How to fix PHP upload file inherit permissions error using Windows IIS Server

If you’re like me, and you use Windows IIS, you’ve spent hours trying to figure out why your uploaded file won’t inherit the permissions needed to display correctly.  Luckily, the answer is extremely easy and something most people would have never thought of.

The problem only happens when you use PHP to upload a file.  When you upload a file, PHP sends the file to a temporary directory on the hard drive (for me it is C:\Windows\Temp) and then copies it over to it’s intended directory.  Once the file has landed in the temporary directory, it is assigned the permissions of that directory. The problem is when Windows copies that file, it keeps the temporary directory’s permissions and doesn’t inherit your web directory’s permissions.

The easiest way to fix this problem is to add to the temporary directory your intended web directory’s permissions.  There’s no need to erase the permissions already in the temporary directory, just add the web directory’s permissions to them. In other words, follow these steps

  1. To change the permissions of your temporary upload directory, find the “upload_tmp_dir” in your php.ini file.
  2. Set it to the directory of your choosing (outside your web folders of course) or leave it at default (for me it is C:\Windows\Temp).
  3. Browse to this folder and add the permissions of your web folders to it.

That’s it!  As you can see, its really simple and just a little trick the guys at PHP forgot to tell us.

And just so you know, if the two folders were on separate drives, you wouldn’t have this problem, and thus wouldn’t be reading this.

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104 Comments so far »

  1. Ben said

    am October 22 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    Thanks! That makes sense but would have taken much longer to find if you hadn’t provided this explanation.

  2. Mike said

    am December 24 2008 @ 2:25 pm

    Thank you very much for this solution, how did you find this out?
    Once again, a very big thank you.

  3. Garon said

    am December 24 2008 @ 3:41 pm

    Hours and hours of searching. Glad I could help!

  4. Jason said

    am May 19 2009 @ 1:30 pm

    Thank you very much. I was going crazy trying to figure this out. The funny thing is that this doesn’t happen with ASP.Net, so I was a bit baffled, I assumed the upload mechanism would be the same.

    I’ll be linking to this article from my blog.

  5. Jim said

    am May 24 2009 @ 12:52 pm


    This was killing me.

  6. Juan Carlos Rois said

    am July 17 2009 @ 1:05 pm

    Thanks a lot, I was about to loose it with this issue. I have a question though.
    Your solution makes total sense, but what if you are not in control of the server and you don’t have access to the php.ini file.
    I’m only asking because I could fix the issue just as you advice, except that the site is hosted by a third party company that probably won’t allow this changes or won’t even consider allowing anything to happen outside the root folder that your site is confined to.


    Juan Carlos

  7. Garon said

    am July 20 2009 @ 1:18 pm

    Juan, if your host is using Windows, just ask your host to add IIS permissions to the temporary PHP folder. That’s all I know to tell you to do.

  8. Jon Shaw said

    am January 29 2010 @ 7:54 am

    Thank you for this.

    My upload was doing a thumbnail and main photo. The thumbnail photo got the correct permissions, but not the main photo, which was strange (they were in different directories). Only wasted 2 hours, not loads more thanks to this.

  9. Brian said

    am January 30 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    Thank God I didn’t spend hours on it, this saved me a lot of time. Thanks!

  10. Jon Kragh said

    am February 16 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    Another thank you!

    A big help!

  11. Ben said

    am February 24 2010 @ 5:00 am


    I was going crazy about this PHP/IIS-upload behaviour.

    Finally stumbled upon this page and indeed, didn’t think about the temp directories.

    I owe you one.


  12. Tom said

    am April 15 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    You wrote:

    “The easiest way to fix this problem is to add to the temporary directory your intended web directory’s permissions.”

    How is this done exactly?!
    Thank you! :)

  13. Garon said

    am April 25 2010 @ 4:54 pm

    Basically, find your temp directory (look in your php.ini) and right click on it and go to the security tab. Open up another explorer window and right click on your IIS web folder and under the security tab, make them look the same (adding the same users/groups, etc). Hope this helps.

  14. phpcmsworks said

    am May 27 2010 @ 12:35 am

    Hi ,
    I tried to assign and configure permission to the temp directory but still i am facing error.

    I changed the my tmp directory to D:\tmp location

    Can anyone please explain the configuration of the permission to upload a file in IIS server.

