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nginx 403 forbidden error when server static file under user home directory

nginx 403 Forbidden Error hosting in User Home Directory

resources

runtime environment

nginx -v
nginx version: nginx/1.0.15
uname -a
Linux ampedservice 2.6.32-279.el6.x86_64 #1 SMP Fri Jun 22 12:19:21 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
cat /proc/version 
Linux version 2.6.32-279.el6.x86_64 (mockbuild@c6b9.bsys.dev.centos.org) (gcc version 4.4.6 20120305 (Red Hat 4.4.6-4) (GCC) ) #1 SMP Fri Jun 22 12:19:21 UTC 2012
rake about
MANUAL_GC is enable ...
About your application's environment
Ruby version              1.9.3 (x86_64-linux)
RubyGems version          1.8.25
Rack version              1.4
Rails version             3.2.14
Action Pack version       3.2.14
Active Resource version   3.2.14
Action Mailer version     3.2.14
Active Support version    3.2.14
Application root          /home/gxdevelop/dev/ampedservice

how I config the application

$ cat /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
# For more information on configuration, see:
#   * Official English Documentation: http://nginx.org/en/docs/
#   * Official Russian Documentation: http://nginx.org/ru/docs/

user              nginx;
worker_processes  1;

error_log  /var/log/nginx/error.log;
#error_log  /var/log/nginx/error.log  notice;
#error_log  /var/log/nginx/error.log  info;

pid        /var/run/nginx.pid;


events {
    worker_connections  1024;
}


http {
    include       /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    default_type  application/octet-stream;

    log_format  main  '$remote_addr - $remote_user [$time_local] "$request" '
                      '$status $body_bytes_sent "$http_referer" '
                      '"$http_user_agent" "$http_x_forwarded_for"';

    access_log  /var/log/nginx/access.log  main;

    sendfile        on;
    #tcp_nopush     on;

    #keepalive_timeout  0;
    keepalive_timeout  65;

    #gzip  on;
    
    # Load config files from the /etc/nginx/conf.d directory
    # The default server is in conf.d/default.conf
    include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;

}

ampedservice.conf

upstream ampedservice_unicorn {
  server unix:/tmp/unicorn.ampedservice.sock fail_timeout=0;
  # server localhost:8888 max_fails=3 fail_timeout=5 weight=3;
  #server localhost:9999 max_fails=3 fail_timeout=5;
}

server {
  listen 80;# default deferred;
  server_name amped.guanxi.me;

  root /home/gxdevelop/dev/ampedservice/public;

  # individual nginx logs for this ampedservice vhost
  access_log  /var/log/nginx/ampedservice_access.log;
  error_log   /var/log/nginx/ampedservice_error.log;

  location ^~ /assets|ampedservice_assets/ {
    gzip_static on;
    expires max;
    add_header Cache-Control public;
  }


  try_files $uri/index.html $uri @unicorn;

  location @unicorn {
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
    proxy_redirect off;
    proxy_pass http://ampedservice_unicorn;
  }

  error_page 500 502 503 504 /500.html;
  client_max_body_size 4G;
  keepalive_timeout 10;
}

My first suspicion was that this was a permissisons problem. However, when I run ls -lha public/aboutuscn.html I see

-rw-rw-r-- 1 gxdevelop gxdevelop 1.8K Aug 10 18:12 /home/gxdevelop/dev/ampedservice/public/aboutuscn.html

which looks right to me? Even running chmod 777 /home/gxdevelop/dev/ampedservice/public/aboutuscn.html so that the permissions are

-rwxrwxrwx 1 gxdevelop gxdevelop 1.8K Aug 10 18:12 public/aboutuscn.html

does not help. /etc/init.d/nginx configtest does not produce any errors either and I'm sure the symlink in /etc/

nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

So I've been at this for a few hours and I'm now wondering what is so special about my user directory that I cannot serve anything inside of it? Ubuntu encrypts home directories these days? Could that be the problem? I also have this issue on an EC2 Ubuntu 12.04 instance (don't know if user directories are encrypted there)

The answer

Default User Home Directory Permissions

So it seems that the default permissions on user home directories in Ubuntu 12.04 is 700.** Nginx needs to have read permission the files that should be served AND have execute permission in each of the parent directories along the path from the root to the served files.**

You can give your user directory these permissions by running

chmod 701 user_home

You may also use 755, which is the default permission setting on the home directory on many systems.

The directories/files in your web root can belong to the www-data user or your regular personal user as long as the user/group that nginx runs as (as defined in nginx.conf) has READ permission on all files to be served and execute permission on all web root directories.

I just set all directories in my web root to be owned by my user account and have permissions 755 and I set all files to be served from the web root to have permissions 664 since these were the defaults on my machine.

