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How to Fix Common Image Issues in WordPress

WordPress comes with some pretty neat tools to manage and edit images. You can easily upload images, align them, and even edit them inside WordPress.

Most beginners are not aware of these WordPress image editing features. It takes users a while to discover out some of them while other features go completely unnoticed.

If you ever had a question about WordPress images, then you’re in luck. In this article, we will cover the most common image issues in WordPress and how to fix them.

Fixing common image issues in WordPress

Since this is a detailed article, here is the list of image related issues that we will cover this article.

  1. How to Upload Images in WordPress?
  2. How to Align Image to the Left or Right in WordPress?
  3. How to Add Caption below Images?
  4. How to Display Photos in Columns and Rows?
  5. Create Beautiful Responsive Image Galleries in WordPress
  6. How to Fix Missing Post Thumbnails / Featured Image?
  7. How to Add Cover Images in WordPress Posts and Pages
  8. How to Fix Featured Image Appearing Twice Issue?
  9. Image too Big? How to Crop Images in WordPress?
  10. How to Add a Header Image in WordPress?
  11. How to Add a Background Image in WordPress?
  12. How to Find Free Images for Your WordPress Blog Posts?
  13. How to Tag Images in WordPress?
  14. How to Import External Images in WordPress?
  15. How to Require Featured Image for Posts in WordPress?
  16. How to Set a Default Featured Image in WordPress?

Let’s start with the most obvious one.

1. How to Upload images in WordPress?

WordPress makes it super easy to upload images to your posts, pages, and non-content areas like sidebars.

To upload images in WordPress posts and pages, you simply need to add the image block to the content editor.

Adding an image block to a WordPress post or page

You can also add the image block by simply typing /image in a paragraph block. The editor will start showing blocks you can insert as soon as you start typing.

Adding image block

WordPress will now add the image block to the editor. You need to click on the ‘Upload’ button to select and upload the image from your computer.

Select and upload image

You can also select a previously uploaded image from your media library.

After uploading the image, you’ll see a live preview of the image in the content editor.

Image preview

You’ll see a bunch of image settings on the right panel. From there you can provide image alt text, select image size, and image style.

2. How to Align Image to the Left or Right in WordPress?

WordPress makes it easier to align images to the left, right, or center. Simply select the image by clicking on it, and then click on alignment button from the block toolbar.

Image alignment options

You may have noticed how some popular blogs use images with text wrapped around them. This is done by using the align feature.

Image aligned left with text on the right

Alternatively, you can also use the ‘Media & Text’ block instead of the image block. This block is made specifically for adding images next to the text.

Media and text block

You can then upload an image and text side by side. You can also use the block toolbar to change the image or text side.

Image next to the text in WordPress

3. How to Add Caption below Images?

WordPress allows you to easily add caption for images. After you upload an image, you’ll see the option to add caption right below the image preview.

Write caption for an image in WordPress

Similarly, you can also add captions to image galleries in WordPress. For more details, see our guide on how to add captions to images in WordPress.

4. How to Display Photos in Columns and Rows?

Often users ask us how to neatly display photos in columns and rows.

Let’s say you want to share photos of a birthday party or vacation photos. You can add them one by one into a post, but this will look like a lengthy list of images.

The better way to group your photos is by creating image galleries.

WordPress comes with a built-in gallery block that allows you to easily add images in rows and columns with thumbnail previews.

Simply add the gallery block to the post editor and select the images you want to upload.

Adding a gallery in WordPress

For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to create an image gallery in WordPress.

5. Create Beautiful Responsive Image Galleries in WordPress

Envira Gallery

You will notice that the default WordPress image galleries lack several features. For instance, they are also not very easy to browse.

If you often upload images and photographs to your WordPress site, then you will need a proper WordPress photo gallery plugin.

We recommend using Envira Gallery. It allows you to easily create beautiful and fully mobile-friendly image galleries on your WordPress site.

The best part is that it adds additional functionality like albums, gallery templates, social sharing, slideshows, watermarking, pagination, password protection, tagging, fullscreen view, and much more.

6. How to Fix Missing Post Thumbnails / Featured Image?

Most WordPress themes allow you to prominently display a featured image with your articles. Here is how to set a featured image in WordPress to avoid missing thumbnails.

Setting a featured image for a WordPress post

Now, you can click on ‘Set Featured Image’ to upload your post thumbnail. After uploading the image, you’ll be able to see your post thumbnail in the featured image meta box like this:

Featured image preview in post editor

For more details, see our guide on how to add featured image or post thumbnail in WordPress.

