This article will guide you to solve fix the error related to upload/import media into WordPress’s media library.
The following errors may you get when you try to upload/import media into WordPress’s media library then:

  • Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads
  • Unable to create directory /wp-content/uploads/ Is its parent directory writable by the server?
  • Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads/2013/02

Method 1: Update/Change the Uploads Directory Settings

This is the easiest option to try and solve this error so you should try this one first

  • Log into your WordPress admin dashboard
  • Go to Media Settings menu (Settings -> Media)
  • Enter wp-content/uploads in the “Store uploads in this folder” text box
  • Save the changes by hitting the “Save Changes” button and you are done

The important thing here is to make sure you only enter the following in the “Store uploads in this folder” field:

wp-content/uploads

Now you are done, go and try to upload files to the media library again.

Method 2: Changing Folder Permissions

If you still get the “Is its parent directory writable by the server?” error after following Method 1, you might want to try resetting the permissions of your uploads folder.

Simply follow the instructions below:

  • Connect to your account via an FTP client or file manager. Go to the WordPress installation directory — commonly in /public_html.
  • Open the wp-content folder and right-click on the uploads folder.
  • Click on File Permissions. A new dialogue box will pop up. Look for the Numeric Value field and enter 755.
  • Scroll down and make sure the Recurse into subdirectories box is checked.
  • Select Apply to directories only and click OK.

Method 3: Use This If WordPress site is hosted on VPS

If your WordPress site is hosted on VPS, you can try the following solution to fix “Is its parent directory writable by the server?” error. However, note that this method only works for Linux running on Apache webserver.

Before we begin, let’s understand some basics. By default, your Apache web server uses the www-data user and www-data group to access files and folders.

However, there is a possibility that the uploads folder is not owned by www-data. This situation leads to the “Is its parent directory writable by the server?” issue.

What you need to do is change the owner of the uploads directory to www-data:

1. Connect to your VPS via SSH. You can learn how to do so in our SSH tutorial.
2. Navigate to the wp-content folder inside your WordPress installation directory.

cd public_html/wp-content

3. Change the owner and group of the uploads folder to www-data by executing this command:

chown -R www-data:www-data plugins

4. Just like on shared hosting, the default permissions for the uploads folder might be incorrect. Therefore, while you are inside the wp-content folder, you may run the following command:

chmod 755 -R uploads

It will set permissions for plugins and all subdirectories inside it to 755.

The solution above might not work if you switched over to a new hosting provider, as configurations between hosting services may vary.

Method 4: Use This for XAMPP (LocalHost Installs)

If you’ve installed WordPress locally, and faces the error message and none of the above solutions fixed your problem. You may need to reset the ownership of the installation to nobody by doing the following.

  1. Run command line/terminal:
    On Mac: Applications => Utilities => Terminal
    On Windows: Start => Programs => Accessories => Command Prompt
  2. Run the following command
    After replacing wordpress with your actual WordPress installation directory.
    sudo chown -R nobody:staff /applications/xampp/xamppfiles/htdocs/wordpress

Hopefully one of the above solutions should help you fix the unable to create directory error in WordPress.

If none of the above solution works then maybe it is time to look for another hosting provider for your WordPress site.

Please feel free to share any other techniques/fixes for this error in the comment section below.