I understand that Drupal hardens permissions of the /web/sites/default directory and its files, each time that the system_requirements() function is called, typically after each composer require operation.
The particular hardening is removing the write permission from the user of the Drupal file tree, and to soften that hardening one would have to do chmod u+w web/sites/default.

If I understand correctly, why does Drupal remove the write permission from the user of the Drupal file tree?
What typical problem does it prevent, or solve?

1 Answer 1


The settings.php file contains the database password and username in plain text and, once created, must be set so that only appropriate users can read it. That usually means removing read permissions for the "other" user.


It is not particularly clear in this question if you are asking about files or about the sites/default directory. In the case of hardening permissions on the sites/default directory itself, that is to prevent the addition of files.

The original reasoning is in this seventeen-year-old issue.

The general approach here is that, because we do not know the security setup of the webserver, we apply our permission changes to all three digits of the file permission (i.e. user, group and all).

Power users who understand filesystem details may wish disable these protection via a documented configuration in settings.php.

  • Why should I want to prevent the user account that I myself use to manage my Drupal installation from writing anywhere inside it? By "writing" I mean adding files to sites/default or editing an existing file there such as settings.php. I mean, if that directory and its files are owned by my user account and are grouped in the group of my user account and others cannot access it, then why should I expect Drupal to harden it so that even I myself couldn't write in it (unless I soften the hardness)?
    – alhemist
    Aug 17, 2023 at 23:07
  • 1
    I don't think we can answer questions about what you should want or what you should expect, as those are your private thoughts.
    – cilefen
    Aug 17, 2023 at 23:34
  • Sure, let my try that again, what is the logic in making Drupal removing the write permission from the user account which owns sites/default and its files, grouped in a group of the same name and that other user accounts can't access?
    – alhemist
    Aug 18, 2023 at 1:49
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    As I quoted in the answer “we do not know the security setup of the webserver”. In some shared hosting, the web server user is the same as the shell account user, for example.
    – cilefen
    Aug 18, 2023 at 1:53
  • Alright, let's take that scenario in which the shell user account is the Drupal user account of sites/default. Why make that user account remove itself the write permission if it can also give it back to itself? Maybe in other scenarios, it can't give it back to itself.
    – alhemist
    Aug 18, 2023 at 16:28

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