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Linux ls and chown commands


Staff member
If you're experiencing an issue where you cannot upgrade your XenForo software due to a "The files are not writable" error message, this is typically a situation where the directories and files are not owned by the correct user and group.

To check the user and group where your XenForo is installed do this:

1. Go to the terminal of your server.
2. Navigate to the directory your XenForo is installed.
3. Type the following:

ls -al

You should see something like this:


Notice how the third and fourth column indicate xf2addons, this represents the user and group on my server.
The problem I often see is the User or Group will be owned by "root" and this will cause problems when you try to upgrade the XenForo software. To fix this issue you use a command called chown.

Warning: usng the chown command incorrectly can break your server.


chown -R xf2addons:xf2addons /home/xf2addons/public_html
Hi Andy,

This was really helpful -- I've been meaning to do this for a while on my own forum. I had most of my forum-related files owned by "root" -- I changed this to my normal day to day admin account. The group was already OK. So when the next XF update comes, I'll see if the "one-click" function finally works for me.

Thanks for pushing me over the edge to do this :)

A good way of knowing which is the correct user and group is to navigate to the data/attachments/0 directory and do the ls -l command.
Hi Gerry,

So in your case run the chown -R command like this:

chown -R 500eadmin:500eadmin /var/www/html/500eadmin/public_html/forums