The directory I want to be hidden completely from users (site visitors) is this:

drwx------ 2 apache apache 4096 Aug 18 19:01 token

However, if I point my browser to the token directory, I can see every file in the directory and open them. What am I missing here?

I only want apache (my server) to be able to interact with this folder, as there's a cron job that requires it to have permission to read, write, and execute. Other than that, there's no need for any one or any thing to access the directory.

  • 1
    Of course you can read it. Apache has full access to the directory! Aug 20, 2015 at 0:52
  • That's what I figured, but not sure how to manage this. If I give permission to another user, then my scripts don't run correctly and the cron doesn't work. How can I get the best of both?
    – jonmrich
    Aug 20, 2015 at 0:54

1 Answer 1


From the sound of it your web server is creating a directory listing for that directory and you don't want it to.

Disable Indexes for that directory in the Apache configuration, for example:

<Directory /path/to/directory>
  Options -Indexes

Or search your apache configuration where +Indexes is set and remove it if you don't want directory listing enabled at all.

For more information refer to the Apache HTTPD documentation:


If you want to completely disable interaction with that folder from outside of the system you can use the access control directives to restrict access. For example:

<Directory /path/to/directory>
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all
  Allow from localhost

More information on access control:


  • 1
    Thanks! Didn't know this was a thing, but it solved my problem perfectly.
    – jonmrich
    Aug 20, 2015 at 1:37
  • 1
    This additional edit regarding denying all interactions from outside is actually exactly what I needed, but only realized it until I tested executing a file in that directory. I was hiding the index, but if you guessed a file, you could execute it. This prevents all of that. Thanks for the additional info.
    – jonmrich
    Aug 20, 2015 at 14:59
  • Any thoughts on advantages and disadvantages of this approach compared to removing read permission on the directory itself?
    – kasperd
    Aug 21, 2015 at 15:36
  • It depends on the use case. If the owner of the directory needs to be able to do a listing to find files (e.g. php or cgi script) to function setting mode 331 (-wx-wx--x) would break that. Plus if the permissions are inadvertently changed who knows how long it'll remain open for all to see before you catch it.
    – Gene
    Aug 21, 2015 at 16:08

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