On some installations of Wordpress, all updates performed through the administrative web interface require the FTP username and password to be entered before they take place. Others update and install themes/plugins just fine without needing FTP information. I'd like to test some permissions hunches by forcing the web administrative interface to update via FTP. Is this possible?

(Note: Certainly using a regular FTP client would work, but I'd like to keep the client away from as many additional steps and applications as possible. Keeping them to the web interface would make life... simpler.)

3 Answers 3


The problem with WordPress not being able to install plugins or update itself is because WordPress uses the Apache 'user' for all its processes. In the case of Ubuntu / Linux the Apache user and group is www-data:www-data.

By doing sudo chown www-data:www-data /wordpress your changing the ownership of all files.

A problem can occur if your user account is not in the same group as www-data for example you FTP'd a new image to your wordpress folder and it's permissions were wrong, then it may not show up on your website. So you should also change your users Primary Group to www-data


What i found is that if all the folder containing WP own to the web-user, you can install via web interface anything. In my case, Linux, my user is www-data, so i just run the next command chown -R www-data:www-data wp-folder where wp-folder is the folder containing my WP app (use sudo if the user is not root). And that's it. Now I can install themes and plugins directly in the web admin interface avoiding the FTP step.

Hope works for you.


If the files & directories in your wordpress installation are all owned by the FTP user, then you can bypass the prompt for ftp username and password when updating.

  • Aha, I see. So in essence all updates and installations are actually taking place with FTP as the transportation method? Not HTTP? It's only when the files and permissions are set to a user other than the FTP account that the prompt appears?
    – Wesley
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 20:35
  • @WesleyDavid I believe it's always done via FTP, but I'm not 100% sure. That's been my understanding, however.
    – jessica
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 20:38
  • This is incorrect, FTP is fallback.
    – Wyck
    Commented Aug 19, 2012 at 0:40

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