I set my /var/www/wordpress folder to 744 permissions and all of the files within disappeared.
If I right click the /wordpress folder and click properties, it says there are 0 bytes in the folder but that shouldn't be the case.
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I don't think the files are vanished, but just have become inaccessible to you due to a possibly erroneous chmod mode. Here's why:
4 (octal representation) as a permission on either a user, group or other marks it as
r-- (3-bit representation, but the same thing) and not
r-x as required for directories to be able to list their contents.
So, you probably wanted to set mode
755 on that directory to make it like this:
If your file manager reports it has not contents, you're probably not the owner of that directory (presuming your file manager is running as your own user account). So, try to fix this as root (for example using
sudo to raise your privileges), like this:
sudo chmod 755 /var/www/wordpress
And you'll be able to access your file again, probably.