Why Apache runs under www-data user?


I'm on Ubuntu 14.04 and I've got LAMP installed on it. I'm aware that web server Apache runs under www-data user. Thus all my files and directories have www-data user permissions. Why can't Apache run under regular user or under root? Why bother with an extra one?
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
It's a security measure to keep external users from accessing files they shouldn't have access to.  Anytime you provide public access to a web server, people will try to break in.  

You should never run under 'root' because that has the potential to give an attacker access to Everything on your server.  

You can run sites under a 'regular' user to some degree with 'suexec' https://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/suexec.html .   It is usually recommended that you don't do that... but it is very useful for some things.

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Apache Web Server

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