Remotely Changing Multiple Linux File Permissions with FileZilla Software & Sites 18 JUL 2008

A large number of hosting companies exclusively run Linux-based servers, simply because they are cheaper to run and thereby allows the hosting company to offer more competitive hosting packages as a whole. Of course as a web developer, you are then stuck with Linux-specific Apache quirks, like filename case sensitivity for example, as well as the most probable scenario that you won’t have access to Microsoft’s extremely useful FrontPage Server Extensions which make managing a website just so much easier.

One of the major annoyances in hosting a website on a remote server is that you don’t have direct access to the server or its file system and as such need to do everything through the set of tools that the hosting company provides. The tools are all useful and such, but they do limit the amount of freedom you would have had should you have been physically hosting the site yourself…

…like when it comes to setting mass (and recursive) folder and file permissions for example.

Impossible if you are using the web-based tools (like cpanel) that your host might provide you with, but not that impossible if you use a good FTP client like FileZilla to handle all your file uploads and downloads believe it or not!

It turns out that FileZilla provides you with a nifty little extra functionality whereby you can set the file and folder permissions remotely on your linux-hosted FTP site. To do this, simple log into the site as you would normally do when uploading files to your site, and once the site is loaded, select the files and folders whose attributes you want to change.

Once the desired folder or files have been selected, right click and go to the “File Attributes…” menu option right at the bottom of the context menu that appears.


Clicking on that will bring up the following dialog, allowing you to set the permissions that you want to force upon your selection (note that if you include files in the selection, you won’t get the “Recurse into subdirectories” option set).


Make all of your desired attribute changes and the click on “Ok” to set FileZilla off, which will then happily apply your newly selected attributes to all the selected files and folders on the remote site.

See, couldn’t be easier! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.