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php – WordPress plugin install: Could not create directory

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


I’m using WordPress on centos 6.

I try to install a plugin. But I got this error:

Installing Plugin: bbPress 2.5.9
Downloading install package from https://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/bbpress.2.5.9.zip

Unpacking the package…

Could not create directory.

How can I resolve this?

P/S: I run this command:

sudo -u root touch /var/www/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/test.txt

and it works. But I still get that error.

How to&Answers:

The user that is running your web server does not have permissions to write to the directory that WordPress is intending to create the plugin directory in. You should chown the directory in question to the user that is running WordPress. It is most likely not root.

In short, this is a permissions issue. Your touch command is working because you’re using it as root, and root has global permissions to write wherever it wants.


You only need to change the access permissions for your WordPress Directory:

chown -R www-data:www-data your-wordpress-directory


You can fix this by using the following commands. You should first be in the root folder of WordPress.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data wp-content/plugins/
sudo chmod 775 wp-content

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data wp-content/


A quick solution would be to change the permissions of the following:

  • /var/www/html/wordpress/wp-content
  • /var/www/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins

Change it to 775.

After installation, don’t forget to change it back to the default permissions.. 😀


To solve permission issue on plugins and themes on localhost or production quickly, you just run this

sudo chmod 757 wp-content/themes
sudo chmod 757 wp-content/plugins

if take care permission on production, you can run

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data wp-content/themes
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data wp-content/plugins


I had to give ownership of /plugins and /upgrade to the server, nothing else.

$ cd /var/www/wordpress/wp-content
$ sudo chown www-data:www-data /plugings
$ sudo chown www-data:www-data /upgrade

Running Apache server on Ubuntu 18.04. Maybe more dirs will need to be changed later. Anyways, I plan to restore permissions once I finish editing, as suggested in this anwser.


If anyone using shared hosting and get same problem it may be disk space issue. In that case contact with your hosting support and ask them to increase disk space of your acocunt.


CentOS7 or Ubuntu 16


WordPress uses ftp to install themes and plugins.
So the ftpd should have been configured to create-directory

vim /etc/pure-ftpd.confg

and if it is no then should be yes

# Are anonymous users allowed to create new directories?
AnonymousCanCreateDirs       yes


sudo systemctl restart pure-ftpd


Maybe there is an ownership issue with the parent directories.
Find the Web Server user name and group name if it is Apache Web Server

apachectl -S

it will print

User: name="apache" id=997
Group: name="apache" id=1000

on Ubuntu it is

User: name=”www-data” id=33 not_used
Group: name=”www-data” id=33 not_used


sudo chown -R apache:apache directory-name


Sometimes it is because of directories permissions.
So try

sudo chmod -R 755 directory-name

in some cases 755 does not work. (It should & I do not no why) so try

sudo chmod -R 777 directory-name


Maybe it is because of php safe mode.
So turn it off in the root of your domain

vim php.ini

then add

safe_mode = Off

For not entering FTP username and password each time installing a theme we can configure WordPress to use it directly by adding


to the wp-config.php file.


I was on XAMPP for linux localhost and this worked for me:

sudo chown -R my-linux-username wp-content


What I end up doing is every time I create a WordPress project. in /www/html

I run below command

sudo chown www-data:www-data  wordpress_folder_name -R

hope this will help someone.


For me the problem was FTP server that WP is using to upload update. It had writting disabled in configuration, so just enabling it fixed the problem.

Shame on WordPress for providing such misleading error message.


If you have installed wordpress using apt, the config files are split in multiple directories. In that case you need to run:

sudo chown -R -h www-data:www-data /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/
sudo chown -R -h www-data:www-data /usr/share/wordpress/wp-content/

The -h switch changes the permissions for symlinks as well, otherwise they are not removable by user www-data


To solve permission issue on ubuntu server, you just run this

sudo chmod 777 -R 'wordpress wp-content file location' 

for example.

sudo chmod 777 -R /usr/share/wordpress/wp-content


wordpressProject is the project name.

/var/www/html/wordpressProject sudo chmod -R 777 wp-content

Thanks. It will work.


Absolutely it must be work!

  • Use this
    chown -Rf www-data:www-data /var/www/html