    I am using IIS server 5.1 version.

    Any suggestion to solve my problem.


  15. Garon said

    am May 27 2010 @ 6:19 am

    I’ve read that if you change your temp directory to a different drive, it will inherit the correct permissions when it copies the files over to your IIS directory. To give your temp directory the right permissions, all you do is add modify rights to the IUSR_ user. In some cases, I’ve also had to give modify rights to the IIS_WPG user as well, but you can play with it and see for yourself. That should take care of it.

  16. phpcmsworks said

    am June 1 2010 @ 5:53 am

    Hi Garon,
    Thanks a lot for your reply …
    I tried all possibility but still i am unable to resolve my problem.

    These are list of changes i made for uploading function:
    1)In php.ini file, i modified upload_tmp_dir=”C:/Inetpub/tmp” & set permission to the tmp folder by right click on the folder and select properties items under that i enable write,read,execute option
    2)I set IUSR_MachineName write,read,execute permissions
    3)I set default website folder write,read,execute permissions

    Please let me know if i made any wrong configuration &it would be great help for me.


  17. Garon said

    am June 1 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    First of all, make sure PHP recognizes the new tmp directory. Put this code in a .php file < ?php phpinfo(); ?>, scroll down to the upload_tmp_dir and make sure it matches what you think it does. Once you’ve verified that, add the IIS_WPG user and give him the right permissions. If all else fails, add the Everyone user to all folders involved. If that still doesn’t work, perhaps its a bug in IIS 5.1 (I’m using 6.0). Just to be clear, you are adding IUSR_MachineName to the tmp directory with the right permissions, right?

  18. phpcmsworks said

    am June 2 2010 @ 6:18 am

    Hi Garon,
    Thanks alot i got the soloution…

    I faced problem due the permissions iis user only ,but my system is configured in LAN network so if i set permission to the IUSR_Machinename user also it is overrides by main administrator.

    So i create a new user to the my system with full permission and follow above setting in the blog.

    There will not be any problem if ur machine is local system & follow above setting for the user.

    Thank again Gardon.


  19. Hoborg said

    am July 7 2010 @ 5:17 am

    I’m using XAMPP and I had this problem with uploaded files… i found the temp directory of xampp in C:\xampp\php\php.ini ‘s upload_tmp_dir and it was C:\xampp\tmp\ ; and now everything is working great withou even 1 problem…

    Thank You A Lot A Lot Much More Than A Lot…

    I don’t know how to thank you for your helpful post… ;’)

  20. Michael Walsh said

    am August 27 2010 @ 3:19 am

    Massive thank you! That has resolved the problem.

  21. WordPress URL Rewrite Module Error 500.50 on IIS7 » said

    am October 8 2010 @ 2:13 am

    […] images in your blog posts, you will probably encounter this error. The cause, as detailed here and here, is a permissions problem. When you upload files using PHP they are placed into a temporary […]

  22. mitja.GTI said

    am October 13 2010 @ 6:08 pm

    OMG! You have saved my life :)

  23. Dennis said

    am October 14 2010 @ 12:52 am

    This exactly what I needed. However, just a note, in php 5.3, there are 2 instances of upload_tmp_dir in php.ini, and you need to change them both (and possibly restart the server ( i needed to for iis7.5)) for this to work.

  24. Moodle Uploaded File Permissions Issues said

    am November 30 2010 @ 10:28 pm

    […] the two folders were on separate drives, you wouldn’t have this problem…” (How to fix PHP upload file inherit permissions error using Windows IIS Server | HowYouDo.Info) I’ve moved the temp directory (in PHP.ini) from D:temp (D: drive is where moodledata […]

  25. Wordpress Windows 2008 Web Server R2 IIS 7.5 setup – Amixa Blog - Professional Web Site Design Experts said

    am January 7 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    […] […]

  26. Software Development said

    am February 9 2011 @ 5:08 am

    Awesome post. after a long time i had read an awesome written post.

  27. Dermot Ryan said

    am February 11 2011 @ 7:39 am

    Here is an even simpler solution:
    Use copy() instead of move_uploaded_file().
    Copy appears to reset the permissions while move uploaded retains them!

  28. wilson said

    am April 6 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Thanks. This did it for me!

