I've set up a private directory sites/default/files/private and use it for a file field.

As an admin, everything works as expected when uploading and viewing a private file.

As a user who uploads a private file, I can only download own private files with the Views formatter Download link (example.com/file/585/download?token=TcBjzT2I), but not view them via Generic file (example.com/system/files/private/mypic.jpg) or other formatters. When using the latter, I get

"Access Denied You are not authorized to access this page."

Permission "View own private files" for role enabled. Even enabling "View private files" has no effect.

What am I missing?

1 Answer 1


Files in the private directory are not accessible directly through the web server;

You may have to use file_create_url or hook_file_download to access the files under private directory.

For More info on Accessing Private Files check here

  • 1
    Thanks, Kstack. What I don't understand is why can the admin view the files then?
    – xinxin
    Oct 23, 2017 at 10:57

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