I have recently worked on a site for a client and worked on an acquia devdesktop to make changes on a Windows machine. The production site is on a linux server and I am trying to deploy the site on a digital ocean ubuntu server running nginx. For some reason my file and folder permission are completely messed up. I have gotten the site to the point where some images show up, but my themes and content are still behaving strangely. I followed what I thought was the procedure:

  1. Set up a clean installation.
  2. Migrate the database
  3. copy the sites folder
  4. run the update script

I ran though a series of issues with folder permissions, and was able to squash most of the bugs. I don't get any meaningful to me warnings in the admin/status/reports, and near as I can tell I've tried to follow the correct permissions for files and folders.

site --> 775
site/default -->775
site/default/files --> 775

UPDATE: So, I guess part of the issue had to do with an .htaccess file htaccess file issues, but I still had a mess of warnings regarding the folder and ownership permissions. I guess the environments are really unfriendly to one another. This a big site with 85+ modules enabled. The annoying part is that I could only piece together the diagnoses from the php warnings. I finally hit a wall a WSOD.

2 Answers 2


Try to give more information about the files/directories. What user/group owns the files? You should also make sure you know what user nginx is running on. Try these commands for debugging:

ls -l for printing details about file permissions and ownership

ps -ef to check running processes to see if any user stands out (like www-data or www, figure out which user nginx uses)

Files in sites/default/files should be rw- permissions, and directories in sites/default/files should be rwx permissions. rw- is 6 and rwx is 7.

The file: -rw-r--r-- 1 ubuntu www-data 468 Dec 10 15:59 test.php is owned by the ubuntu user and the www-data group. The ubuntu user can access the file with read/write, and the www-data can only read the file. If this file were in sites/default/files it would be a problem, because the webserver wouldn't have rights to remove it.


Rebuild the registry and also change ownership of file folder to www-data:www-data. To rebuild the registry you can use below drush command.

drush rr

After rebuilding registry clear the cache.

  • silly question, would creating a site archive on my dev machine, and then importing the archive with drush work?
    – nizz0k
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 21:44

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