is this;
    Since WordPress is written in PHP, isn’t it the PHP environment that is being restricted from modifying files? Doesn’t PHP have “permission” to manage a file system, as it is a server side environment?




    Doesn’t PHP have “permission” to manage a file system, as it is a server side environment?


    An analogy, CGI doesn’t have implicit permission. And its equally server-side.

    The notable differences come when you look at how Apache can be set up. *nix obeys permissions, plain and simple – if, for instance, Apache ran as a user that had adequate permissions, these “problems”, as they are, wouldnt exist.

    But that said, imagine a shared box where Apache ran as root?

    Not too smart, eh.

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