7. How to Add Cover Images in WordPress Posts and Pages

Cover images are the wide or full-width images that can be used as a separator between different sections of an article or a lengthy sales page.

They are highly engaging and help users easily scan a page without feeling overwhelmed by too much text.

To add a cover image, you simply need to add the ‘Cover’ block to the content editor.

Adding cover block to WordPress post editor

Next, you need to upload the image you want to use from your computer or select one from the media library. If you don’t want to use an image, then you can also select a color background as the cover.

Tip: It is best to use a large image for a better result.

You’ll now see a liver preview of your cover image in the editor. You can change the cover image display options from the block toolbar or using the settings on the right.

Cover image preview

To learn more see our guide on the difference between cover image vs featured image in WordPress and how to use them effectively.

8. How to Fix Featured Image Appearing Twice Issue?

Inserting the featured image inside content is a common mistake made by beginners.

Once you set a featured image, you don’t need to insert it into the post editor along with your post content.

Doing so, will make your featured image appear twice. Once as the featured image, and once as an image inside the post.

Featured image appearing twice

You can add other images in your post, but your featured image goes in the featured image box.

For more details, see our guide on how to fix featured image appearing twice in WordPress posts.

9. Image too Big? How to Crop Images in WordPress?

When you are uploading images from your phone or camera they are usually too big.

WordPress automatically creates small, medium, and large image sizes for your original upload. But sometimes you may need to crop the image in a different size.

WordPress is no Photoshop, but it comes with some basic image editing features like scale, crop, flip and rotate images.

Go to Media » Add New and upload your image. After uploading the image, you will see an Edit link next to the uploaded image.

Clicking on it will open the Edit Media screen where you will see an Edit Image button right below the image. This will open the WordPress image editor.

Editing image in WordPress

From here you can click on the ‘Edit Image’ button below the image preview. This will open the image editing screen.

On the image editor screen, you will see buttons to perform some basic image editing tasks such as cropping, rotating, resizing, etc.

WordPress image editing features

For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to crop, rotate, scale, and flip images in WordPress.

10. How to Add a Header Image in WordPress?

A header image in WordPress is a theme feature. Many WordPress free and premium themes comes with support for header image.

You can upload your own custom header image from the Appearance » Customize page.

Header options

Since it is a theme feature, many WordPress themes come with their own header options. Some allow you to set a site-wide header image, while others allow you to only set a header image for the homepage.

11. How to Add a Background Image in WordPress?

Just like the custom header image, custom background image is also a WordPress theme feature. Many WordPress themes come with support for custom background images.

Visit Appearance » Customize to launch the theme customizer. If you can see the Background Image option, then your theme has support for custom backgrounds.

Custom background

It is a theme feature which is why it varies from one theme to another. Depending on your theme you’ll see different options for styling your background image.

If your theme does not support background image, then you can still use a plugin to add full-screen background images to your website.

12. How to Find Free Images for Your WordPress Blog Posts?

Finding images for blog posts

Images can make your articles stand out. However, you must respect copyrights of other people and try to find images that you are legally allowed to use.

We are often asked by our readers about how to find best royalty free images to use in their posts?

There are many websites where you can find free images to use. However, you will soon notice that images on those sites look overused and generic.

See our list of the best sources for free public domain and CC0-licensed images on the internet.

13. How to Tag Images in WordPress?

If you run a photography blog, then you will notice that WordPress does not allow you to sort photos and images.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could add tags to your images, so that you and your users can easily browse them?

Luckily, there are some great plugins that allow you to do just that.

For a photography related blog, the best option is to use Envira Gallery which comes with an add-on to add tags.

Envira Gallery allows you to create beautiful, mobile-ready, photo galleries in WordPress. Using tags, your users can easily filter and sort photos without even reloading a page.

Envira Gallery tags feature

For more details, see our article on how to add categories and tags to WordPress media library.

14. How to Import External Images in WordPress?

This question often comes up when you are migrating your site to WordPress. Some images on your website may still be pointing to older location.

Specially users importing blogs from Blogger, Squarespace, or may face this problem.

While the images on your site may appear correctly, they are still loading from external source. To solve this issue, all you need to do is install and activate Auto Upload Images plugin.

Auto upload image settings

The plugin will check for external images once you update or save any post or page. You can manually do that for each post or page or you can bulk edit all posts and simply click the update button.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to import external images in WordPress.

15. How to Require Featured Image for Posts in WordPress?

When running a multi-author site in WordPress, some of your authors may not be familiar with the featured image functionality.

In this case, you may want to remind yourself or your users to upload a featured image whenever they are submitting a post in WordPress.

