Uploading an image to add to a page, I got a message saying: Unable to create directory... Is its parent directory writable by the server?

Assuming the issue is that the parent directory needs to be made writable by the server, how do I make the parent directory writable by the server?

Thanks, Richard

  • Are you developing this site on your local machine or a server? Aug 8 '11 at 12:39
  • 1
    How to change server file/directory permissions is really a server question, and not a WordPress question. Feb 26 '12 at 19:37

Here is how to change your folder permissions.

  • Login to your ftp
  • Make your wp-content folder 755 (In most FTP programs, this involves right-clicking -> "Permissions"). 755 is owner: read, write and execute permissions; group: read and execute permissions; others: read and execute permissions.
  • Inside wp-content create a new folder called "uploads", make it 755 (if not working, try 777 for testing, but never make a live site 777)
  • Inside the control admin panel, go to settings>miscellaneous and on the first line enter "wp-content/uploads" as where your uploads will go to.

If this does not work you will have to log in to your server via SSH and make sure the ownership of the web folders are set to the webserver user (using the chown command)


As well as changing permissions, check the ownership of the directory/file. You may run into problems if WordPress is running as a different owner that the FTP account.


To easily change permissions, use FTP. See Filezilla and FTP Clients « WordPress Codex.

From http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_File_Permissions - under no circumstances should any directory be 777:

No directories should ever be given 777, even upload directories. Since the php process is running as the owner of the files, it gets the owners permissions and can write to even a 755 directory.

In some cases, you may need to toggle a directory to 777 to upload one image before changing back to 755.

And see http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress for more security info on file/folder permissions.


Please refer here for how to change permissions, and which folders should be set to which permissions:


It is never a good idea to set a folder/file to anything more permissive than 755, especially if it's public facing.

If you have shell access use the chmod command, if you're using SFTP/FTP then you can set the permissions using your FTP client, refer to the manual or help documentation of your FTP client for instructions. Most programs will have this option when right clicking on a remote folder/file.

If you are unable to modify the permissions, contact your administrator/support, or if you're in a shell, try sudo

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