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I've updated to wordpress 4.7.x. I don't know why, but after doing so, I no longer have the ability to upload plugins (it keeps asking for FTP access. We've never used FTP always SFTP), and I can no longer update existing plugins. I get this error:

Update Failed: Could not create directory.

wp-config.php indeed was missing the define(FS_METHOD, 'direct') so I put it back. Still getting the error.

However, the apache error.log file contains no mention of an error. I feel like perhaps some permission issues got messed up somehow, but if that's the case, where on linux would I check to see a corresponding entry log for this error?

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In wp-config.php, set the following (if not already set):

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );
define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );
@ini_set( 'display_errors', 0 );

This will make sure that on the site no error is shown, however, WordPress will log all errors in debug.log file inside the /wp-content/ directory.

NOTE: You must insert this BEFORE /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ in the wp-config.php file.

You'll find more details about it in this Codex Document.

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If it's a WordPress, rather than an Apache error, you may not see anything on your server error logs. You can try enabling WP_DEBUG to see if anything shows up. That is generally my first step in debugging a WordPress site.

This page in the Codex provides a general permissions scheme. You can always check your file permissions via FTP (SFTP) or ssh.

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