So you’ve just installed a shiny new copy of WordPress via command line on your even shinier Linode box and the helpful guides Linode provide for setting up a database and your initial WordPress install went well. If you’re used to installing plugins from within WordPress instead of manually you most likely would have run into the issue of WordPress asking you for FTP connection details to install the plugin.
Why? The reason is because the files on your server aren’t owned by the Apache instance owner but rather owned as the user currently logged in (most likely root or another user you’ve created). The fix for this is simple and shouldn’t cause any security issues. Some people prefer to manually upload and install plugins but sometimes having everything done automatically is a lot simpler — not to mention when it comes time to installing updates it’s easier to click an update link than delete and override old plugin files or WordPress core files.
Anyways, enough talking. Login to your Linode box as a sudo user or user with appropriate permissions and go into the root directory of your WordPress install if you’re running Ubuntu (which you most likely are) then your site is most likely in /var/www — once you’re in the root of your site where the wp-content, wp-admin and wp-config.php file is run the below command and you should now be able to perform updates and install plugins/themes automatically without needing to enter any information.
chown -R www-data:www-data *
Basically the above command will change all files and folders (hence the -R part which means recursive) to be owned by the same user and group as the Apache instance is being run by. Simple.