I am trying to set up my own web server to learn a bit more about server admin.

I have decided that I want to serve each sites files from a public_html folder inside the users /home directory.

I have installed Nginx, edited the nginx.conf and changed the username / group to nginx.

I have added a new user for the new site and changed the vhosts file to look like so;

server {
    listen         80;
    listen         [::]:80;
    server_name    website.com www.website.com;
    root           /home/website/public_html;
    index          index.html index.htm index.php;

    location / {
      try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

    location ~* \.php$ {
    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        include fastcgi_params;

But when I try and get to the site, it returns a 404 Not Found.

When I check the error log, I am seeing the following errors;

2019/01/02 19:49:45 [crit] 18248#0: *1 stat() "/home/website/public_html/" failed (13: Permission denied)

Any chance someone has come across this before and could tell me how to handle it?

I have had a look around and saw some posts about getenforce, but when i run it, it says Disabled.

I am using CentOS7 if that makes any difference.


  • 1
  • @JennyD .. Im using nginx not Apache
    – Chris
    Jan 2, 2019 at 10:45
  • 1
    You need the same basic set of permissions regardless of which webserver you're running. Obviously you need to replace the username apache with whatever username nginx is running under.
    – Jenny D
    Jan 2, 2019 at 11:10
  • No, that didn't work ... Im still getting the exact same errors
    – Chris
    Jan 2, 2019 at 11:22
  • Don't serve web sites from user home directories, for a wide variety of reasons. Jan 2, 2019 at 14:04

4 Answers 4


Following the guide from this website did it for me (as root):

setsebool -P httpd_enable_homedirs 1
setenforce 0
systemctl restart nginx
systemctl daemon-reload

It is your home directory permission that is denying access to nginx.


ls -ld /home/website


setfacl -R -m u:nginx:rwx /home/website


chown -R nginx:nginx /home/website
chmod 655 /home/website
  • 1
    default user for nginx is www-data so it's likely going to need to be sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /home/website Jan 2, 2019 at 12:13
  • @samayres1992 user created for centos/rhel is 'nginx'
    – JKhan
    Jan 12, 2019 at 8:16
  • @TedKhi Samayres is right though. Unless you also explain that you need to change the default user that nginx runs as by updating /etc/nginx/nginx.conf to change the user www-data line to read user nginx instead, then the above would not work (unless they had already done that).
    – James
    Jan 13, 2020 at 14:49
  • worked for me. I had to do 777 instead of 655. Thanks
    – Renil Babu
    Apr 14, 2020 at 13:36
  • 3
    @RenilBabu Using 777 is a bad idea - that means ANYONE can write to you directory. Use 755 instead
    – TetraDev
    Oct 25, 2020 at 20:47

The solution for me was to set the /home/user/public_html permissions to 755. By default, it was being created with 751 permissions. This was blocking the nginx user from being able to 'read' it. Certain web hosting panels like VestaCP, CPanel, and others may inadvertently do this when adding a new site through their interface.

Solution: sudo chmod 755 ~/public_html (adjust path to your public_html folder)


Better fix: ls -Z myFile.js will show the SELinux context: -rw-r--r--. nginx nginx unconfined_u:object_r:user_home_t:s0 myFile.js Then, use chcon -v --type=httpd_sys_content_t myFile to change the SELinux content. I did it with Andrew Richard Miller's answer. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/25774999/nginx-stat-failed-13-permission-denied#comment84000833_30897591

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.