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How to Import External Images in WordPress

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How to Import External Images in WordPress

Did you just migrate your site over to WordPress and realized that your images are still linking to the old source? Importing external images can be difficult at times. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Whether you migrated from Joomla, Weebly, Tumblr,, or another platform, we have the solution for you. In this article, we will show you how to import external images in WordPress with a few easy clicks.

If you used one of the WordPress importers, then your images do get imported by default. You can see if they are imported by going to the Media section in your WordPress admin. If you see that the image is already there, but the post URL is linking to the old source, then you don’t need this article. Instead you need to update URLs using the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin.

For those who don’t see their images in the Media section, please continue reading.

Importing External Images in WordPress

We are going to use a plugin called Import External Images. This plugin makes local copies of all the linked images in a post and add them as gallery attachments for the specific post. First thing you need to do is install and activate this plugin. After activating the plugin, go to Media » Import Images. The plugin will look for and display external images in your posts. All you need to do is click on Import Images Now button to import all these images.

Import external images in WordPress

Import External Images plugin imports 50 images at a time to run smoothly. However if you encounter the memory exhausted error, then you can increase your PHP memory limit. Once it has processed 50 images the plugin will show you the remaining images, click on Import Images Now button again to continue.

It will also show you linked images in the post editor in case you want to import images selectively. All you have to do is go the edit screen of the specific post and import the images that you want.

Import external images inside a post

We hope this article helped you import external images to your WordPress site. If you have any questions or suggestions, then let us know by leaving a comment below.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Lynn Dye says:

    I was looking at manually importing images from a live to a staging site for over 60 posts. Then decided to do a search and found this article!

    It saved me hours of time – thank you and I have left a favorable review of the plugin too!

  2. Dani Kemeny says:

    It worked well except I get this message: No images imported – you might want to check whether they still exist!

    And they do exist, i can still see them in my old blog. What am i doing wrong?

    • Shannon says:

      Did you ever find a solution to this? I just installed and all my images are saying “No images imported – you might want to check whether they still exist!”

  3. Heidi Goehmann says:

    Thank you so much! Extremely succinct and helpful article.

  4. Bart Van Deuren says:

    Thx Guys. This really helped me out on aproject !

  5. kiranbhai says:

    wow… !! your tips Your tips made my job easy.. Can I remove the plugin now ? please help and suggestion

  6. BJ says:

    This transferred very few images for me, by few I mean (20ct out of over 1000). Help!

  7. Lawrence says:

    Didn’t work for me… The Library is still empty + there are no images on my post. What can I do now?


  8. Cat Olson says:

    Hi there,
    I used this plugin and it worked for one of my 21 posts. I see the images in my posts, but not in my media library. How to fix that?

  9. Nurak says:

    I don’t see anything below the ‘Process all posts” including the ‘Import Images Now’ button which I supposed to see as per the plugin documentation in WP 4.4.1.

    Is it working for you?

  10. rachel wills says:

    Very new to wordpress.

    This plugin worked as now I have all 1500 photos in my media library. But none the photos are showing in their respective posts. How do I get the photos to show up in the individual posts on the wordpress site?


  11. Yasmine says:

    Can some please tell me how to get my other images imported. After it imported the first 20 images, there are no other images to import, which there are tons of images that were left out. Do I need to download a different plugin?

  12. Sarah Claire says:

    Thank you so much for these tutorials! I have used several, and you basically solved so many issues for me. I went from being disappointed to thrilled about my blog! Many thanks

  13. Jenni says:

    Hello: To start with, I’m very thankful for the ease of this plug-in!

    All the images but the last few years of my old blogger blog were transferred without trouble (since 2009). The plug-in said it imported all the images. It looks like everything since 2012 wasn’t pulled over. It is possible that is when I started using Microsoft Live Writer to write posts. I have not posted anything on the old blog since 2014. Any thoughts on how to get the images from those two years over as well?

    • Rachel says:

      Did you figure out how to fix this? Nothing from 2016 pulled over from my blog, which is a lot!

  14. Karen says:

    You all are awesome. Help comments here are perfect. Thank you!

  15. Steve Erdmann says:

    Clear as mud: doesn’t help the beginner, beginner who doesn’t know about widgets and plugins and junk: stop teaching beginners as if they are veteran pros, but infant beginners. Plainly: how to convert web photos into jpeg that can be used on WordPress, and how to do this?

  16. zarina el kabdani says:

    I am new to WP and just migrating from Blogger. Thank you so much for this helpful post! ^_^

  17. Rivaldy says:

    I use this plugin before, but I don’t know why the plugin remove all of my post pictures. When I look with browser inspect element, the tag is there but the width and height is 1px. But when I disable this plugin it’s goes normally. Can you help me with this issue?

