As a website owner, you’re likely aware of the importance of keeping your website up to date. However, if you see a “missing a temporary folder” error, you won’t be able to update your plugins and themes.

Fortunately, this error is easy to fix. By simply adding a code snippet to your wp-config.php file, you can continue to add new images, plugins, and themes as normal. Reconfiguring this folder will provide temporary storage for these files before they’re saved into a permanent directory.

In this post, we’ll explain what the “missing a temporary folder” error is and what causes it. Then, we’ll show you how to fix it in just four simple steps. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to the “Missing a Temporary Folder” Error

When you attempt to upload a file to your website, you might see a “missing a temporary folder” error. This is a common WordPress error that can prevent you from using new images, plugins, or themes.

The “missing a temporary folder” error also stops you from performing software updates. Since WordPress cannot process new files, it won’t be able to update core software, themes, or plugins. This will cancel all of your scheduled automatic updates.

This problem could pose many risks for your website. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to enter your site and steal important data. Without software updates, your site could be at risk of security breaches.

Plus, being unable to install the latest versions of plugins or themes can leave you with outdated features and functionality. If this issue isn’t resolved, you’ll have to use the same media, themes, and plugins that are already installed on your site. Therefore, the “missing a temporary folder” error can also harm your website’s performance.

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What Causes the “Missing a Temporary Folder” Error

The “missing a temporary folder” error is a server-side error that results from an incorrect PHP setting in your site’s hosting environment. Ideally, your hosting provider will configure your server so that WordPress knows where to upload temporary files. If this folder doesn’t exist, you’ll receive the “missing a temporary folder” error.

Essentially, every time you upload an image, theme, or plugin, WordPress stores this data in a temporary folder. Then, your content will be moved to a permanent location in your site files. When WordPress cannot access this temporary folder, it’s unable to complete the upload process.

You can always contact your hosting provider for assistance when this error crops up. However, you can easily define a temporary folder without any help!

How To Fix the “Missing a Temporary Folder” Error in WordPress

Now that you know what the “missing a temporary folder” error is and what causes it, it’s time to learn how to fix it. Even if you’re a beginner, you can easily resolve this error by updating your website’s wp-config.php file.

Since you’ll be editing your site files, we recommend backing up your website first. At Kinsta, we provide automatic daily backups, but you’ll want to check that your data is secure before proceeding.

First, log into your MyKinsta dashboard. Then, navigate to Sites and select your website:

The MyKinsta dashboard
MyKinsta dashboard

Click on the Backups tab on the right-hand side of the page. This will show you a log of your recent backups:

The backups tab in MyKinsta
Click o the backups tab in MyKinsta

If your website hasn’t been backed up recently, you can perform a manual backup. To do this, select Manual and click on Back up now:

Manual backups in MyKinsta
Perform a manual backup

Before editing important site files, you can also enable automatic external backups. This can save your WordPress data to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud storage, preventing any data loss.

A staging site can also provide a safe environment for testing any new changes. After making sure your new code works smoothly, you can push these changes to your live site.

Now that you’ve taken some preventative measures, it’s time to resolve the “missing a temporary folder” error. Keep in mind that if you make a coding mistake during this process, you can easily revert to a backup.

Step 1: Find Your SFTP Login Credentials

To fix the “missing a temporary folder” error, you’ll have to access your site files. Depending on your hosting provider, you can open and modify these files by connecting to a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client or cPanel.

If you have a Kinsta hosting plan, you can find your FTP login credentials in the MyKinsta dashboard. After you log in, select the site you want to modify.

At the top of the page, you’ll see some basic details about your site’s IP address and data center. To access your SFTP login information, navigate to the SFTP/SSH section:

Navigate to the SFTP/SSH section in MyKinsta
Navigate to the SFTP/SSH section

Here, you’ll find your SFTP username, password, and port number. You’ll need to use this information to log into an FTP client. This will enable you to access and edit your site files.

