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WPML needs the languages folder in WordPress to be writable to save .mo files for String Translation. If a message appears saying WPML cannot write MO files, you’re likely facing a file permission issue. The steps to grant write permission differ between localhost setups and hosted environments.

How can I grant permission on my Localhost?

First, locate your WordPress installation directory on your local server. Within this directory, find the wp-content folder and then the languages folder inside. Follow the steps tailored to your operating system:

Making the “languages” folder writable on Windows

Right-click the languages folder, select Properties, and go to the Security tab. Click on the Edit button and make the folder writable.

Making the “languages” folder writable on Mac

Right-click the languages folder and select Get Info. In Sharing & Permissions, change the Privilege for your user to Read & Write.

WordPress can now automatically download and update language files as needed for your local site.

How do I grant write permission if I have access to the hosting control panel software?

If your web host gave you access to the hosting control panel software, you can change the file permissions yourself. For example, with cPanel:

  1. Log in to your cPanel account and click on File Manager in the Files section.
  2. Locate the root directory of your site, usually named public_html, and open it.
  3. Click on the wp-content folder and find the languages folder inside.
  4. Right-click on the languages folder and select Change Permissions from the dropdown menu. 
  5. Set the permissions to 755 and click on Change Permissions to save.
Granting Write permission for the languages folder in cPanel

If I don’t have write permission, how can I get my hosting company to grant it to me?

Most hosting companies do not allow you to modify write permissions for folders directly. If you are using a shared or managed host, you will need to request help to make this directory writable. 

WPML’s error message will give the full path of the folder that needs changing. Share this path with your hosting company and ask them to make it writable so WPML can save its MO files. This folder is safe to open as it is where WordPress stores MO files it downloads for you.

What should I do if I can’t make the languages folder writable?

If you are using a version of WPML older than WPML 4.3 and cannot get the languages folder to be writable, please open a ticket in our support forum.