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What requires a file to be world-accessible?

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I'm not looking to to go off the reservation on the recommended CHMODs (I played with that a lot, for the heck of it, when I first took over as an Admin in 2005, and the again the following year, when I moved to a new server -- I decided it was fairly pointless to determine the tightest possible perms on a file/directory basis)

I've just always been curious what part of the system might need world access. is that part of the CHMOD only because IPB can't know each server's exact set-up, especially on diverse shared servers, over a span of many years? [That would seem a good enough reason to me. There were some pretty shaky hosts in 2003]

I have my own server running a few domains on lighttpd+mysql. On some domains, I have all the files CHOWNed by <owner>:<lighttpdusergroup>, on others, it's <owner>:<ownergroup> with <lighttpduser> as a member of <ownergroup>. Either setup works fine, even without world access, based on quick tests

I have tried to look this up on this forum at random points in the past few years, but I never did figure out what services would legitimately access the data/software through world/public access?Is that advice really only meant for Other People's Systems?

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