This issue has been asked at lots of places and posts, but none of the solutions I found helped me.

I moved a dev site to a server where it is going to go live. Right away I was puzzled why I had to manually create a tmp directory at the site root to get it working at all.

On the dev site, I had been running with the Temporary directory set to /tmp (note the leading slash), but on the new hosting the site forces me to remove the slash, complaining about SAFE_MODE.

The main problem though is that - even though the tmp directory is there and is writeable - turning on the Aggregate and compress CSS files. option causes the site to go into plain, no-stylesheet mode. The Aggregate JavaScript files. companion works just fine on the other hand.

I made sure the encoding of the CSS files is UTF-8 without BOM, as one of the posts suggested. Still - no go. Does anybody have a clue?

  • Do image styles work? What does the status report say? – mpdonadio Jan 31 '13 at 20:28
  • Good point. No, they don't, I renamed styles directory to force recreating the images, but it resulted in broken image references and messages like SAFE MODE Restriction in effect. I dbl-checked - all the dirs along the /sites/default/files/ path are writable (777). – Artur Jan 31 '13 at 20:42
  • I think safe-mode is the root cause of your problem. I have never seen it officially state, but safe mode causes all sorts of grief with complex PHP frameworks/applications. – mpdonadio Jan 31 '13 at 20:54

As per Drupal PHP requirements, safe mode should be off.

It will interfere with file uploads and possibly email sending as well.

You'll probably find you need, in all the .htaccess places with:

Options +FollowSymLinks

to change to

Options +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch

In any case, if you can't disable PHP "safe mode" which, according to php.net is deprecated

Safe Mode This feature has been DEPRECATED as of PHP 5.3.0 and REMOVED as of PHP 5.4.0.

and the other options don't work - you may need to consider using another webhost.

  • Thanks. I will talk to them tomorrow. At any rate, the PHP version is 5.3.3 there, so I'm surprised it's ON. :) – Artur Jan 31 '13 at 22:28

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