I'm running some node.js scripts with forever.

I started them as www-data user (i.e. via ssh logging as www-data@server and typing forever start myapp.js, etc.).

Ok, everything goes like a charm; my application works as expected, and typing forever list shows me the processes running.

Then, I wrote a (very simple) script named foreverList.sh and placed in folder /var/www/scripts/ :


echo "checking running node.js scripts:"
forever list

When I execute the script from shell as www-data user, it works. Nothing fancy here. But, this script is to be used with PHP 5.6 through Apache 2.4, with :

// ....
$resp_script = shell_exec("/var/www/scripts/foreverList.sh 2>&1");
echo "<pre>$resp_script</pre>";

And when I execute it via my web browser (so with the PHP code above), it doesn't work!! I get this forever error message (nodejs, not php):

procs.forEach(function (proc) {
TypeError: Object Error: EACCES, permission denied '/root/.forever/sock' has no method 'forEach'
... #(stack trace follows)

I really don't understand why it deals with /root folder, as I'm running all this stuff from /var/www/ folder and as www-data user (added a whoami in the script to check it was the case, and it does).

Do I miss something? Is it a forever bug?

Any help will be much appreciated.

UPDATE : I tried to add echo $HOME in the bash script, and it returns nothing. Does PHP itself erase the home path environment variable of www-data user?

  • That is just...weird. except I believe php has a bit different syntax when it comes to permissions.
    – Virusboy
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 1:49
  • it has different wording.
    – Virusboy
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 19:05
  • Forever needs a store for the process info. Normally it's ~/.forever/. Maybe (wild guess here) www-data doesn't have a homedir configured so it reverts to root's homedir? What's the homedir for your www-data user (try: getent passwd www-data | cut -d: -f6)? Do you use a config.json and are there some clues to this behaviour?
    – agtoever
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 10:48
  • Thx. www-data has its own home dir, which is /var/www. It also has a .forever dir in there, with a config.json file and all logs files of the running processes.
    – Polosson
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Well, I finally found the solution.

Actually, Apache unset the $HOME environment variable, (see line 4 of /etc/apache2/envvar file: unset HOME)

The only thing to do was to add:

export HOME=/var/www

before the forever list line in the bash script.

And works like a charm.

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