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Requirements:

  1. sftp users need to be able to maintain their account's websites via sftp. I have created a "sftponly" group for them.

  2. Apache (user: www-data) needs to be able to read, write and execute in these users' "www" folders. For instance, Wordpress auto-update feature should work without specifying ftp credentials.

The file structure I follow is like this:

/home/<username>/www/<domain.tld>/public

I managed to make either requirement work, but not the two alongside.

Here is the process I follow to create a new user at the moment:

adduser <username>
usermod -G sftponly <username>
chown root:root /home/<username>
chmod 755 /home/<username>
cd /home/<username>
mkdir www
chown -R <username>:sftponly *
chown -R www-data:www-data /home/<username>/www
chmod -R 770 /home/<username>/www

How can I meet both requirements?

System: Ubuntu 14.04, Apache 2.4.7

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I believe that the easiest way to meet both requirements would probably be to utilize Access Control Lists:

ACLs -- Arch-Wiki

Just simply add another group like so:

setfacl -mR "g:sftponly:rw" /home/<username>/www

If you can't, or do not want to use ACL's I would suggest looking at this documentation:

SCPOnly

SCPOnly is a special shell that can work with chroot jails and PAM to more securely allow users remote access.

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