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I have a new Drupal 8 site up and running, and in the File System settings I have the Default download method set to Public local files served by the web server.

My public folder is set to site/default/files. When I set my private folder to site/default/private, I get the following error.

Writable (public download method)
The directory sites/default/private is not writable

The public folder is not set to sites/default/private, but sites/default/files, so why does this point to private instead?
My files and private are both writable by Drupal. The permissions for bot the directories are set to 775, so they are writable.
If I remove the private folder setting, the error goes away, but I obviously need the private directory to be set.

What could possibly cause Drupal to be confused on what is the private and public directories?

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It's not mixing up public/private directories; the File system report row on the Status report page is conveying multiple bits of information:

  • Your default download method ("Writable...")
  • Any other issues found with your file system config. In this case, permissions on the private directory.

Regarding the permission issue, you'll need to check what user/group the Drupal/Apache/PHP is running as to confirm 775 lines up with the private dir group.

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