Fix WordPress Permissions

This a post borrowed from Jeff Reifman of and it was very helpful! Exactly what I needed. Because it was so hard to find, I thought I’d repost it here….

If you’re trying to upgrade WordPress or install a plugin and getting the “could not create directory” error, there are two levels required to solving it.

Here’s an example of the error sequence:

Downloading update from…
Unpacking the update…
Could not create directory. /wp-content/upgrade/yourplugin.tmp
Return to Plugins page

1. Web Server Ownership
The first level is actually to make sure that your web server has ownership over the directories:
chown -R www-data:www-data your-wordpress-directory

2. Directory Permissions
The second level is also required – you must make sure that the directory permissions are properly set:
sudo find /var/www/wordpress/ -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;
sudo find /var/www/wordpress/ -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;


Original post by Jeff Reifman of