The feature listed here: http://www.directadmin.com/features.php?id=571 will create a symbolic link from the private_html to the public_html directory. DA tries to chown the link to the user, so the usre can delete if needed. The problem was when you chown a symbolic link, you're not chowning the link, but rather what the link points to. This cause the ownership of the public_html to change. If you were using apache_public_html=1, then the public_html would go from user:user, chmod 750, to user:user 750 giving the public_html a forbidden error (apache can't read inside it). The fix was to simply not chown the link as creating the link *as* the correct user will accomplish the same thing.