What is CHMOD / how do i CHMOD?

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Joined: 16 Mar 2001
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Location: Stroud,Gloucestershire

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2002 11:01 pm    Post subject: What is CHMOD / how do i CHMOD? Reply with quote

If you are installing a forum or some server side management system on your website then you have probably come across the term "CHMOD" in the installation file. This guide is to simply help you understand what "CHMOD" means and how to implement it.

What is CHMOD?
CHMOD is a UNIX command. (UNIX is just another Operating System).

What does CHMOD mean?
CHMOD is a short form for: "Change Mode".

What does CHMOD do?
CHMOD sets the permissions of files and folders i.e. who is allowed access, to read, write or execute a file.

There are 3 type of ownerships (classes), Owner, Group, and Other (a.k.a. Public) each consisting of Read, Write and Execute file permissions.

* Owner - This would be the owner of the site, which consists of files and folders.
* Group - This would be administrators and web users.
* Other / Public - Everybody else who views your site.
* Read - Ability to view the file. E.G. Viewing the final output of a web page.
* Write - Ability to write to a file. E.G. Adding a news item to news.txt via a php page.
* Execute - Ability to execute a file. E.G. A script which adds or deletes a table(s) in your mySQL database.

A good way to picture the above:

The command explained
The command you type is similar in most FTP programs however there can be slight variations.

A typical command looks like this:

CHMOD 644 index.php

However, some applications require you to type:

SITE CHMOD 644 index.php

This will probably confuse many but there are also other ways to write a CHMOD command.

For example:

SITE CHMOD a+w index.php


SITE CHMOD rw-r--r-- index.php

What do the CHMOD numbers & letters mean?
The numbers mean:

The letters mean:

d = directory (all directories must have this)
r = read (enables read for that group)
w = write (enables write for that group)
x = executable (makes file executable)
a = all (all permission groups will be changed)

Directory and files in directories Examples:

Comparing the letters and numbers:

How to CHMOD in popular FTP Programs:

Dreamweaver 3&4: (Command line only)

Load the 'FTP Log' window when connected to the server:

Note: Dreamweaver only supports the number version of the CHMOD command and must have SITE preceding it.

WS_FTP LE: (Command line and Properties window)

NOTE: WS_FTP does support command line of some sort however, I was unable to get the chmod command to work. CHMOD works by right clicking on the file or folder and selecting 'chmod (UNIX)'.

SmartFTP: (Properties Window only)

NOTE: To get this window simply 'right' click on the file or folder and select 'properties / CHMOD'.

If you have any questions, comments or need further help please contact support@pow.vg

Guide written by Richard Powys-Lybbe (aka pow1983)
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