When a plugin, theme, or even WordPress itself are updated, it downloads and saves the files (.zip, extracted files, etc.) to wp-content\upgrade. This is not always desirable.

For example, I run a portable version of WordPress from a flash-drive, so I don’t want it using the flash-drive for temp files. I would prefer it to put temporary files in the system’s temporary directory.

I already changed the temporary (upload) directory in php.ini as so:

upload_tmp_dir = ${Temp}

This works for regular PHP scripts, and while I’ve seen a couple of pages which seem to indicate that WordPress (3.0+) should use the default (upload? download?) temporary directory, it is ignoring it and still putting the temporary files in wp-content\upgrade.

How can this be changed?

1 Answer 1


Impossible. The path is hard coded in many places (wp-admin/includes/update-core.php for example).

I think this is worth a Trac ticket, if there isn’t one already. We can move the directories for plugins, themes and mu-plugins. This is the last thing why we need a wp-content directory at all.


There was a short discussion in ticket #25153. The result is a wontfix, because the upgrade directory enforces the existence of a wp-content directory (whatever its name is in your setup), and that should be kept in case the core needs to add further directories here later, for example wp-content/libraries/.

You can set the upload directory and the wp-content directory to the same physical directory via wp-config.php constants. This should be clean enough for time being.

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion, I checked and could not find anything about it in either Trac or WordPress Ideas, so I submitted the ticket.
    – Synetech
    Aug 26, 2013 at 20:53
  • @Synetech I made an update to my answer and summarized the discussion from your ticket.
    – fuxia
    Aug 27, 2013 at 11:43
  • Argh. They sound a lot like the Chrome developers; too narrow-minded about different configurations and uses and too obstinate to make any changes they don’t consider useful for themselves. I’m currently weaning off of Chrome, but I think I can continue with WordPress—though this is the sort of thing that leads to modifying core or forking altogether. I looked at your suggestion, but wp-content contains a lot of necessary files, and I don’t know what uploads is for but upgrade is the one where it puts the temporary files (besides, it has to be relative, so it must be on the same drive).
    – Synetech
    Aug 27, 2013 at 19:14

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