  29. Dave in Dallas said

    am April 7 2011 @ 8:40 pm

    Garon, you rock! Our WordPress/PHP permissions were not quite right after a server restore from crash, but this fixed our biggest problem. REALLY appreciate it!

  30. Bartek Poland said

    am April 28 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    Thank you :)

  31. IIS WordPress images 500 error – Amixa Blog - Professional Web Site Design Experts said

    am April 29 2011 @ 1:19 pm

    […] […]

  32. Jim Hainsworth said

    am May 3 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    This was driving me crazy. We had it all working then the server had a power failure and the upload error returned.
    Still not sure why that happened but finally with your blog was able to get the PHP to work on the 2008 R2 server running IIS 7.5. Odd thing was when it workied the first time we didn’t need the IIS_WPG user, now that users permissions has fixed it.

  33. Jim Hainsworth said

    am May 6 2011 @ 8:59 am

    I guess I was premature in the congratulations.
    I am still getting the error.
    There is a reference to needing to add the temp folder in two places, can anybody tell me where the second config file is?
    I have added the silverstripe-cache upload_tmp_dir variable to the _config.php in my sites folder.

  34. Lee said

    am May 26 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    You learn something new everyday 😛

    As an developer some php packages have been confusing me with this damn issue!

  35. Elena Webba said

    am May 31 2011 @ 1:46 am

    thank you!
    You save my life :)
    I can finish my blog now, anch tomorrow I can go to the beach!

  36. Richard said

    am June 21 2011 @ 7:07 am

    you are divine

  37. Naval Kishore said

    am June 30 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    Thank you very much to all for sharing experiences, efforts and answers. I am using IIS 7.5, PHP 3.5.6 and MySQL 5.5.

  38. student said

    am June 30 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    thanks a lot and it should be better if you provide a video

    i think you saved my life

  39. Srinaath said

    am August 3 2011 @ 8:43 am

    u r awsum

  40. Diogo Raminhos said

    am October 28 2011 @ 4:13 am

    I subscribe to Ben’s words:
    “THANKS A LOT!!!
    THANKS A LOT!!!”

    I was getting crazy with the 500 error page on each upload…

  41. Fabiano Alves said

    am December 2 2011 @ 6:49 am

    You rock man!!!
    Thanks!!! 😀

  42. Virginia said

    am December 14 2011 @ 11:03 am

    I am super glad I found this thread – I was getting that 500 error with uploading PDFs through Joomla’s media manager on an IIS7.5 install, and matching the permissions on my web directory and temp directory completely fixed the problem. Thanks!

  43. Easier solution said

    am February 3 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Rather than muck around with permissions – agree with Dermot – use copy() rather than move_uploaded_file(). I’m running Apache on Windows and it worked perfectly for me.

  44. Abhi said

    am February 24 2012 @ 8:30 am

    Great man !
    God bless U !
    Tnx a ton

  45. sb said

    am March 1 2012 @ 5:50 am


  46. jake said

    am March 23 2012 @ 10:07 am

    bless you.

  47. dave said

    am April 17 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  48. Tom Powley said

    am April 26 2012 @ 4:23 am

    Thank You!!! You saved our schools website!

    I was pulling my hair out on this one…

    I found useful info from Joomla docs regarding setting the website’s directory and file system permissions correctly on IIS:

    This fixed some issues but uploading files and trying to view them still caused an error, after looking into the file permissions on the uploaded files I found the permission were not being pick up, after a bit of searching on the web I found this page. I set the correct permissions on the C:\Windows\Temp folder, re-uploaded a document and everything now works perfectly.
    Once again… A Huge Thank You!

  49. Manender SIngh said

    am May 16 2012 @ 7:19 am

    Thanks a ton…… u r great :)

  50. PordWress said

    am June 15 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    This can also happen if you end up (accidentally or otherwise) with a improper/incompledte copy of a PHP.INI file in your application’s root folder.

    I had one that I was using in my live environment to set some increased upload max values, that got downloaded into my Localhost/application folder. This proceed to trump my local server’s PHP.INI file, and suddenly all images uploaded were missing permissions.

    Simply remove the incorrect PHP.INI, go to RUN > IISREST and you should be back in business.