You can do this by installing and activating the Require Featured Image plugin.

Once activated, the plugin will display a notification box in the post edit area, informing users that this post requires a featured image.

Require featured image

You and your users will be able to save posts as drafts, but you cannot publish the post until you add a featured image.

See our article on how to require featured images for posts in WordPress for more instructions.

16. How to Set a Default Featured Image in WordPress?

Finding the perfect featured image for every post or article is a tough task. Sometimes you may not want to add a featured image to a post, but your theme may look awkward without a featured image.

This is where a default featured image can come in handy. A default featured image is used when an article does not have a featured image of its own.

You can set a default featured image by using the default featured image plugin.

Default featured image

We hope this article helped you fix some of the most common image issues in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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Reader Interactions

259 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Help I had a background image and for some reason its gone. I have tried reassigning it, re-uploading it, and changing the image all together. I have even tried changing my theme and nothing works it doesnt show. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me

  2. Need help. I’m using Seos Music theme and all my posts that get published on my primary page are automatically aligned to the right. In the archive pages its correctly aligned. According to seos music theme it shouldn’t be doing this but I probably added a plugin for something else and it ruined this. Do you know which classes to look for to fix this issue if you ever heard of this happening?

  3. To fix the hhtp error when uploading images I tried loads of fixes listed on various websites, however the fix that worked for me was to add a line of code to the .htaccess file to modify the PHP version being used.

    The default our web hosting provider was using 5.5, but 5.6 and 7.0 can also be specified.

    Adding the following line of code to the .htaccess file cured the image upload issue for me on various sites.

    AddHandler application/x-httpd-php56 .php

    (Note the gap before .php should be left exactly as shown)

    For 7.0 it would be:
    AddHandler application/x-httpd-php70 .php

    Your web hosting provider should be able to advise you what versions of PHP they support.

  4. hi, I see many helpful tips in your article, however I can’t use them because somehow I do not seem to get an editing screen like yours. Mine does not have any buttons for cropping, scaling or mirroring and things like that. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

  5. Thank you for a great article.
    I would like to know how can I optimize my wordpress webpage by taking into consideration sizes of the images to load.

    What is really strange is the fact that my full webpage is loading much faster (it has almost half of the size as my mobile version). In fact, I can observe that wordpress tries to download bigger image files for my mobile version that for the full webpage.
    I have tried to force images to have “medium” size, but nonetheless they are not loading this way on mobile (it was tester in network tab in dev tools).

    Just to add, I have tried to minimize my images in various ways. I upload 1200 x 900 image and then it is resized by wordpress. Somehow, wordpress forces to load bigger images than needed – sometimes it is loading full image and sometimes in the resolution belonging to “medium-large” size.
    What is really strange is the fact that when wordpress processes my 1200 x 900 image it produces another image with the same resolution that is bigger than my initial file.

    Could you please let me know what is the best way of dealing with the problem described?

  6. Hello-

    this site is absolutely amazing!! thank you for all the valuable inside.

    i had a question about my header. I have a not so wonderful premium theme. I added the image to my site, but it only appears on the left corner on a laptop browser. I looks perfect on my iPad though. Anyone one else experience or have any advise? thanks

  7. Hi I wondering, I can not insert photos with this add media button. Even I click on it nothing happen.

  8. Hi,

    I have the following problem listed below.
    When I select a photo to integrate in my post as a featured image, it displays ok within the home page and also in my post page however when i try to edit my image like cropping/rotating/mirroring etc. the image is not shown. The link of the image is broken it appears.

    Could you advise, please ?

  9. Very helpful article thanks.

    Can you tell me why some images that I have added into my posts appear to ‘move’ when hovered over yet others do not? I love the look of this and would like it to happen consistently across my images.

    A pdf version of this would be awesome!

  10. Good article, but the problem I’m having is I edited a picture using picmonkey and used that as my featured image and now, at the top of my post, the featured image is left-aligned. How do I fix that??? There are no options for alignment (or much else) on featured images.

  11. Hi,

    m using the twenty sixteen child theme and I’m working on speeding up my loading time. I used pingdom for the speed check. My home page came out as the third biggest file while the page only contains 1 image of 600 x 400 and my other pages got sliders with more than 10 images. So I dont understand why the file size of my homepage is so big. And how I should ajdust this. I have inserted the image with insert media and not with a featured image. Not sure what the difference is. But when I use featured images the file will become even bigger.

    Hopefully you can help me out on this.


