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The correct and secure setup of the underlying server is an essential prerequisite for a secure web application. Well-considered access permissions on files and directories are an important part of this strategy. However, too strict permissions may stop TYPO3 CMS from working properly and/or restrict TYPO3 integrators or editors from using all features of the CMS. The official TYPO3 Installation and Upgrade Guide provides further information about the install procedure.
We do not need to mention that only privileged system users should have read/write access to files and directories inside the web root. In most cases these are only users such as “root” and the user, that the web server runs as (e.g. “www-data”). On some systems (e.g. shared hosting environments), the web server user can be a specific user, depending on the system configuration.
An important security measure for systems on which multiple users run their websites (e.g. various clients on a shared server) is to ensure that one user cannot access files in another client’s web root. This server misconfiguration of file/directory permissions may occur if all virtual hosts run as the same user, for example the default web server user. The risk with this setup is, that a script on another virtual host includes files from the TYPO3 instance or writes or manipulates files. The TYPO3 configuration file “LocalConfiguration.php”, which contains sensitive data, would be a typical example.
Besides the strict separation between multiple virtual hosts, it is possible to revoke any write permissions for the web server user (e.g. www-data) to the TYPO3 CMS source directory in general. In other words: only allow write access to resources, the web server user requires to have write access for, such as “fileadmin”, “typo3conf”, “typo3temp” and “uploads”.
On UNIX/Linux based systems, a secure configuration can be achieved by setting the owner and group of directories and files correctly, as well as their specific access rights (read/write/execute). Even if users need write access to the “fileadmin” directory (besides the web server user), this can be technically achieved.
It is not recommended to allow TYPO3 editors and other unprivileged users FTP, SFTP, SSH, WebDAV, etc. access to the web server’s root directory or any sub-directory of it. See chapter “Other services” below for further explanations.