Step 2: Connect to an FTP Client

Now it’s time to download an FTP client. FileZilla is a popular option that supports not only FTP but FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). Whether you have a macOS, Windows, or Linux operating system, you can use FileZilla for free:

FileZilla homepage
FileZilla

After you download FileZilla, you’ll see an option to connect to your site at the top of the page. Here, you’ll need to enter your hostname, username, password, and port:

Enter your hostname, username, password, and port
Enter your hostname, username, password, and port

Then, click on Quickconnect. Once you do this, you might receive an error message. This is because FileZilla uses a default FTP connection:

You might get an error message
Error message

If you have a Kinsta hosting plan, you’ll need to update FileZilla to an SFTP server so that you can connect your account. To do this, go to File > Site Manager:

Click on file then site manager
Click on file, then site manager

Next, click on New site and change the Protocol setting to SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol:

Change the Protocol setting to SFTP - SSH File Transfer Protocol
Change the Protocol setting to SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol

Under the Protocol section, enter the host and port information from your Kinsta dashboard. Then, click on Connect:

Click on connect
Click on the “Connect” button

In the new tab, enter your username and password and select OK:

Enter your username and password
Enter your username and password

That’s it. Now you should be able to access your site files.

Step 3: Add a Code Snippet to Your wp-config.php File

After connecting to your site via FileZilla, you’ll see it listed in the Remote site section. To access your files, simply open the folder with your site name:

Open the folder with your site name
Open the folder with your site name

Then, open the public_html folder and locate the wp-config.php file:

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Open the public_html folder and locate the wp-config.php file
Open the public_html folder and locate the wp-config.php file

To edit the wp-config.php file, right-click on it. From the list of options, select View/Edit:

View and edit wp-config file option
Edit the wp-config file

This will open the wp-config.php file in a text editor. Scroll down to the bottom of the code until you reach the line that says “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.” Right above this line, paste the following code:

define('WP_TEMP_DIR', dirname(__FILE__) .'/wp-content/temp/');</code.

Next, you’ll need to re-upload the wp-config.php file to your site. FileZilla automatically alerts you once you update a file:

Reupload the file
Upload the file again

To upload the file back to the server, click on Yes. The status should tell you that the update was successful.

Now, go back to the public_html folder and find wp-content. In this folder, create a new directory:

Create a new directory
Create new directory

In the pop-up window, name the directory “temp” and click on OK:

Name your directory
Name the directory

This should resolve the “missing a temporary folder” error. To see if you’ve fixed the problem, try to upload an image to your website. If you don’t receive an error, you can skip the next step!

Step 4: Check the wp-content Permissions

If you still can’t upload new images, plugins, or themes, you can update the permissions of your wp-content folder. To do this, go to wp-content and right-click on it. Then, find File Permissions:

Update permission of wp-content folder
Update permission of wp-content folder

This will open a pop-up tab that you can use to customize the permissions for your site files. Make sure that the Numeric value field is set to 755:

Make sure numeric value is set to 755
Set numeric value to 755

After you select OK, you should be able to upload new files to your site without receiving the “missing a temporary folder” error. If the issue persists, you can reach out to your hosting provider for assistance.

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Summary

If your server doesn’t define a temporary folder, WordPress won’t be able to save new files. However, you can easily update this PHP setting with an SFTP client. By editing your wp-config.php file, you can restore your website’s performance.

To review, here’s how you can fix the “missing a temporary folder” error in WordPress:

  1. Find your SFTP login credentials.
  2. Connect to an FTP client.
  3. Add a code snippet to your wp-config.php file.
  4. Check the wp-content permissions.

At Kinsta, our application hosting, database hosting, and managed WordPress hosting plans make it easy to identify and solve performance issues.

If you need assistance, you can always contact the dedicated support team directly on the MyKinsta dashboard!


Save time, costs and maximize site performance with:

  • Instant help from WordPress hosting experts, 24/7.
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  • Global audience reach with 35 data centers worldwide.
  • Optimization with our built-in Application Performance Monitoring.

All of that and much more, in one plan with no long-term contracts, assisted migrations, and a 30-day-money-back-guarantee. Check out our plans or talk to sales to find the plan that’s right for you.