ERRO: If you’re trying to upgrade WordPress or install a plugin and getting the “could not create directory” error, there are two levels required to solving it.

Here’s an example of the error sequence

Downloading update from http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/your-plugin.0.9.3.1.zip…
Unpacking the update…
Could not create directory. /wp-content/upgrade/yourplugin.tmp
Return to Plugins page

Solution:

1. Web Server Ownership
The first level is actually to make sure that your web server has ownership over the directories:

chown -R www-data:www-data your-wordpress-directory

2. Directory Permissions
The second level is also required – you must make sure that the directory permissions are properly set:

sudo find /var/www/wordpress/ -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;
sudo find /var/www/wordpress/ -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

I’ve found that most solutions posted on the web show part two but skip the first part.

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