All the files in my WordPress path are owned by myuser:www-data and Apache is running as www-data. All files and folders have group write permissions, e.g. -rw-rw----, but I keep being prompted for FTP details when I try to install a plugin.

If I chown the path to the www-data user, plugin installation and deletion work as expected, but then myuser cannot edit files. I could add myuser to the www-data group, but then myuser could access all other sites.

My files are chown'ed as follows:

chown -R myuser:www-data wordpress-folder/*

And chmod'ed as follows:

find wordpress-folder/ -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;
find wordpress-folder/ -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

If my files are owned by the www-data group and are group-writable, then surely WordPress should be able to install plugins. Why can't WordPress install plugins?

Here is the output of ls -la in my plugins folder:

total 48
drwxrwx---  9 myuser www-data 4096 Aug  5 01:26 .
drwxrwx---  6 myuser www-data 4096 Aug  5 01:51 ..
drwxrwx---  6 myuser www-data 4096 Jul 10 16:27 disqus-comment-system
-rw-rw----  1 myuser www-data 6148 Jul 10 15:37 .DS_Store
drwxrwx---  7 myuser www-data 4096 Jul 10 16:30 gravityforms
-rw-rw----  1 myuser www-data   30 Jul 10 15:37 index.php
drwxrwx---  3 myuser www-data 4096 Jul 10 16:30 lime-export
drwxrwx---  6 myuser www-data 4096 Aug  1 11:17 mp6
drwxrwx---  6 myuser www-data 4096 Aug  5 01:26 rewrite
drwxrwx--- 10 myuser www-data 4096 Jul 10 16:38 wordpress-seo
drwxrwx---  7 myuser www-data 4096 Jul 24 17:14 wp-minify

3 Answers 3


If you add the following to your wp-config.php file it will force WordPress to use the 'direct' filesystem method:

define( 'FS_METHOD', 'direct' );
  • Bingo! This worked for me. Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 14:06
  • Why wordpress can't allow the apache user be a member of a group that has group write and let the wordpress folder be owned be someone other than the apache user is beyond me. This gets around that. Awesome!
    – frumbert
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 1:59

I think, I've answered a similar question here before. OP claims all file permission are set correctly but still ask for ftp credentials.

Well, this is very weird. But I think, it is still about permission.

Wordpress will write a temp file and compare the file owner by getmyuid() == @fileowner($temp_file_name).

If ture, it'll install the plugin directly without asking ftp details.

For more details, wp-admin/includes/file.php and get_filesystem_method function.

So, I would suggest you, write an independent php script in the root folder of wordpress installation to check out.

1, write a temp file

2, check the owner of the temp file

$dir = dirname(__FILE__);

$temp_file = $dir.'/wp-content/'.time();
$temp_handle = fopen($temp_file, 'w');
if ( $temp_handle ) {
    if ( getmyuid() == fileowner($temp_file) ){
        echo 'file owner correct';

    echo 'cant write file';
  • Maybe my default permissions are wrong? I'll check. Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 2:13
  • So WordPress is checking the result of getmyuid(), which should be www-data against the owner of a newly created file, which would be myuser, not www-data. Looks like the only way this would work without modifying WordPress code is to chown everything to www-data, or to run Apache under myuser. Any ideas? Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 2:25
  • You may want to run Apache under myuser rather than hacking wordpress core php
    – Jesse
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 2:29
  • It gets weirder. If I put that code in a PHP file and run it under my WordPress folder, it works and I can output the result of getmyuid() and the temp file owner both as 33 (for www-data), so I should not be prompted for FTP details. Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 2:45

Simple workaround would be to add FTP credentials inside wp-config.php file, like this:

define( 'FTP_USER', 'username' );
define( 'FTP_PASS', 'password' );
define( 'FTP_HOST', 'ftp.example.org:21' );

But the problem might be related to your hosting using some different PHP process instead of suPHP.

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