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I would like to run the official Docker Apache image as a non-root user. To make it work, it seems like it is necessary to chown the /usr/local/apache2 directory (see this and this):

chown -hR appuser:appuser /usr/local/apache2

appuser is the non-root user (group) in this case.

Originally, the files and directories in /usr/local/apache2 are owned by root. How safe is it, to give ownership of these files and directories to a normal user? Does this pose a security risk?

/usr/local/apache2/
├── bin/
├── build/
├── cgi-bin/
├── conf/
├── error/
├── htdocs/
├── icons/
├── include/
├── logs/
└── modules/
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There is no security concern running it as a non-root user that I know of. If this were my deployment I would recommend it. You will run into complications trying to use ports below 1024 as a non-root user, but that is easily remedied. I have seen the method used that you're suggesting in the question. I also found this method, which I haven't tried yet but looks promising. FYI, how you manage your Docker server is even more important. Check the CIS Docker Hardening Benchmarks for details.

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