  18. Angela Tolsma says:

    I have been really loving your articles and I am sorry to ask a question on an old one. But how do you sort your images into folders once they’ve been imported. I have 3000 images and I find it overwhelming to figure out in the media library. Is there a better way to sort them?? I have tried wp photo album plus but can’t seem to make it work in media library. Any help would be great.

  19. Marina says:

    OMG lifesaver right here!!!!

  20. Claire says:

    OMG! Thank you! I’ve been looking for this sort of answer for ages – the WP forum was ZERO help!

  21. Nico says:

    When i click “Import images now” it doesn’t do anything. any alternatives please?

    • Keomony says:

      I just imported woocommerce products and i saw them in products section. then I tried to import the images (as I didn’t see them in media), however this is the message i get.

      “Process all posts
      We didn’t find any external images to import. You’re all set!”

      what should I do?

  22. MiniC says:

    Thank you so much for this cool plugin. It worked very well. For myself I’m missing the possibility to import the title, description and alt tag from images, too. I think it must be possible to import this tags, because they are inside the img tag. Does anybody has an idea for this?

  23. Jean says:

    I was really excited about this plugin since I just migrated my 6yo blog from Typepad to WordPress and none of the images from the 1500 posts show up in the media library. However, It’s not working for me and I’m not sure what I might be doing wrong. I’m pretty sure I followed all your directions. I get this at the top of my site:

    Notice: Constant EXTERNAL_IMAGES_DIR already defined in /var/www/ on line 37

    And more error messages inside the Media / Import page.

    Any ideas on how to move forward?

  24. Dana K Cassell says:

    The plug-in worked like a charm to bring the images in to my newly moved blog Library. However, the images on the posts are still pulling from the old blog domain. What did I miss or what do I need to do to redirect them to my new Library?

    • Dana K Cassell says:

      I think I figured it out – I went clicked on image – then edit image – then Link URL – it goes right to the new blog’s image. I don’t have too many – a dozen or so, so not a problem. Thanks again for your plug-in.

      • Emily Robbins says:

        I was wondering about this as well – and as I have a LOT of images I’m going to be importing over for a client, manually editing the Link URL for each of the images isn’t really a feasible option — is there any way to automate this process? Much thanks in advance!

  25. Erika says:

    This plugin just saved my day. I migrated my blog from an old domain and thought I’d lose all my images because of the domain forwarding.

    Thanks a lot.

  26. Eskedar says:

    Good work!

    It only import 50 images. How can I get all other pictures imported?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      After you have imported the first 50 images, repeat the same process again and the plugin will start importing the next 50 external images.

  27. Wade says:

    The plugin work great with the exception of not being able to recognize and import external links with the .jpeg extension.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      you should report it to the plugin author and they might add this in next version or let you know why it cant recognize jpeg extension

  28. Semblance says:

    Hey Marty.
    You plugin really saved my life today :)
    Brilliant indeed and I am sure there must be loads of people that have the need for this plugin at some point.
    Thanks again!

  29. Marty Thornley says:

    Wow! You found my plugin!

    So I am the programmer behind this an I love randomly finding a write up of one of my plugins. I am glad it could help some people out!

    I am VERY open to ideas that might improve it. I know a few things are lacking right now like support for custom post types.

    Please, please report any ideas and bugs to me and I will improve it as much as I can!

    @Ajay thi should recognize any image within the content area, not just attachments. That was the whole point actually. I don’t like the way the import process works so I skip all attachment imports then scan the content with this plugin and import images separately after the fact so the point was to find unattached images and import and attach them. If that’s not how it is working for you let me know.

    • Editorial Staff says:

      Thank you for leaving a comment Marty. We really appreciate your plugin :)

    • Ajay says:

      It’s working great for the external images. Made life extremely easy for me.

      I was actually thinking of the internal images option as well that aren’t showing up as attachments, but of course that isn’t the purpose of your plugin

    • Fail to function says:

      Tried using this app to get pics off of my Blogger into my WP. Pulled only one pic. Attempting to re-do, says “We didn’t find any external images to import. You’re all set!”

      Now I am doing it the hard way. one pic at a time.

  30. Sopheak says:

    Wow, it’s work great! …

    My guests post always copy images from external sites.

    This post’s helpful.


  31. Ajay says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve had a painful experience with many of my guest posts which had images linked to external sites.

    Do you have any recommended plugin for converting images from old posts (pre attachment days) of WordPress into attachments?

  32. Manoj Kumar S says:

    You guys doing great work for new bloggers like me. Thank you :)

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