Is moving wp-config outside the web root really beneficial?


One of the most common security best practices these days seems to be moving wp-config.php one directory higher than the vhost’s document root. I’ve never really found a good explanation for that, but I’m assuming it’s to minimize the risk of a malicious or infected script within the webroot from reading the database password.

But, you still have to let WordPress access it, so you need to expand open_basedir to include the directory above the document root. Doesn’t that just defeat the entire purpose, and also potentially expose server logs, backups, etc to attackers?

Or is the technique only trying to prevent a situation where wp-config.php would be shown as plain-text to anyone requesting, instead of being parsed by the PHP engine? That seems like a very rare occurance, and it wouldn’t outweigh the downsides of exposing logs/backups/etc to HTTP requests.

Maybe it’s possible to move it outside the document root in some hosting setups without exposing other files, but not in other setups?

After a lot of back-and-forth on this issue, two answers have emerged that I think should be considered the authoritative ones. Aaron Adams makes a good case in favor of moving wp-config, and chrisguitarguymakes a good case against it. Those are the two answers you should read if you’re new to the thread and don’t want to read the entire thing. The other answers are either redundant or inaccurate.

, , Ian Dunn 3 years 2020-04-03T00:51:42-05:00 0 Answers 88 views 0

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