Folder Ownership Permissions for WordPress Updates and SFTP?

When a WordPress installation folder is set to “www-data:www-data” then I am able to update/install WordPress updates and plugins but can edit the files using SFTP.

When a WordPress installation folder is set to “example:example” I can edit the wordpress files using SFTP but can’t perform WordPress core/plugin install/updates.

Currently have to switch between the two all the time. What permissions can one use to be able to do both? Assuming something along the lines of www-data:example or example:www-data or ideally example:example and add www-data to example group. All of which I’ve tried unsuccessfully, so assuming I’m missing a step. Can someone provide some sample commands to reach this commonly desired end goal? Thank you!

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Ryan Quinn
DigitalOcean Employee
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September 19, 2016
Accepted Answer

The easiest way around this issue would be to add your SFTP user “example” (or whatever name you are using) to the www-data group. As long as your files have group read/write permissions set on them you’ll then be able to edit files via SFTP as “example” and make changes via WordPress (done as the www-data user) without having to reset ownership and permissions.