How to fix wordpress plugins that will not update or delete.

Very recently on 2 sites and I have the same problem or at least very similar, Plugins on my wordpress install would either not delete or update or both. The issue after many annoying hours was that my host due to issues “they say” with my domain had alter some permissions, I am still not convinced on the how but for now its fixed so I am happy.


The error was, as is often, with linux or mac machines, the Permissions of the folders, Specifically the folders of the Theme and Plugins in the wp-content folder.


What follows below are some quick step and images to back up your progress.

Before we start though, its always a good idea to make a backup of the your site first (even though its not working for), I am not going to cover that here but there are plenty of great articles already written. BACK UP YOUR SITE NOW.

Ok, onto the fixing the permissions

To fix this error or at least rule it out you will need an FTP program, I use Cyberduck for OS X, and your login details for ftp and your hosting account. Here, I am not going to show you how to complete any of these steps.

How to fix the permissions of your wordpress

  • Visit your “wp-content” with your FTP program.
  • Find the permissions of the “Themes” and “Plugins” folder, in CyberDuck “command+i” does this.
  • If the error is due to permissions, then either or both of the folders with have permissions of something similar to 555. This does not have to be exactly the same but most likely it will at least not have a “write” box ticked for the “owner”.
  • Change the permissions to 755. This allows the owner (you) to edit the “Plugins” and “Themes” folder. Make sure that you click “Apply changes recursively” so that all the permission trickle down through all the plugins and themes in the contained in the folder.

Thats it. Head back over to your WP Dashboard and attempt the update. If you have followed the steps correctly and the permissions was the only error (Very likely) then the plugins should update perfectly.




If successful its time for another back up. Always a good idea.

I would love to hear any comments you have. Thanks for reading I hope I help or some at least one person’s time.

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