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Solving File Permission Issues

There are multitudes of reasons for File being unable to update or being accessed, but there is only one source for all of those reasons – your hosting environment.

These issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Being unable to remove/delete files and folders using an FTP client.
  • Not able to CHMOD in order to set file permissions.
  • When deleting modules and templates, installation/uninstallation occasionally becomes corrupt.
  • Unable to overwrite templates or extensions via an FTP client that were originally installed from an extension manager.

All aforementioned problem have only one reason to exist – the simple fact, that your FTP server houses two different server groups – the main one, which is being used by you and the second one, which is being used by Apache and Joomla and which is more privileged that yours one. It happens when you already have an FTP account(s) at your website during Joomla installation and do not insert its credentials when Joomla asks you to set up an FTP account, leaving CMS to use the default settings.

There’s a quite simple way to fix all of your aforementioned problems – simply enter Joomla Global Configuration screen and set up a correct FTP account (the account you use to upload files). The account details are located under Server.

From now on, your Joomla installation will use the same account as you when updating files and adding extensions and modules. This should completely eliminate any trouble, connected to the fact of incorrect FTP account and will allow you to use your FTP client as an ultimate website file manager. Not that it is recommended to do so.

But there already may be some files that are having wrong set of permissions. To check up on this issue, go to Site > System Information > Directory Permissions.

If there are some files, which permissions you want to change, there are three ways of doing this.


Way 1. Changing permissions via FTP client

IMPORTANT: If you do not have any FTP client installed on your computer, consider getting one. You may like CyberDuck or FileZilla – they are both quite decent and, what is the most important part, freeware. In this case, CyberDuck was used.
  • Login to your FTP server and travel to webroot directory
  • Find the directory or the file you need to change permissions for. Select it with a click and go to File > Permissions then.
  • You will get Change File Attributes dialog that will allow you to change file or directory permissions. It is not recommended setting them at 777 on your own – this is a dangerous value, since it opens some holes in security. Try 755 – this should satisfy most of your needs.

IMPORTANT: Use 777 only when you are sure it is the only way to fix the issue. The safest solutions are 755 for folders and 644 for files. Permission 777 is dangerous!
HINT: You may use Recurse to the subdirectories command in order to apply the same permissions to everything inside the given directory and its subdirectories. Though, it will take some time.

Way 2. Changing permissions via special Joomla Extension

There are several Joomla Extensions that are able of acting like a website file manager. You may want to try eXtplorer, since it is the most stable one (and also a freeware).

  • Well, you’ll need an eXtplorer to begin with, so go to its download page and get yourself one!
  • Go to Components > eXtplorer. It will let you browse directories, which are accessible to you.
  • Click on the directory you want to change permissions of and then click on Change Rights.
  • Check the options and check or uncheck Recurse into subdirectories button – it depends on what the aim of changing the permissions was.
  • Click the Save button.

Way 3. Changing permissions via Hosting Panel.

If you do not want to use any of the described above methods, you may try to use cPanel’s File Manager:


  • Access it and you will be given view of all your files on this server.
  • [image]
  • Select the file or folder you need. In our case, it is the \images\ folder
  • Click on Modify Permissions
  • Adjust them as you need.
  • Agree with it by clicking Change Permissions.

If you are insterested in learning more about permissions, there is an article within Joomla documentation:

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