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today i logged in to find i can't even cd into /var/ directory. I've checked that ownership and it's correct.

/var/www/ is inaccessible from the web browser. it says 403 forbidden.

error log shows

/var/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable
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Please post more details, e.g. the output of ls -ld /var /var/www. –  joschi Aug 7 '10 at 6:27
    
You're superuser, you see var, but you can't cd into it? Is it mounted on a separate drive? Perhaps you have a failed disk? –  medina Aug 7 '10 at 11:55
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1 Answer

Try

chmod 501 /var

I have had the same issue with my home dir

Permission denied: /var/www/username/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable

All my sites are in the /var/www/username/www So the solution was

chmod 501 /var/www/username
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