How to Fix the 'File not found.' error in Caddy

How to Fix the 'File not found.' error in Caddy

Sunday - November 29, 2020

Caddy server is INCREDIBLY awesome. My main use for it as of late is as a development environment. PHP (wordpress) development environments are a pain to set up and this makes my job so much easier. I don’t need any sort of containers or virtual machines to get up a nice and reliable environment. And it’s configuration is dead easy. You can have a working Wordpress site in a few lines of code.

Anyhow, I have two separate Arch Linux computers, nearly identical. My Caddy project worked just fine on one computer. On the other, I kept getting the “File not found.” message in the browser.

The Solution!

It turns out that this was a php-fpm problem. The “user” that the php-fpm runs under does not have permission to view files in your project directory. There are two solutions.

You have to find your www.conf. It will vary from distro to distro. Mine was at /etc/php/php-fpm.d/www.conf.

In it, you’ll find a section that looks like this:

; Unix user/group of processes
; Note: The user is mandatory. If the group is not set, the default user's group
;       will be used.
user = http
group = http

As you can see, the user and group of the php-fpm process is http.

You can also confirm this by running ps u | grep php-fpm. This returned four lines and two of them were as follows:

http       17244  0.0  0.1  85284  9372 ?        S    16:11   0:00 php-fpm: pool www
http       17245  0.0  0.1  85284  9372 ?        S    16:11   0:00 php-fpm: pool www

The first word of each line is the user that owns the process. As you can see it’s http as expected.

The first idea I had (which worked) was to change the user of the process in www.conf to my own user of the computer.

This idea got dumber and dumber the more I thought about it. This means any PHP code I execute has full read and write permission on all of my most important files. For that reason, go to Solution #2.

Solution #2: Read (and optionally, write) Permissions

So, now we know that php-fpm is running as the user http and the group http.

If all you want is read permissions and you don’t care about providing ownership to the php-fpm process, you just need read privileges on your project directory and execution privileges on your parent directories.

For example, I had this project directory: /home/doug/Code/Wordpress/my_project.

I first had to make sure ‘other’ execution privilege was enabled for the directories /home/, /home/doug, /home/doug/Code, and /home/doug/Code/Wordpress. See this answer for an explanation.

You can add ‘other’ execution privilege with the command chmod o+x {directory}. I wouldn’t recommend using chmod’s -r (recursive) flag for this.

Now, you just need read privilege on your project directory. Optionally ‘other’ executive privilege on directories if it is not enabled by default.

Run: chmod -r o+r {directory}

If you want write privileges, you should provide ownership of the folder to the group or user and provide group or user write permissions to that directory.


chmod -R g+w {project directory}  # Allows users in the directory's group to write
chown -R :http {project directory} # Provides ownership of the directory to the 'http' group.

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