  12. i have used your ewww optimizer to optimize images it did a great work on it but as soon as it is done some fatal error occured and some background scripting is going on which gets me internal server error ..when i contacted my host administrators they said some png images are causing this problem ..i analyzed it in gmetrix and i got this as errors under leverage cached browsing my website is entirely down now please help

    • and to add to that issues they said these process are constantly running even after killing them screen shot is posted please help me solve this

  13. I have a problem that when I upload and publish an image in our blog, it shows differently on the web vs mobile device. It will be upside on web, but rightside up on mobile. Any ideas? Anyone else see this problem?

  14. Hi! Somehow the insert as a thumbnail and link to the original file – options have disappeared from my wordpress site when adding a new picture. How can I fix this? The theme I use is called Matala. Could you help me?

  15. I want to make a video streaming website like netflix. I mean same to same can i make with wordpress

  16. That was very helpful, thanks. I’ve mostly learned most of these things by trial and error, so I’m glad you gave me more information… The one thing I can’t seem to figure out is how to know when (and fix!) photos appear upside down. They look fine to me as the author but I’ll get comments from readers about them being upside down. Help please!

  17. Hi
    When I add one image(929×400) to post there is not problem,
    but when I want to Putting Multiple Images(452×400) On One Line,its appear column,and I cant put it on one line,while there is enough width for putting.
    (2×452<929).what is problem?

  18. Hi I am have problem of with my site how can I stop to see my post image and my features image appearing in home page and also how to stop situation I upload a video on my site and upload features image appearing my phone. What is the solution to these problem of video and features imgaes appearing in features image please help taken and cause

  19. Thanks for a great article. My featured images have captions, but they don’t show up in the post. I don’t care that much, but I thought we were supposed to give credit to the photographer and link to the creative commons license to be legal?

  20. Hello!

    The images in my blog are showing little cropped up. But in internet explorer it is showing correct. What should i do? Please suggest.

  21. Hello can you help me check up on my website, Both featured image and images inside post are not showing.

  22. Please, images are showing up on my blog posts. I use same theme and settings on another blog and they are working fine. Help me.

  23. I am creating images for someone else who is placing them in wp. They have pictures and text. I use InDesign to arrange things and have saved the image as a jpeg. The type appears all blurry and bitmapped no matter how large I make the document. (4200 x 4800 pixels). What is the best way to create/save images?

  24. In the last 2 weeks, all the image in the media library stopped showing. i suspect something changed the file format. pls what can i do?

  25. Hello,

    This article is actually really handy. Just I need to know how to set a default featured image for my homepage on I have a feature set as the front page, and have tried to change the featured image to the logo. Rather oddly, as it is a feature that changes weekly, it only ever comes up with the week before’s content.

    Could you help me? I’m going crazy over here

  26. this post is pretty resourceful for beginners, BUT my problem is with uploading media on the backend. For several hours I’ve been frustrated with this issue – it’s just not working.

    Initially, I thought it was the size of the images, but miraculously, 2 bigger sizes as compared to the others I’ve been trying to upload, have been successful. Then I figured it could be the resolution, but that’s also not the issue.

    I keep receiving the HTTP ERROR notification after a slow process.

    What am I not doing right? What do I do about this? I need help urgently. Thanks a million.

    • Were you able to fix this eventually? How did you do it please? I’m having the same problem as well

  27. Featured images in posts are not visible on cell phones and tablets. They look fine on desktops. Problem started after updating WP and Enfold theme.

    • I am not able to see my features images or header images on my mobile device anymore. Nor is the contact form showing up these things are very important as to most of my viewers will be on cell phone or iPad. What could be the issue?

  28. Hi there,

    Great post but I still can’t find my issue and have looked and looked. I have a website and have only just noticed that when i go to my posts if i click on the image is shows a very large photo. usually on its own and i have to click back to remove seeing it. Can you help me undersand what setting i need to do so that the photo becomes sticky I guess and not an active large photo.

    I have wp smushit to reduce image size and have check page load and it appears it is the images as the main culprit.

    Many thanks Help !!

  29. Don’t know how to get my wp content and its giving me a lot of difficulty to rectify my “featured image writing fail to write file to hard disk”.

  30. We created a Photo Gallery using WordPress. When I first go to the Photo Gallery page, a blue box pops up for a second and then disappears. It has blue lines, and each line has a number before it, 1, 2, 3, etc. Perhaps the number of images? Not sure. The developer who created our web site says he can’t figure out why its doing this. It happens on all the PCs in our office, and mobile devices. Anyone ever see this or have any answers on how to fix this annoying problem? It causes a delay in downloading our photo gallery. Thank you.

