File Permission Issues

Multiple reasons could be the cause of this problem, all of which start with the type of web hosting environment you have.

These file permissions include:

  • Being unable to remove/delete files and folders using an FTP client
  • Not able to CHMOD in order to set file permissions
  • When deleting modules and templates, installation/uninstallation occasionally becomes corrupt.
  • Unable to overwrite templates or extensions via an FTP client that were originally installed from an extension manager.

Typically, these problems can boil down to the fact that there are two different types of server groups having ownership and permission levels over Joomla folders and files. For example, you have the main website FTP user that you use to upload files and folders; and then there is the ‘Apache’ server and user group used by Joomla should no FTP details be setup within Joomla.

In order to fix all of these FTP permission issues and Joomla files aforementioned, simply enter your FTP details in Joomla. Upon the details being entered and logged into the Joomla administration interface, proceed to select ‘global configuration’ in the main menu under ‘site’. Select ‘server’ and then enter the exact same FTP details you use while uploading to the site from your FTP settings.

At this point, your installation of Joomla should be using the same FTP user details while setting file permissions whenever templates, extensions, or modules are being installed. This should completely eliminate these and any other similar conflicts of permission using your FTP client.

Change File and Folder Permissions

In order to resolve these problems, you’ll need to change the affected files permission settings or directories. To see their permissions, go to Site > System Information > Directory Permissions.


1. Using an FTP Client

  • If you don’t have any FTP client, download Cyberduck and install it, otherwise open your preferred FTP client.
  • Login to your server with your FTP client and go to your webroot directory.
  • Find the directory of which you’d like to change the permissions and click on it.
  • Click File > Permissions
  • The Change File Attributes dialog will let you check the different options or you can type a numeric value yourself; such as 755. Before hitting “OK”, ensure that the “Recurse into subdirectories” option is checked.
Note: 777 permissions are not secure; therefore you should always avoid using 777 permissions.


Unfortunately, permission conflicts are often “solved” by a webmaster simply changing the CHMOD to 777. Doing this will probably solve any immediate issues regarding permissions; but in the long run your website will be open to a multitude of attacks and exploits. If you’re experiencing many problems while using CHMOD 755, consider using 775. Only ever use CHMOD 777 as an absolute last resort measure when no other solution works. Remember that you should change any relevant CHMOD back to a more secure setting (such as 755 for any folders and 644 for files) after you’ve uploaded your extension or template. Don’t forget!

2. Using a Joomla Extension

If you’d like, you may use Joomla specific extensions such as eXtplorer to update permissions through the backend of Joomla.

  • Firstly, go to the eXtplorer page where you can download and install the component. This component will allow you to complete any actions within the directories of your webserver.
  • In the Joomla backend, go to Components > eXtplorer where you’ll then be able to browse to the directory or directories where you’d like to change the permissions.
  • Click on the directory and then “Change Rights”.
  • Check the options as it is shown below and, again, ensure that the “Recurse into subdirectories” option has been checked.
  • Hit the “Save” button.

Using a Hosting Panel

If you’d rather use a hosting panel such as CPanel, then inside of CPanel you’ll want to click on “File Manager”, which will now give you access to your files. You should now see a screen such as the one below:


Viewing Your Files


In this list we can see the /images/ folder, which is the exact folder we want to change the permissions of.

Choose to Modify Permissions


After you check the box that is next to /images/, click on “Change Permissions”.


Change Permissions

To learn more about changing and verifying permissions, please see the article within the Joomla documentation: