While viewing my Status report, I came across this error under the CTools CSS Cache header:

The CTools CSS cache directory, ctools/css could not be created due to a misconfigured files directory. Please ensure that the files directory is correctly configured and that the webserver has permission to create directories.

How do I fix this?

2 Answers 2


That directory must be writable by the usre that runs the web server (apache, for example).

So you have to:

  • go to admin/config/media/file-system and check the path of public files (may be sites/default/files)

  • check which user runs web server (on Ubuntu could be "www-data", on centos/fedora/redhat could be "apache")

  • using a terminal go to the document root of drupal and set the owner of the directory:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data sites/default/files (or apache:apache)

  • if you couldn't use a terminal, use the ftp client or contact your hosting provider

PS: this instruction works on *nix servers

  • While it's all nice and such, all file permissions were right, but after the site update that I'd done, I just needed to run 'cron' and the error was gone.
    – Jakke
    Mar 8 at 15:20

As the error suggests, this is due to misconfigured permissions in the ctools directory. A quick fix would be to create the ctools/css directories in your project directory (not all or default) and set their permissions to 777.

However, this is not a good fix because it doesn't follow the Principle of least privilege. So let's get to the root of it.

This problem likely arose when you created or copied the directory from somewhere into your project directory. Doing so will set the owner of the directories as your user. Normally, the ctools/css directory is created under the www-data user, and thus, we can simply sudo chown www-data:www-data ctools and cd ctools; sudo chown www-data:www-data css (on a linux machine)

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