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WordPress Troubleshooting: How to Fix the File and Folder Permissions Error

WordPress may be one of the best website building platforms out there, but it’s not without its quirks. There are certain errors that you may get with WordPress that can be very frustrating, including the annoying ‘file and folder permissions error’ which can hold you back from running with your website.

Luckily, there is a quick solution for this error which just involves a little file and folder permission setting configuration.

Fix the Permission Settings of Your Directories

The first thing you should do is locate your WordPress root folder, which you’ll probably find named either www, public_html, or after the domain of your website. Open it up and there will be three folders: wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-includes. There should also be some files as well.

Choose these three folders, right-click, then select the option that says File Permissions.

The change file attributes screen should come up which contains Read, Write, and Execute permissions for different types of users: the owner of the file, the owner’s group, and the general public.

Your permissions level is represented by the first number, your group is represented by the second number, and your user’s permissions level is represented by the third. Every type of permission is represented by a numerical value as well. Execute equals one, Write equals two, and Read equals four.

The highest number you are able to give is 7, which represents Read, Write, and Executable access. This numerical representation can be seen in the Numeric Value field.

You want to set the numerical value 755 and check the option for Recurse into subdirectories > Apply to directories only.

This will give you full access, and WordPress will be able to read and open folders, but won’t be able to delete them. The same applies to your users. Your files, however, won’t be affected, which leads us to the second step.

Change the Permission Values of Your WordPress Files

After changing the permissions levels for your directories, you will need to do the same for your files. But the same numerical value system won’t be used this time.

Go back to the root directory and choose all files and folders within, including the ones used in the previous step. Right-click on them and select the File Permissions option. This time, you will be replacing the current number in the Numeric value field with 644.

As the owner, you may read and modify all files. Your visitors and your group will only have reading access because they do not own the files. This is the ideal security setting as it limits the entry points for possible attacks.

Before updating the permission settings, be sure to check off the option that says Recurse into subdirectories > Apply to files only. You will only apply the 644 value to the WordPress files, and the folders will retain the settings specified in the last step.

The only thing left to do is attempt to access your website one more time. You shouldn’t get the file and folder permissions error any longer if you followed the above steps, and your website should be working. If you are still getting errors you can try uploading a fresh WordPress install, or call your hosting provider.

Conclusion

Although file and folder permission settings may be a bothersome issue, you can still fix it with just a couple of simple steps. All it really takes is changing the permission settings for your WordPress file folders and repeating this process for all your files.

If you are not sure or don’t feel comfortable handling this task – feel free to contact us or comment below

Written by

Dedicated to delivering effective and professional web design, Umberto Valenti founded UV Designs in 2010, a one-stop shop delivering web design and development services. With a background in business marketing and Economics.