  51. PordWress said

    am June 15 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    forgive the typos…

    that should be ” GO > RUN > IISRESET ” above…

  52. Sameera said

    am June 29 2012 @ 2:18 am

    Thanks a lot!!!
    You saved my life…

  53. Balwant said

    am August 15 2012 @ 8:41 am

    Thanks a lots !!
    cheers mate!!!

  54. GOKUL said

    am August 17 2012 @ 9:37 am


  55. KEv said

    am August 23 2012 @ 6:52 pm

    It’s amazing this still applies. My sites were working perfectly – I was oblivious. Then boom! This solution worked like a charm. With WordPress I needed to reload the Media Library (download and upload as regenerate scripts did not work for me). A small price to pay after hours of fiddling with IIS7. Thanks Garon!

  56. Annie said

    am September 4 2012 @ 6:09 am

    Great….!!! Thanku you…

  57. Annie said

    am September 4 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    Thank you for this valuable information

  58. Annie said

    am September 5 2012 @ 12:13 am

    Once again Thank youuuuuuuuuu

  59. Brandon Johnson said

    am September 17 2012 @ 9:06 am

    i love you man! this fixed the problem!

  60. Pete said

    am October 8 2012 @ 10:46 am

    Finally, a solution! Was starting to think it’s a bug and even put a permission change log on the folder to trap the crook.

    Thanks a lot!

  61. diditho said

    am October 12 2012 @ 3:03 am

    Thakyou, it’s works!

  62. Krishna said

    am November 1 2012 @ 3:12 am

    Thanks a lot. It solved my problem by configuring in php.ini file.


  63. ZeusAFK said

    am December 5 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    That cant solve my problem because Im using a web hosting service and cant modify permissions, and open_basedir is set to my vhost folder and cant access to c:/windows/temp. need help :S

  64. Garon said

    am December 5 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    See what your “upload_tmp_dir” from your php.ini file is and that’s the folder that the permissions need to be changed on. If you don’t have access to it, just ask your hosting service to modify it and they shouldn’t have a problem doing that for you. If you do, there’s always

  65. thelearne said

    am January 24 2013 @ 11:16 am

    Thanks a lot !!!

  66. ian said

    am March 6 2013 @ 6:24 am

    Strange, i followed the instructions, changed the upload directory to C:\temp and added permissions. I uploaded 1 file and it worked. Tried a asecodn and back to error no permissions.

  67. Garon said

    am March 6 2013 @ 8:39 am

    Create a php file with this in it: < ? phpinfo(); ?>. Now see if it shows the “upload_tmp_dir” variable is where you think it is, even make sure there’s only one. Also check to make sure you’re using the right “user” to assign the permissions to. If using Windows 7/IIS 7, it’s the IUSR that should get the write permissions. You may also want to change it back to the original directory as IIS may not recognize the new directory you created. Just some things to try.

  68. fabiop said

    am April 8 2013 @ 9:22 am

    Thanks, this was subtle and pretty hard to discover.. kudos to you!

  69. Alan said

    am July 4 2013 @ 5:35 am

    Legend, good job, solved the issue for Joomla too.

  70. Ben Buhagiar said

    am July 22 2013 @ 5:55 am

    This would work if the server is available or if you are running one instance of joomla on the server. In our case we have access to the server but we have multiple instances of joomla running on the server.

    Another easy fix is to copy instead of update like Dermot Ryan said.


    Go to components\com_attachments\helper.php

    Change this line:
    if (JFile::update($_FILES[‘upload’][‘tmp_name’], $filename_sys)) {

    to this:
    if (JFile::copy($_FILES[‘upload’][‘tmp_name’], $filename_sys)) {

    i.e. change update to copy.
    We tried it here and worked 100%, when you copy the file it takes the permissions of the destination.


  71. Joni Valencia said

    am August 15 2013 @ 11:33 pm

    Thanks A lot. My problem has been solved thanks for your post :-). my set temp file has no access for IIS user. it didn’t allowed the user to take any changes in the folder. IT realy a big help.

  72. Murali said

    am September 26 2013 @ 1:53 am

    Thanks man! I was so mad i wanted to reinstall my IIS. Lucky saw your posting just in time! Thanks again!

  73. Stuart said

    am September 29 2013 @ 11:02 pm

    You are a legend!!

