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I'm trying to get WordPress to run on my local Ubuntu 12.10 installation.

When I try to install themes/plugins, it asks me for FTP credentials.

I've been trying to get this to work for 2 days now. Everywhere on the web it says you should change the owner:group of your WordPress directory to whateverowner:group runs your Apache server - in my case www-data:www-data. I've done this, and even tried setting permissions to the whole /var/www directory to 777, restarting Apache and the whole system. But WordPress is still asking me for the FTP credentials. What else could this be?

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You should probably read this – Marco Ceppi Dec 8 '12 at 0:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

In the meantime, I gave up and decided to configure FTP to work around the problem. While doing that it turned out that wordpress is actually trying to find files under /srv directory (??!) and not under /var/www as I previously assumed, which looks like this:

#:/srv/www/wp-content/localhost$ ls -l
total 12
drwxrwxr-- 2 www-data www-data 4096 Dec  2 15:58 blogs.dir
lrwxrwxrwx 1 www-data www-data   39 Dec  2 15:58 languages -> /var/lib/wordpress/wp-    content/languages
lrwxrwxrwx 1 www-data www-data   37 Dec  2 15:58 plugins -> /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/plugins
lrwxrwxrwx 1 www-data www-data   36 Dec  2 15:58 themes -> /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/themes
drwxrwxr-x 3 www-data www-data 4096 Dec  3 13:20 upgrade
drwxrwxr-- 3 www-data www-data 4096 Dec  2 17:53 uploads

Except that user:group was set to root:root for all. Same was for everything under /var/lib/wordpress. As soon as I changed permissions everywhere to www-data:www-data, things started to work without FTP.

Now the problem was that if I, say, install a theme automatically, the theme cannot be properly activated. It turns out it installs in the wrong place:

#:/var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/themes$ ls -l
total 12
lrwxrwxrwx 1 www-data www-data   48 Dec  3 12:11 index.php -> /usr/share/wordpress/wp-content/themes/index.php
drwxr-xr-x 7 www-data www-data 4096 Dec  3 13:38 montezuma
drwxr-xr-x 8 www-data www-data 4096 Dec  3 13:22 responsive
lrwxrwxrwx 1 www-data www-data   51 Dec  3 12:11 twentyeleven -> /usr/share/wordpress/wp-content/themes/twentyeleven
lrwxrwxrwx 1 www-data www-data   48 Dec  3 12:11 twentyten -> /usr/share/wordpress/wp-content/themes/twentyten
drwxr-xr-x 6 www-data www-data 4096 Dec  3 13:37 twentytwelve

So I have to manually go to /srv/www/wp-content and move those montezuma, responsive and twentytwelve above to /usr/share/wordpress and link back with ln -s. Pain in the ass.

Basically the only solution that I found was to not use the apt-get method of installing wordpress, but just do this:

cd /var/www    
sudo unlink wordpress
sudo wget
sudo tar xvfz latest.tar.gz 

Now everything works just as expected. Final solution - install wordpress manually and not from Ubuntu repository.

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Wow thanks, this will save me a lot of hassle. – RolandiXor Jan 15 '13 at 6:16

One of two:


  1. Run PHP as FastCGI which can run as a different user than your web server.

  2. Install the ssh extension for PHP (sudo apt-get install libssh2-php)

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