Setup The WordPress Media Settings

The WordPress Media Settings

About This Lesson

In this lesson I’ll walk you through how to setup the WordPress media settings and explain what these settings will do on your site.

The media settings are related to uploading images and media to your site.

By the end of this lesson you’ll know how to,

  • Configure WordPress so you can upload media. (You’ll only need to do this if you manually installed WordPress.)
  • Set three different image sizes when you upload an image to your site
  • Organize uploads into month and year based folders and I’ll cover why you might do this

Before doing this you’ll need to have installed WordPress. You can do this one of two ways,

1) Install WordPress with SiteGround (The Quick & Easy Way)

2) Install WordPress manually

And you’ll need to have,

3) Understood what WordPress is & how it works

4) Learnt how to login to your WordPress site

5) Learnt how to navigate around WordPress

It’s also worth noting, this lesson, is a part of a series of lessons which show you how to setup WordPress. You can see the other lessons in this series by visiting the links below.

Action Steps

This lesson’s a short one, there’s only two main areas we need to go through,

1) Image sizes

2) Uploading files

However, if you installed WordPress manually, you’ll need to create an “uploads” folder and make it “writable”

Course Navigation

How To Create A Website Course

This is Step 3 Part 5 – See the full course here!

How To Use WordPress Course

This is Step 3 Part 5 – See the full course here!

Read All About It

First of all, to get to the media settings you need to login to the admin area of your WordPress site.

Then on the left hand side, hover over the menu item Settings, and click Media.

The WordPress Media Settings

There are only two settings to customize in the media settings, so let me quickly walk you through them.

Image Sizes

WordPress Media Settings

When you upload an image to your site, WordPress will automatically add three extra versions of the same image but make them different sizes.

So when you upload an image you’ll get,

  • A full size image (the original image)
  • A thumbnail
  • A medium size
  • A large size

The “Image Sizes” setting, let’s you choose what sizes these images will be.

What You Need To Know About “Image Sizes”

Thumbnail Size: – You have the option to,

Crop thumbnail to exact dimensions (normally thumbnails are proportional)

If you tick this option, it will make the thumbnail version of the image you upload the exact width and height you set.

So, if you upload an image that is 210 X 300, but have your thumbnail set to 150 x 150, WordPress will make the thumbnail image fit the exact dimensions of 150 X 150.

This makes all your thumbnails the exact same size.

However this can sometimes cause problems, as the image re-sizing is not proportional like the medium or large size. This can lead to the image being distorted or cut off. So bare that in mind. Or just keep this unticked.

Medium/Large Size: – With these sizes WordPress will resize the images proportionally and images won’t exceed the width or height you set.

Let Me Explain All Of This With An Example

If I set the sizes to the following,

  • Thumbnail (Note: this it with the option ticked)
    • 150 X 150
  • Medium
    • 300 X 300
  • Large
    • 1024 X 1024

If I then upload an image with the dimensions of 1500 X 1181. These are the sizes WordPress will create,

Example of image sizes

Thumbnail: WordPress has made the thumbnail exactly 150 X 150

Medium: WordPress makes this image no bigger than 300 in width, but because it re-sizes the images proportionally, the height is only 236.

Large: WordPress makes this image no bigger than 1024 in width, but because it re-sizes the images proportionally, the height is only 806.

Side Note: WordPress creates these additional images when you first upload the image. If you change these sizes later on, you’ll need to upload the image again for WordPress to create the new sizes.

How To “Turn This Off”

If you don’t want WordPress creating three additional images, simply put 0 in all of the boxes, (like in the image below). This effectively turns this feature off and means WordPress will only upload one image, (the original image).

This is what I sometimes do. Then if I need different size images I simply create them outside of WordPress, then upload the two images to my site. This means I can make the images the exact size I need.

Turning Image Sizes Off

Uploading Files

The next, and last setting is “Uploading Files”.

By default when you upload media to your site it gets stored into a folder within your WordPress install. This folder is, /wp-content/uploads/. (Which you can see in the image below).

Uploading Media Files

Because ALL of your media will go into this one folder, this can make it cluttered with too many images, pdf’s, videos, etc

However with the “Uploading Files” setting, you can choose to store media into year and month based folders inside the /wp-content/uploads/ folder.

So for example, if you upload a file in April 2015, this will be placed into a folder “2015”, and then into a folder “04”, or, wp-content/uploads/2015/04.

And if you upload a file in May 2015, this will be placed into a folder “2015”, and then into a folder “05”, or, wp-content/uploads/2015/05.

I suggest ticking this option. But the choice is yours. Either way works.

If You Manually Installed WordPress

If you manually installed WordPress, to be able to uploads images to your site you’ll need to create an “uploads” folder and make it “writable”.

If you don’t do this, you’ll get the following error message when you try and upload some media. (See the image below for an example of this.)

“image.JPG” has failed to upload due to an error

Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads/2014/04. Is its parent directory writable by the server?

Unable To Create Directory

To learn how to create an uploads folder, see this extra lesson I created for you. (This’ll take you less than five minutes to complete!)

And that’s it for the media settings.

Complete Setting Up WordPress

This lesson is a part of a series of lessons, which show you how to setup WordPress. You can see the other lessons in this series by visiting the links below.

Or if you want to save some time, check out my quick WordPress settings lesson.

Next Steps

When you’ve finished setting up WordPress, the next steps in creating your website and learning how to use WordPress, is to learn how WordPress posts and pages work, so you can then start creating the content that will make up your site!