Managing files owned by the 'apache' user

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  • Applies to: All DV
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: SSH, vi knowledge, or Plesk Power Panel access


By default, when a PHP script on the VPS server writes to the filesystem, any subsequent files/folders will be owned by the user apache. The only two users who can modify such files are apache and the root user (the super user). Sometimes that can be a problem. Let's discuss your options for managing these files.

This article is provided as a courtesy. Installing, configuring, and troubleshooting third-party applications is outside the scope of support provided by (mt) Media Temple. Please take a moment to review the Statement of Support.



Advanced users manage file ownership/permissions via the command line. You can connect to your server via SSH as the root user to change the ownership of any file. Once you're logged in, you can use the chown command to alter the ownership of a file or folder. Please click here for more details on chown and other common shell commands.

Via SFTP (Secure FTP)

You can also connect to the server via SFTP to modify the ownership/permissions of your data. Again, the root user is necessary. Note: The root user cannot use regular FTP, only SFTP. Click here for more information about SFTP.

Third-Party Tools

Another option for managing these files is a third-party PHP-based File Manager.

Below are a few popular ones to choose from. These products are not supported by (mt) Media Temple but should work in most situations: