Cannot update Wordpress plugins (file permission issues)?

I get: Update Failed: The update cannot be installed because we will be unable to copy some files. This is usually due to inconsistent file permissions.

When trying to update plugins from the admin interface. I’ve set the user to www-data for both directories and files … but nothing works.

What do I have to do to simply being able to use Wordpress as it is intended?

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Site Moderator
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December 2, 2020
Pinned Answer

Hello all,

This issue is usually caused by incorrect file permissions or ownerships on your server (rather than being a problem with the plugin itself). Basically, WordPress isn’t able to properly access its own plugins folder, and as a result can’t put the updated plugins files in there.


Permissions can be set to 644 for files and 755 for folders. To do so, you can run two quick find commands.

To make all folders in your website path with 755 permissions run the following command

find /path/to/website -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

To make all files in your website root directory with 644 permissions, you can run

find /path/to/website -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

Please make sure to change /path/to/website with your real path.


Ownership means which user and group are controlling the files. Usually, that’s www-data. So what you’ll need to do si

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /path/to/website

Please make sure to change /path/to/website with your real path.

Once you do it, that’s it, you are good to go.

Regards, KFSys

Accepted Answer

Ran these commands, and it’s now working just fine (both dashboard and ftp).

sudo usermod -aG www-data $USER

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www

sudo chmod -R 774 /var/www

My WordPress website showing a couple of problems

  1. Plugin and theme update failed.
  2. Header slider not showing
  3. left sidebar is broken

someone help me please. here my website:

**Thanks in advance **

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