Note on Converting Permission numbers to String Rep.

Ex. drwxr-x--x becomes 751.

Ignore the first character (d for directory, - for file, etc). The remaining 9 characters form a binary triplet where any non-dash character is a 1 and a dash is a 0.

So drwxr-x--x becomes rwxr-x--x 
becomes 111 101 001 
which is converted to a decimal 751

I needed a refresher on this when I was dealing with permissions.

@timrogers

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timrogers commented Dec 28, 2013

You are my hero. This saved me!

@mgoszcz2

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mgoszcz2 commented Mar 12, 2014

Thank you so much!

@shivanshuag

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shivanshuag commented Mar 27, 2014

This helped me save a lot of time. Thank you

@kizashi1122

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kizashi1122 commented Apr 23, 2014

This helps me a lot.
It took a couple of hours already :-)

@shubhendusaurabh

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shubhendusaurabh commented Sep 3, 2014

saved the day for me

@crazyyi

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crazyyi commented Dec 2, 2014

I have spent hours on this and I am so tired. But your article, out of so many other bullshits on Google results, finally gets me out of the darkness. Thank you so much!

@tiagoluzpoa

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tiagoluzpoa commented Feb 17, 2015

Don't forget to disable SELINUX on CentOS!

vim /etc/selinux/config

and set:

SELINUX=disabled

@bleakwood

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bleakwood commented Mar 2, 2015

Oh my god I almost went nuts for this. Thank you so much :)

@hanhpv

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hanhpv commented Sep 1, 2015

Saved my day. Thanks a lot 👍 😄

@demonshreder

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demonshreder commented Feb 17, 2016

Thanks

@RyuuZaky

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RyuuZaky commented Mar 21, 2016

You're my hero, thanks bro

@rashemihmih

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rashemihmih commented Apr 24, 2016

Thank you a lot!

@liamzebedee

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liamzebedee commented Jul 7, 2016

+1 till infinity!

@iamsebastian

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iamsebastian commented Aug 24, 2016

Never thought about the restricted access to the home directory. Glad, I've found this article. Thank you.

@toughrogrammer

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toughrogrammer commented Aug 28, 2016

It's good!

@Adidi

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Adidi commented Oct 6, 2016

Thank you. very helpful !

@bcahya

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bcahya commented Nov 12, 2016

Thank you. It helps us

@alizowghi

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alizowghi commented Jan 9, 2017

Thank you so much :)

@mawaldne-surge

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mawaldne-surge commented Feb 2, 2017

Thank you!

@ghost

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ghost commented Apr 18, 2017

You saved my day. Works like a charm! In my case chmod 755 user_home.

@Motordread

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Motordread commented May 15, 2017

Awesome, buddy, 4 hours of searching and answer was so easy. You also my hero :)

@fabioam

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fabioam commented Jun 5, 2017

Thanks! Works for me also in Manjaro XFCE Edition (17.0.1)

@FrankFang

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FrankFang commented Aug 13, 2017

Life saver!

@lucascasotti

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lucascasotti commented Aug 14, 2017

thank you, i changed application folder location.

@bsienn

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bsienn commented Sep 7, 2017

On Fedora 26 along with permison which I set to 701, I had to disable SELINUX as well with sudo setenforce 0

@teamlyzer

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teamlyzer commented Sep 30, 2017

+1 perfect

@Tutorgaming

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Tutorgaming commented Nov 11, 2017

This is the light !!!!
YOU SAVE ME ! :) +1

@artakvg

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artakvg commented Feb 2, 2018

Wasted half day on this. Thx.

@tafid

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tafid commented Feb 2, 2018

+1 thank you!

@landowark

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landowark commented Feb 19, 2018

Yup!

@scutmarx

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scutmarx commented May 27, 2018

thank you! Don't forget to diable the selinux.

@MohamedHajr

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MohamedHajr commented Sep 11, 2018

bruh, thank you so much for this!

@llazzaro

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llazzaro commented Sep 19, 2018

DO NOT DISABLE SE LINUX!!

You need to use the command chcon to allow http.

the command is:

chcon -Rt httpd_sys_content_t /var/www/app/

I read the solution of the nginx return 403 error even when permission is correct here

@Tamachandesu

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Tamachandesu commented Dec 1, 2018

THANK YOU SOO MUCH

@nanoguo

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nanoguo commented Dec 4, 2018

DO NOT DISABLE SE LINUX!!

You need to use the command chcon to allow http.

the command is:

chcon -Rt httpd_sys_content_t /var/www/app/

I read the solution of the nginx return 403 error even when permission is correct here

thanks

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