WP error: “Uploaded file could not be moved to wp-content/uploads”

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I have been using an FTP client to upload article images for this site by hand for years now. Recently, my FTP client started giving me some error, and I wanted to upload a few images urgently. I turned to WordPress’ built-in uploader.

It showed “Crunching…” for a few seconds and then gave the following error:

“unblock-facebook-apps-wall-stream.png” has failed to upload due to an error
The uploaded file could not be moved to /home/wp-content/uploads.

As you can observe, the file was successfully uploaded by the Flash-based WP uploader, so an error on its part is ruled out. Moving the uploaded file to uploads fails. This upload file failed error is due to insufficient permissions on your uploads folder.

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To fix this WordPress upload error, change the permission on your upload folder to 777 using an FTP client. The steps may vary, but on most FTP clients, it would be

  • Browse to your wp-content folder
  • Right click uploads folder, click Preferences or Settings or Permissoins
  • Enter 777 in the permissions field and hit OK. If you do not find a numerical field, tick each of the permission boxes – making it read, write and execute by admin, group and world.

Please note that giving uploads folder 777 permission is actually a bit of a security vulnerability (I realized this after doing this modification, and reverted as soon as I could), so consider using alternate forms of upload instead of leaving this vulnerability open.