Saw the “Missing a temporary folder” error pop up while trying to upload files to your WordPress website? Don’t panic. Though not common, the message is known to appear shortly after you’ve tweaked the source files on your website or uploaded files to your Media Library. Even if you haven’t, any changes to the Media Library, by you or others, may reflect on your website and make the error appear. Not to worry, since we’re well acquainted with the issue and ways to solve it. With that said, let’s get into how to fix the “Missing a temporary folder” error in WordPress.
Causes, consequences, preparation
Before we delve into the rather quick, yet effective solution, let’s do a deeper analysis of things you need to know before you solve the “Missing a temporary folder” WordPress error in WordPress:
Source of the problem
Without going into minute details, the cause of the “Missing a temporary folder” WordPress error lies in the unsuitably configured PHP settings within your hosting environment. A specific line in the configuration determines which temporary folder (i.e., its location) a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress and other apps on your cPanel will use. Like your browser, computer, or mobile device, you need a folder to dump transient files, in this case, during updates or uploads to your WordPress website. If it’s missing or inaccessible, you see the “Missing a temporary folder” error message.
To ensure the problem doesn’t reappear, get acquainted with 3 reasons the error appears:
- Improper hosting environment configuration. Simply put, you chose low-quality hosting or an extremely cheap plan. Consequently, they didn’t bother tweaking things or configuring a temporary folder.
- WordPress installation wasn’t fully finished or configured afterward. This is especially common with installing WordPress on localhost. It happens when you interrupt the setup, don’t let PHP configuration come to fruition, or somehow don’t allow the temporary folder to form. That isn’t to say web hosting providers aren’t guilty of this, too.
- Insufficient file and folder permissions. The latter is particularly typical, especially if you combine reason #1 with your inexperience in providing necessary clearance. We cover the solution below.
The obvious consequence is that you’re unable to make changes to your WordPress website. To clarify, you’re incapable of making updates to your WordPress core, plugins, themes, or uploading files to the Media Library. Not only will this stump the growth of your website, but invite profound security concerns. While it lasts, you cannot fend off attacks or hostile takeovers or apply bug fixes and exploit patches, among a variety of other online threats.
As with any alteration to the core of your WordPress website, make sure to backup your WordPress website in its entirety. Or, at the very least, the files you plan to change. In this case, that’s the “wp-config.php” file we’ll mention below. We also strongly advise reaching out to your web hosting Customer Service. While the solution below works, it’s more of a momentary patch-up job to restore access to pivotal functionality. It’s better if your hosting configures a different folder and cleans the temp files occasionally instead.
Fix “Missing a temporary folder” error in WordPress
If you decided to heed our warnings and tips, we congratulate you. You can safely proceed into fixing the WordPress error regarding a missing temporary folder:
- Start by accessing your WordPress website via FTP.
- Tip. You may use an FTP client or cPanel, or simply utilize the file manager software of your choice on localhost.
- In the “root” folder (also called “public_html”, “www”, or name of your website, i.e., “yourwebsite”), find a file named wp-config.php.
- Right-click on it, then select View/Edit. Alternatively, click the Edit button in the top menu.
- When it opens, search for the line that states, /** That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging **/
- Paste the following code anywhere above that line:
define('WP_TEMP_DIR', dirname(__FILE__) . '/wp-content/temp/');
- Save the changes you made. Accept to re-upload of the file to your website.
- Head over to the wp-content folder in your root folder now.
- Make a new folder inside suing the top menu. Name the newly created folder temp.
- This should’ve solved the “Missing a temporary folder” error in WordPress. Go back to your website and test uploading or updating.
“Temp” folder already exists and has data inside. What do I do?
This is a common issue that, once again, likely stems from a poorly configured hosting environment or you (or someone else) patching things up in the past. Thankfully, you should be able to solve it yourself either by:
- Creating a different folder. Merely change the name in step 6, and title the newly made folder in step 9 accordingly.
- Following the steps for fixing the file and folder permissions error in WordPress. Simply apply 755 permissions for the temp folder and 644 for your wp-config.php file.