For files created from the testuser account in the /var/www directory, I need they have g+rwx as permissions, and www-data as group.

How can I achieve this?

I'm creating the files via SSH.

  • 1
    How is your user creating files? Via FTP stor/appe ? Via HTTP PUT? Through a shell account? These details are important, because they greatly affect the possible answers, and need to be in your question.
    – JdeBP
    Jan 23, 2012 at 13:06
  • Thanks for the input :), I'm creating everything via SSH.
    – Mr.Gando
    Jan 23, 2012 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


To set the group, give /var/www the setgid bit:

chgrp www-data /var/www
chmod g+s /var/www

To also adjust subdirectories: find /var/www -type d -exec chmod g+s {} +

This will make all newly created files inherit the parent directory's group, instead of the user's.

To set the default group permissions, you will have to use ACLs. Set a "default" ACL:

setfacl -m "default:group::rwx" /var/www

To also adjust subdirectories: find /var/www -type d -exec setfacl -m d:g::rwx {} +

Note: The file system must have ACL support enabled. Sometimes it is on by default; on ext3 or ext4 you might get "Operation not supported", in which case it must be enabled manually:

  • For a currently mounted filesystem: mount -o remount,acl /

  • Permanently – one of the methods below:

    • at fstab level: edit /etc/fstab to have acl in the options field

    • at filesystem level: tune2fs -o acl /dev/diskname

  • can't you get the subdirectories with chmod -R g+s /var/www? Doesn't seem like you should need the find command.
    – bobpaul
    Jan 14, 2014 at 0:56
  • 6
    @bobpaul: No, because chmod would also get all files. Jan 14, 2014 at 3:01
  • Note that some commands, in particular install, somehow manage to bypass directory default ACLs. Dec 12, 2018 at 6:41
  • @grawity This is a really great answer and I am sure that there is a solution in there for my problem, but I can't figure it out. I have a /var/www/html/projects folder and when www-data creates a file it has rw-rw-r permissions but when I do something in console it creates a file with rw-r--r. How can I force new created files to always have rw-rw-r permissions?
    – lewis4u
    Jul 29, 2019 at 14:18
  • 1
    I just played around a little bit more and it seems this does the trick for me: find projects -type d -exec chgrp www-data {} + find projects -type d -exec chmod g+s {} + sudo setfacl -R -d -m u::rw projects
    – lewis4u
    Jul 29, 2019 at 14:29

This might have gotten a few people stuck with 'grawity' answer on setgid, if the folder's group is different from your own you may need to run chmod as root but you won't get any error indicating you need to do this.

$ ls -ld dir
drwxrwxr-x 2 luke testgroup 4096 Mar  9 10:44 dir

$ chmod g+s dir                                    #no errors

$ ls -ld dir
drwxrwxr-x 2 luke testgroup 4096 Mar  9 10:44 dir  #but nothing changed

$ touch dir/nosudo && ls -l dir/
-rw-rw-r-- 1 luke luke 0 Mar  9 10:51 nosudo       #and the group is still wrong

$ sudo chmod g+s dir

$ ls -ld dir
drwxrwsr-x 2 luke testgroup 4096 Mar  9 10:44 dir  #the setgid bit is now on

$ touch dir/withsudo && ls -l dir/
-rw-rw-r-- 1 luke luke      0 Mar  9 10:51 nosudo
-rw-rw-r-- 1 luke testgroup 0 Mar  9 10:51 withsudo #and group is set
  • I was pulling my hair out before I ran across this. Thanks. Jun 1, 2018 at 4:13

The group of the files being created by an user is the group of that user (in /etc/group). The permissions are controlled by the UMASK parameter see this

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