Problem installing wordpress themes, Login errors.
December 12, 2010 9:58 PM   Subscribe

I can't log into wordpress to install themes, and none of the solutions I found worked or are just too plain confusing to me.

Hello... Well I finally am starting to get into wordpress, and I just want to install some themes. I go to the wordpress admin page, find the theme I like, go to download it, and I'm prompted for the FTP host, username, password.

I'm using a hosting service from, it's running Apache 1.3, PHP 5 Flex (not sure if this helps hehe)

I enter the exact info as I put into my FTP client, which I can connect just fine. (I used both localhost:21, and the IP (both SSH and FTP), and my correct username and password)

The error message says cannot connect to (my host):21

I seen lot of posts regarding this very problem when I googled it, most seem to say I need to log on in a shell or something (I'm not too familiar with this part) and change file persmissions or some other crazy techie stuff .. Some say, Just use 'local' host rather than IP.

I'm using the latest version of wordpress 3.0.3. I'm on win XP.

I hate the answers most give because it says something like "just log on SSH and type this command: usr/bin/ something-something- something" and everyone responds "it's worked!"

So, does anyone know this problem I'm talking about and explain to me like a baby how to resolve it?

Thanks so much!
posted by Like its 1997 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: There are 2 easier ways to install themes than by FTP. Go to the appearance menu and click "themes". Then at the top, click the "install themes" tab.

1.You can just search for theme by name here, or...
2. Assuming you already downloaded it, click "upload" and you can navigate to your theme's zip file and upload it this way.
posted by planetkyoto at 11:19 PM on December 12, 2010

Appearance menu in your WordPress Dashboard, I mean.
posted by planetkyoto at 11:20 PM on December 12, 2010

OK, wait, reading this again, you mean your browser isn't letting you download and install themes from within WordPress? Is that it? You should be able to Google and download themes outside WordPress, and then use something for Windows like CuteFTP to upload it.
posted by planetkyoto at 11:26 PM on December 12, 2010

Response by poster: Ohhh yeah, I don't know why i didn't think of that.

I guess I just wanted to do it from within the browser too, or at least figure out how to fix that.

But thanks... a simple answer to my long struggle haha. If anyone still knows how to fix the original problem I still like to hear the answer though. Thanks.
posted by Like its 1997 at 12:44 AM on December 13, 2010

The original solution to the problem requires shell access, which you probably don't want to mess with.

Nearly Free Speech is nice cheap hosting but it is best suited to people with mid-level technical proficiency. Things you cannot do via FTP require shell access, since they're not providing you with the standard control panels a box box web host does. Shell access is a feature, not a bug, for the market NFS is aimed at.

A shell account gives you command-line access to your hosting account on the server for managing files, directories and permissions. It's like the black terminal window you can type text commands into in Windows.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:14 AM on December 13, 2010

Response by poster: I do know the basics of using a shell. I use putty to log on, but I'm lost from there. I'm actually not that computer illiterate I just sound very unconfident lol. If you know the solution shoot away, I can get a quick rundown and work with it.

posted by Like its 1997 at 2:47 AM on December 13, 2010

It's a permissions thing. Can you (in shell) run "chown" ? If so, you'll want to chown those files to the user that Apache runs as. It's probably either apache or www-data. What I do is "chown apache:user" (with user being your user) and the "chmod 775" those files. If you can't do that, email support, tell them your problem, it's common, they should have the answer. Don't just chmod all those to 777, which will also solve your problem, but create new ones. Once the permissions are correct, the prompt for user/pass will go away.
posted by Blake at 3:50 AM on December 13, 2010

There's a step-by-step thing here. I can confirm that this worked once upon a time. It's probably worth reading through the comments for some more recent info too.
posted by Magnakai at 12:01 PM on December 13, 2010

How can I stop WordPress from prompting me to enter FTP information when doing updates?

That may help you out. It will require you to carefully edit the wp-config.php file.
posted by artlung at 5:51 PM on December 13, 2010

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