Apache Permission Denied on Mac OSX Lion

I’ve just upgraded to OSX Lion and had some trouble getting Apache to load a vhost. I kept getting a 403 permission denied error, but all my vhosts had the correct permission directives set.

Now by default your webserver document root is located in /Library/WebServer/Documents. I don’t really like that for my local machine, I’d rather store web files under my user account. Just tends to make things easier.

However…if you’re getting a 403 error, and something like this in your apache error log (/var/log/apache2/error_log):

[Wed Jun 06 00:36:02 2012] [crit] [client] (13)Permission denied: /Users/[username]/Documents/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable

Then check your directory permissions. The interesting thing is that I don’t have an .htaccess file in my Documents directory. Even adding one did nothing, so I’m not quite sure why Apache was complaining about this.

The answer was simple, I didn’t have “group” read or execute permissions on the Documents directory, once I ran a chmod…everything started working ok :)

chmod 755 Documents

The actual path to my site was /Users/[username]/Documents/workspaces/sitename/htdocs, but still…without the requisite permissions on the Documents folder Apache couldn’t access the vhost.