I've created a jail to host my webserver/blog, but when attempting to build any port, I consistently get the message "portsnap: Directory is not writable: /usr/ports".

Attached is a screen capture of my console outputs attempting to portsnap fetch/extract/update console screen cap

I'm not certain how to deal with this. installing from pkg works, but I want ports so that I can build my own binaries (also, to understand what the heck is going on and how to resolve it).

  • The easy answer is "Don't build ports in a Jail". Build the package on the base system, or using Poudriere. Then install the packages you built in the jail.
    – Chris S
    Nov 1, 2014 at 15:06
  • Interesting. How would you go about that? Wouldn't that also be possible by mounting ports inside the jail, permitting access to the build? Nov 1, 2014 at 15:13
  • In the port's directory make package and the package will be dumped in /usr/ports/packages/. Setting up and using Poudriere isn't very hard either, and makes rebuilding packages for updates easier.
    – Chris S
    Nov 1, 2014 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


The best idea - don't build packages in jail.

You could use pkg , or pkgng

But, if you want, create this dir

mkdir /usr/ports

And if its needed you could change permissions

chmod ... /usr/ports

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