Updating WordPress Automatically over SFTP

Heres a quick how to on getting wordpress to update over SFTP. On a default install of php, wordpress only gives the option to update over FTP. I wanted to get it working as it’s more secure and means I don’t have to open up FTP on my virtual server and open another port up in the firewall.

I’m using ubuntu and the sequence of commands I followed were:

sudo apt-get install libssh2-1-dev libssh2-php

You should now find that if you list the modules installed in php and check if ssh2 is now there, you get the result “ssh2″:

php -m | grep ssh2

You’ll need to restart apache for the changes to begin being used.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

If you head to updates in your dashboard, you should now see an extra option “SSH2″ and spaces for public and private authentication keys. I had to head back to the terminal and create these particular files.

cd ~
cat .ssh/id_rsa.pub >> .ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 755 .ssh
chmod 644 .ssh/*
sudo chown -R ian:www-data /var/www/pathtowordpress/

Now you can head into the updates page again, enter your username and password and the locations to your public and private keys (/home/ian/.ssh/id_rsa.pub and /home/ian/.ssh/id_rsa in my case). If you’re running ssh on a non standard port, be sure to append that to your hostname.

Thanks to the following helpful posts: http://kevin.vanzonneveld.net/techblog/article/make_ssh_connections_with_php/

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