When you run the installation of your Joomla site (most often it is the Quickstart Package) you might be informed that the “Configuration.php is not writable”. Then you will notice the message that you can still continue with the Installation and you can create the “configuration.php” file manually and just paste the code that you will get at the end of the Installation Process. Yes, but NO !!!
You can see this warning very often on VPS and Dedicated Servers and the reason is that these servers are quite complicated for managing and there are some File Ownership/Permission issues that you need to take care of.
So, the “Configuration.php not Writable” is the first sign that there is something wrong on the server side and you SHOULD NOT PROCEED with the Installation until you solve the problem.
Why should I not proceed with the Installation?
Well, this message informs you that there is something wrong with the permissions on your server. The reason why you should not proceed with the Installation (even if you can create the file manually) is that the “configuration.php” is just the beginning… if you still decide to proceed without solving the permissions/file ownership issue you will start getting many different errors in different places of the site.
You will get many errors if you use the K2 Component – it needs to “write” (thumbnails for the Items must be created, etc.). You will most probably get the “500 error” if you try to save or edit a K2 Item.
You will not be able to delete the cache because the permissions do not allow you to.
If you are using the Gantry Framework you will not be able to delete the temporary LESS files and every time you edit some of the LESS files the changes will not show up because the site will still be loading from the old (cached) LESS files.
You might get many more errors and problems, the above are just an example. Also, if you try to enter wrong login details for the Admin Panel you will get “500 error” instead of the standard “Username and password do not match” message.
What should I do to make my “configuration.php” writable?
The very first thing you need to do is to contact your Hosting Support and ask them why your “configuration.php” is not writable by default. You should explain them that this is not a normal Permissions Issue where you can simply login via FTP and change the Permissions on particular files and folders, not at all! Just ask them why the “configuration.php” file is not wriable by default.
For example, we had the same issue with our site ( www.joomfx.com ). After contacting our Hosting Support the problem was solved. It turned out that the Owner of the directory where our site is installed was “Nobody” and when they switched the owner to “Apache” the problem was solved. Again, this is just an example of one of the many possible scenarios.
First of all, do not worry. Just contact your Hosting Support and ask them to do whatever is necessary so you can see that the “Configuration.php” file is writeable when you start the Installation Wizard. Explain them that this is more of a File/Directory Ownership issue than a simple Permissions Issue.
Remember, the “configuration.php” file should always be Writable!
I hope this article was helpful for most of you. Please post the cause/solution with your “configuration.php” file in the comments below so we can all benefit and solve the issue easier. Thanks :)