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CHMOD 0777

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So, setting up IPS4, the steps include setting permissions on certain directories to 0777.

Is this still considered acceptable on an otherwise secure server, or is there another way of achieving the same ends on apache? 

I have a one user, one website server. My current setup has everything served from /var/www/website.com/public_html, which directory is owned by curret $USER:$USER per the tutorial here: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-set-up-apache-virtual-hosts-on-ubuntu-16-04.

Is there a different/better way of doing things such that the software has write access to the folders without needing 0777? Would making the public_html folder owned by a group called webusers and adding www-data and USER to the group do the trick?

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