WordPress & plugins can't write files or create directories.

  • Posted on November 20, 2014
  • BanzaiAsked by Banzai

I have a Ubuntu droplet with LAMP installed at setup and I need to host a few different sites & domains there, so the first site’s path is /var/www/, as opposed to the single-install WordPress setup. I also set up phpMyAdmin according to the DO tutorial, then set up the WordPress user and db, and imported the data. Then I copied the WordPress site up and unzipped it in place. At this point the admin and front end work except when needing to write a file or create a directory.

I then followed this tutorial – – to the letter and didn’t hit any snags. It’s still unable to write to files or create directories, though. The admin looks fine but my front-end is completely unstyled because it’s dependent on a LESS plugin that needs to write newly compiled CSS files.

I’m a little lost at this point because I don’t know what else to do beyond setting ownership to wp-user:wp-user and making sure the permissions are set to the correct levels according to the Digital Ocean tutorial. Any ideas?


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Have you added the following lines to wp-config.php?


Make sure that the paths are correct. The files should look something like this:

ssh-rsa ... kamal@iodine

If they’re correct but it’s still not working, try SSHing in manually:

ssh -i /home/wp-user/wp_rsa wp-user@localhost

Does that work?

Why not stick with the default permissions?

chown www-data:www-data /var/www/

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