I'm hosting a local version of my wordpress theme on Ubuntu 11.10. However, LAMP is installed in a directory that requires sudo privileges. When I try to add images or any outside content to my theme, it fails because it cannot create a folder/write to a folder.

How do I edit the permissions to allow Wordpress the access it needs?

  • This should be asked in askubuntu.com
    – Wyck
    Mar 20, 2012 at 22:43
  • Can you login to terminal? This should be over in serverfault. Navigate to /var/www/ and do ls -l
    – AlxVallejo
    Mar 20, 2012 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


I think that setting all to 777 is not the most secure option.

Basically, my favourite is to change the wordpress to the webserver's owner. Being:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

So that the webserver is responsible for handling changes.

Also, you can change the rights to 755 for the whole /var/www branch

sudo chmod -R -c 755 /var/www/ 

Finally, allow your wp-content/ folder in 775 ( so that you can edit files from the WordPress backend without having to upload files via FTP. ( Not necessarily a best practice but useful from time to time ) via

sudo chmod -R -c 775 /var/www/WORDPRESS/wp-contents/

And you will have a reasonable setup with uploads, editing from backend and a minimum level of security.

  • 1
    Sorry I never accepted your answer. I just happened to stumble across it. It helped me at the time and its continued to help me to this day! Feb 25, 2013 at 17:00
  • Should the first one be sudo chown -R $USER:www-data /var/www or the way you suggest it? DigitalOcean recommends this way. What is the difference?
    – JFA
    Jun 18, 2014 at 19:26
  • Ok, www-data:www-data worked, but I thought I read that this lowers security. I read another solution that said to add define('FS_METHOD','direct'); to wp-config.php here
    – JFA
    Jun 18, 2014 at 19:52

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