Fixing WordPress’ Auto-Update (WordPress 3.3.1 on CentOS Linux)

Hav­ing trou­ble with Word­Press’ auto update fea­ture? Con­fronting errors like “could not copy file…”  or is Word­Press ask­ing for FTP information?

Your prob­lem is most likely server per­mis­sions. If you have shell access to your own VPS/dedicated server, use the lines below. If you’re using a shared host­ing setup, try option #4 below, or con­tact your admin­is­tra­tor for help.

Option #1: chmod 777

Sure, you could CHMOD 777 your whole site. That would tech­ni­cally work, but it’s switch­ing per­mis­sions when­ever you need to update is incon­ve­nient. And, leav­ing per­mis­sions this way leaves you open to a whole host of secu­rity issues.

chmod -R 777 <path-to-wordpress-dir> (Not Secure!)

Option #2: apache file permission

This gives apache full per­mis­sions. This works, but if you use FTP, users no longer have per­mis­sions to write files. No good! I want my FTP access intact.

chown -R apache:apache <path-to-wordpress-dir> (No FTP!)

Option #3: apache /w group permissions

I cre­ated a “word­press” group and added my FTP users to it and gave the wp-content direc­tory group write per­mis­sions. It’s a bit of a com­pro­mise, but it worked for me.

groupadd wordpress
useradd -G wordpress <your-username>
chmod -R 775 <path-to-wordpress-dir>/wp-content/
chown -R apache:wordpress <path-to-wordpress-dir>

Option #4: wp-config constants

Another option for those who are unable to change file per­mis­sions, and/or have a rel­a­tively new ver­sion of Word­Press, is to bypass enter­ing FTP infor­ma­tion by defin­ing your FTP info in your wp-config.php file. More infor­ma­tion can be found in the Word­Press codex.

define('FS_METHOD', 'ftpext');
define('FTP_BASE', '/path/to/wordpress/');
define('FTP_CONTENT_DIR', '/path/to/wordpress/wp-content/');
define('FTP_PLUGIN_DIR ', '/path/to/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/');
define('FTP_USER', 'username'); 
define('FTP_PASS', 'password');
define('FTP_HOST', '');


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