Clean Up Your WordPress Media Library

Is your WordPress media library a bit of a mess? We love WordPress at Cornershop. It’s the world’s most popular and intuitive content management system, powering more than one third of the internet. I could talk for hours — and have — about the amazing features that have made WordPress what it is today, but...

One of the features that WordPress has not improved lately is the media library. It’s so easy to quickly upload images, PDFs, and other media files that your files can quickly become cluttered.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you need an image for your blog post. You know you’ve uploaded the perfect image before and have spent the last 10 minutes searching the media library for it with no luck. In the end, you decide to upload the same image again.

It’s much easier to just upload a new file than it is to hope something will be returned with a search. Over time, what started as something awesomely convenient and easy to use ends up being a tangled mess of files.

And this mess can be costly: as the number of files goes up, your database and filesystem gets more and more crowded, potentially costing you money on storage space and slowing down your website by causing your browser to download multiple copies of the same image.

Clean up duplicate files with Media Deduper.

Bring order to the chaos of your media library, and download Media Deduper.

This plugin helps you find and eliminate duplicate files from your WordPress media library, and it prevents future duplicates.

Once installed and running, the Media Deduper does two main things:

  1. It duplicates your media files list. This list helps the plugin identify redundant files so you can easily delete all but one copy of your file.
  2. It blocks duplicate files. Media Deduper scans files as they’re uploaded to see if the files are already in your library. If it determines that you’re uploading a duplicate, it will point you to the existing file, instead. No more accidental duplicates!

Media Deduper Pro will create an index of all duplicate files on your site and will allow you to merge them. It also prevents future duplicates from being uploaded. This plugin works with dozens of popular plugins like Advanced Custom Fields Pro, JetPack, WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, and Gravity Forms.

Make sure you backup your site (and uploads directory) before using this plugin. This plugin is a must-have for any site, especially if you have multiple web managers. Spring for the $20 for the Pro version, so you can get the smart delete feature.

Even if Media Deduper Pro is not for you, here are some other great plugins built to improve and optimize your WordPress media library.

Compress WordPress images easily with Imagify.

Over-sized images are one of the biggest issues that will slow down your site. Websites that are getting larger use more resources and therefore are getting slower. If images aren’t compressed to the correct size, it causes slower load times and can lead to frustration among your users. A quick installation of this Imagify will compress images in a matter of minutes, without losing any image resolution.

There are many payment options including one-time plans, as well as monthly subscriptions. Either way, this plugin is a must for anyone who wants a fast site!

Organize your media library with Filebird.

This free plugin creates folders in the WordPress media library. Gone are the days of just having a giant list of thousands of images. FileBird provides you all the control directly in the media library and easily allows you to create an unlimited number of folders and to organize media easily. You can also group images through an easy drag-and-drop interface. The plugin is compatible with dozens of popular visual builders and plugins.

Clean up unused media files with Regenerate Thumbnails.

Regenerate Thumbnails is a useful plugin that does exactly what it says: regenerates thumbnails for select or all images on your site. This can be useful if you introduce a new thumbnail size, change dimensions of existing thumbnails, or change themes. One of the nicer features is that the plugin cleans up after itself. It can delete old, unused thumbnails to free up server space.

Organize your file names with Media File Renamer.

This plugin allows you to rename your media files. This can be helpful to replace those long, ugly URLs with spaces and other special characters. Media File Renamer makes your images much more SEO friendly and keeps your WordPress media library nice and tidy. All references to the old file names are replaced and updated. The free version is great, and the premium version offers some extra tools for developers at only $24.

Replace files easily with Enable Media Replace.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the media library is that you can’t easily replace an existing file. If you upload the wrong file, you have to delete it, upload the new file, and manually go through the site to replace it (leading to the necessity of Media Deduper).

Enable Media Replace allows you to upload a new file on the media edit screen. You can then replace the file OR replace the file, use a new file name, and update all links. The latter option can be helpful if you’re replacing a PDF and the report name changed.

Use these plugins to bring your media library to the next level. Your website will be faster, your media files will be neat and tidy, and it'll be even easier to create new content to keep your site visitors engaged.