If you don't have the correct file permissions on your site, it can cause trouble when installing extensions or upgrading Joomla.

View Directory Permissions

Screenshot of directory permissions

If you are getting error messages or a blank white screen when you are attempting to install an extension or upgrade Joomla, the first thing you should do is view that all necessary folders are writable.

Joomla needs to access files or add files during upgrades and when installing extensions. If these folders can not be written to, the error messages appear or the installation or upgrade will stall.

Go to the System drop down menu in the Administrative Menu. Select System Information.

Click on the Directory Permissions tab.

You will see a list of the folders and some of the necessary files in your Joomla installation. There is a column with icons that indicate if the folder is Writable or Unwritable. You can not change the permissions here, but it does alert you to which folder may be causing a problem. It is most often the permissions on the configuration.php file, the log folder or the tmp folder, so scroll down to see the entire list.

How to change directory and file permissions

You need to be able to access your folders through an FTP program or the file manager with your hosting account. This access needs to allow you to change the permissions on folders and files. Having too high of a permission setting can harm the security of your Joomla website.

The recommended settings are:

  • 755 for directories
  • 644 for files

File permissions for configuration.php

With an FTP program, you may need to right click on the file name and select Change Permissions or File Permissions.

At your hosting service, there may be an icon along the top that allows you to change the permissions for the selected file.


 Incorrect path to the log or temp folders

If you changed the permission for the log or temp folders in your Joomla 3+ installation, but they are still showing as Unwritable, it could be that you have an incorrect path to the folders in the configuration. 

This will sometimes be the case when a site is moved from one folder to another on the host, or from a local computer to a hosting server.

In System -> Global Configuration in the System tab and the Server tab, be sure that the correct path is shown. If you can't get to the Administrative Menus for your Joomla Installation, you can edit the configuration.php file with a text editor. Look for the variables of:

  • public $log_path = "...";
  • public $tmp_path = "...";