Support » Fixing WordPress » If this file were writable you could edit it

  • I’d like to edit the presentation, header, sidebar, etc., however each page has the comment “If this file were writable you could edit it”

    I assume I need to change permissions of a file or files to make the ‘presentation’ writeable, but which ones?


Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • I prefer to use FileZilla (FTP program). In FIleZilla’s settings I set my favorite text editor (notepad2 for example) and whenever I open a php|html|js|txt|etc., etc. file it opens up on my desktop in a familiar editor. Edit, save, and acknowledge to FileZilla you want the changed file uploaded back to the server…

    I run into far less permissions issues that way, and I get out of the slightly ‘clunky’ admin editor…


    (jumping in here)
    I use filezilla as well … at home. I can’t have it at work, but will want to update files from work (over lunch!*grin*) via the editor. I’ve tried changing the Themes directory permissions, but they don’t seem to trickle down? So I changed the permissions of the files themselves (774), and am still getting the ‘if this page were writable’ message. Any thoughts?

    Just as a courtesy.. remember to use SFTP folks. FTP is plaintext..

    JPC – try CHMOD’ing the theme folder to 766

    Otherwise, CHMOD it to 777, make your changes, and CHMOD back to 755.

    um. thanks ladydelaluna, but please don’t confuse the issue?

    JCP: enabling execute permissions on your PHP files isn’t a good idea. 666 is the most you need (rw-rw-rw-), although 644 (rw-r–r–) is best. Assuming you uploaded WP by ftp the files/directories have your ftp login user/group ownership. When you edit then save the file in WP it is done through PHP, which will assign a different user[/group?] to the process/save. This is the conflict your experiencing. I don’t recommend setting your files to 666, but that is the only way it will likely work in your environment.

    And BTW: Changing the parent directory permissions only effects creation of new files in this case, so 755 (rwxr-xr-x) should be fine. If another user (a PHP process in this case) needs to create a file and it’s a member of your group, 775 (rwxrwxr-x) will be necessary. If it is not a member of your group then you’ll need 777. Your host/server decides what user/group is assigned to PHP processes, hence the different effects for different people.

    This only has the effect that the Theme (in my case “Pool”) is reported as “broken”. Change back to 755, and everything’s in order again.

    So, what can one do to make the editing thru the dashboard work? This would be nice for me, since several users may need to do that, and not all are FTP users.

    Nevermind, I found the solution in another posting.
    Basically, the wordpress directory has CHMOD permissions that may be set through an FTP program.

    By default, these settings are ok – but when you install a theme, you’re adding directories that do not have the same permissions.
    Be sure to set the permissions of the theme folders to 666 or 777, allowing the PHP processes to edit the files.

    I have the same problem! 🙁
    My blog is and I can’t use the Theme Editor cause it’s say: “If this file were writable you could edit it.”
    I already put all permissions as possible! Semeone help me PLEASE!

    NOTE: Sorry for the bad english. 🙂

    I’m a newbie’ish sorta user to all this but I just thought I’d post here how I solved this “If this file were writable you could edit it” problem.

    They key for me was reading the extra info from Yosemite (above).

    Changing the permissions for the THEMES folders to 777 or 666 or 755 appeared to do nothing.
    Even setting the permissions for the individual theme folders did nothing. Then I read that changing this only effects NEW files… Ah Ha !!!

    So in Filezilla, I went into the folder for the theme I was using at my site (Earthy) and selected all the individual files in there and changed the CHMOD to 666 for all those existing files and BINGO-BANGO, I can now edit the theme from within WP 🙂

    I’ll probably stick to doing it using Filezilla, but it’s handy to at least be ABLE to quickly make changes from the WP interface.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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