  74. Pramod said

    am October 7 2013 @ 11:05 pm

    Thanks Garon. It helps me alot.

  75. Nick said

    am August 10 2014 @ 7:20 pm

    This saved me hours of frustration. Thank you!

  76. Okram Somorjit Singh said

    am August 22 2014 @ 6:00 am

    Thanks alot. I was stuck on this problem for 2 days.

  77. Joe Pantel The Comedian said

    am September 1 2014 @ 11:29 am

    Joe Pantel The Comedian

    How to fix PHP upload file inherit permissions error using Windows IIS Server | HowYouDo.Info

  78. John Winner said

    am October 13 2014 @ 10:55 am

    You saved me!
    Thank you!

  79. Noe said

    am October 28 2014 @ 2:32 am

    Thanks for this, it really works

  80. apsar said

    am October 28 2014 @ 6:18 am

    thanks it helped alot :)

  81. Daniel said

    am November 6 2014 @ 7:31 pm

    I thought I would never find and answer to such particular and specific problem. Keep up the amazing work!!!

  82. Amoako said

    am November 16 2014 @ 8:55 pm

    Thanks so much, it is really working. Keep it up for good work.

  83. sagar said

    am November 25 2014 @ 6:33 am

    Thanks for help.It’s working.Nice share.Really thanks again.

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  85. Azhar Ali Buttar said

    am December 1 2014 @ 2:26 am


    Thanks, you really saved my day

  86. Trust said

    am December 3 2014 @ 10:06 am

    You just saved me a headache. i have been battling with this all day. i am running laravel 4.2 on IIS. I thought it was a laravel issue initially. i searched every where but couldn’t find any answer. i even saw open questions on this at stackoverflow. But when changed my search from laravel specific to php i found your simple logical solution. while reading the answer i just believed its the solution!! Thanks so much. You have made my day!!!

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  89. PaulH said

    am January 9 2015 @ 7:51 am

    Thank you for this. It solved the issue we’d been struggling with for a few days.

  90. Praveen said

    am January 27 2015 @ 1:47 pm

    Thank you very much!

    I was stuck with this above a week, it solved the issue thanks a lot.

  91. Erick Al said

    am January 29 2015 @ 1:12 pm

    Thanks a lot !!!

  92. Hemant said

    am February 3 2015 @ 1:21 am

    I also Get this problem,how can i solve it

  93. TAUFIQ ALIAS said

    am February 5 2015 @ 9:55 pm

    AWESOME!! TQ!!

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  95. Prokopi said

    am April 4 2015 @ 8:08 am

    Thank you!!!

  96. How To Upload Files To Host Server | Saitat Host said

    am July 17 2015 @ 7:05 am

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  97. Accuraty said

    am August 11 2015 @ 3:31 pm

    Thank you. 5 years later, I cannot thank you enough for this post.

    One thing… this is a typical Windows NTFS permissions issue related to COPY vs. MOVE. Someone mentioned this above in the comments. So… I do believe a better solution would be to change the upload code (or options/settings if they exist) in WordPress to actually do a Copy and then delete the file in the temp folder. Yes, Move technically does the same thing, but it really doesn’t. Move KEEPS the permissions from the source and Copy APPLIES the permissions of the destination folder to everything you copy in to it.

    Does anyone know enough about WordPress to safely make these kinds of code changes?

  98. Amol said

    am September 24 2015 @ 11:49 pm

    thnx a lot!

  99. Rajan said

    am October 6 2015 @ 6:07 pm

    Its helped me a lot.
    Really good and nice note!!!

  100. Chris Chan Jones said

    am November 7 2015 @ 12:02 pm

    You are my hero!

  101. anusha said

    am December 19 2015 @ 8:49 am

    thanks man… solved it with simple steps,looking for this for hours

  102. Don said

    am December 30 2015 @ 4:31 pm

    How simple and effective. I’m very happy to have found your simple solution to a vexing problem. Many thanks.

  103. Brian O'Sullivan said

    am February 25 2016 @ 7:19 am

    Thank you, this could have taken ages to find. Thanks again. Brian

  104. Emiliano said

    am April 12 2016 @ 9:24 am

    Man, it’s 2016 and you continue saving the day!

    Thank you very much!

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