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.…
Unpacking the update…
Could not create directory. /wp-content/upgrade/yourplugin.tmp
Return to Plugins page

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.


WordPress Support Packages
If you’re looking for WordPress help, we now offer generalized WordPress consulting and support packages at an introductory low price. You can purchase them in three, five or ten hour blocks.

And, of course, we offer our pre-installed WordPress Quickstart images.

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