I set up a working Drupal 7 installation on somebody else's server and the image generation only worked if all folders leading to the thumbnail folder were given 777 permission.

This must be a an Apache configuration issue - has anybody else come across this?

2 Answers 2


You need to go to your drupal installation root folder and type the following

chown -R user:www-data .
find . -type d -exec chmod u=rwx,g=rx,o= {} \;
find . -type f -exec chmod u=rw,g=r,o= {} \;

where www-data type the user under which apache/http process runs

Then go at sites/ directory and type the following

find . -type d -name files -exec chmod ug=rwx,o= '{}' \;
find . -name files -type d -exec find '{}' -type f \; | while read FILE; do chmod ug=rw,o= "$FILE"; done
find . -name files -type d -exec find '{}' -type d \; | while read DIR; do chmod ug=rwx,o= "$DIR"; done

See http://drupal.org/node/244924 for more information.

  • Just linking to external (drupal.org) resources is not the best option. We want this stackexchange site to become the one-stop answer database :)
    – berkes
    May 30, 2011 at 20:12
  • The answer is just perfect there and I think more complete than you give. At sites/ directory there are different permissions. I thought it would not be correct just to copy paste a ready answer. And I never imagined drupal.org as a competitor of this site. Anyway here information is more organized.
    – john
    May 30, 2011 at 22:39
  • Please see drupal.stackexchange.com/questions/how-to-answer section "Provide context for links". You neither gave context nor quoted the relevant parts.
    – berkes
    May 31, 2011 at 11:26

As provided by John, Drupal.org has an entire page on permissions.

With ls -alh you will see the user and filepermissions that are used. If that gives access denied, or too little information, run ls -alh as root: sudo ls -ahl. You should see something like:

drwxrwx---  7 www-data greg      4096 2008-01-18 11:02 files/
drwxr-x--- 32 greg     www-data  4096 2008-01-18 11:48 modules/
-rw-r-----  1 greg     www-data   873 2007-11-13 15:35 index.php

The first column will, in your situation look like drwxrwxdrwx, a more readable version of 777.

The next two columns are more important: they should contain the user under which the apache server runs. On Ubuntu and Debian that is www-data, under CenOS/Redhat that is apache. Other unices may have other usernames.

Then simply change the ownership of the files directory and all files underneath it.

chown -R www-data:www-data files/ 

This will recursively (-R) change group and user ownership to apache of files/ and its content.

From there you can change the permissions to something safer:

sudo find . -type d -exec chmod u=rwx,g=rx,o= {} \; #change permissions on directories (-d)
sudo find . -type f -exec chmod u=rw,g=r,o= {} \; #change permissions on files (-f)

x for directories means accessing and scanning it. x for files meens executable. You don't want your images to be "executable" :)

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