    • This issue can be caused by conflicting or broken CSS. Go to your plugin’s page and deactivate all your plugins. Visit your website after deactivating each plugin until you find the culprit. If you don’t find any plugin causing the issue, then you can safely activate the plugins you deactivated earlier. Try temporarily switching to a default WordPress theme, like Twenty Sixteen to find out if the issue is caused by your WordPress theme.


  31. Hello,

    All of the images in my posts are showing as thumbnails. I think somehow the Gallery was activated, but the blog owner does not want the images to show in the black pop up box that currently appears when you click on an image in a post. When I am in a published post now, for example, I click on a thumbnail. The thumbnail pops open a black box, inside of which you can scroll through and see all of the images inside of the post by clicking arrows back and forth. How do I return the posts to showing images without being inside the gallery? The images themselves need to open in a new tab or window, one that is linked through Google Drive. I cannot figure this out. Help!

    Thanks in advance…..

    • When adding an image to a post, after uploading the image you can see some options in the right hand column. One of the option is to select the image size to add and how you want image to be linked. If this does not help, then deactivate all your plugins. See if this resolves the issue. If it does, then reactivate plugins one by one. After activating each plugin visit your site to see if the problem came back. Do that until you find the plugin that is causing the issue.


  32. Hello wpbeginner,
    First of all, allow me to thank you very much for your great efforts. I have a them which has a featured image to add. I was uploading the images to external website and then copy the image url and paste it in the featured image and it worked perfect. Now I want to change the theme, the images which are uploaded on the website are shown perfectly but the images which were uploaded on external website are not shown. So what to do in order to fix this? I don’t want to go again for the 1000 posts I have and add the images manually so that appear in the new theme. Is there an automatic way to do this?

  33. I have created a popup with this plug in, but it does not automatically pop up every hour like it is supposed to, and it doesn’t respect any formatting changes I make to the popup itself. Can anyone help me?

  34. HI,
    I need your help so badly. To start I am not a tech person, but I do have my website and blog with wordpress.
    I have written several articles for my blog and never had this issue with the images that I am including as part of the blog.
    I uploaded all the images very nicely no issues there. The problem starts when I preview the post prior to approving. The images (pictures) look cut, but in the back the post and images look perfect. I don’t know what to do – I have read most of the articles but it is hard to figure out what to do when you actually don’t know what to look for. Could you please help me…..

  35. I am trying to upload images to the media library and continue to get this error
    “Cycle YP single page.jpg” has failed to upload due to an error
    Missing a temporary folder.
    Any idea what temporary file?
    i am VERY new to this, we had this set up for us and I have no idea how to fix this issue – any advice will be gratefully received

  36. I found this page looking for guidance on rotating header images, but learned so much more. Many thanks. I’ll be coming back here often.

  37. My wp has suddenly stopped rotating images. Photos look fine in the draft section and in the media library – rotated correctly but in the “view post” or on my website on pc or mobile, photos are rotated incorrectly. Please help!

  38. Can anyone explain why , when posted, my photos have a huge space under them before the next row of text? I do not want the text wrapped around my photo. I insert image, make it the size I want and then continue with text, but when posted they show with a huge empty space. Thanks

  39. I’m trying to put a new image in my header. I’ve never had problems with this before, but this time every image I upload comes up as a teensy tiny little box in the upper left hand corner. I finally pushed “crop and publish” thinking maybe the image would magically appear once I’d done that, but nope. Now I have no image at all. Then I thought maybe it was my computer, so I used my husband’s computer and had the same problem-o. Help?

  40. I am managing a website for a business and we have an employee page. All but one of the employee pages are perfect. We have it so the image is left aligned and there is text wrapped around it, however for this trouble page the text is butt up to the image and it looks sloppy but when I try to add indents it doesn’t work. How do I solve this?

  41. How do I ensure that images in my blog posts that other people see in their reader come up as their original size that they appear on my website, and aren’t simply reduced down to a degrading thumbnail? Thanks a lot

    • Did you ever get an answer to your question, or figure it out? I am new to WP and I am having the same issue you described. I see my image fine on one of my computers, but it appears as a thumbnail on my other computer.Do you know how to fix this? Thanks a lot.

  42. I moved wp to a new folder. now my images dont show up in posts… how do I fix this? images are in the library but not showing. :(

  43. Hi, what about this issue: howo to make text wrap around images also in the RSS feed? in feed readers, the text comes below the image – how to fix that? cheers

  44. Hi, very helpful article.

    However, I am trying to see if there is a way to fix the alt text from getting cut off when the image is clicked on and pops up. The text below the image in the lightbox pop-up is the alt text, but if it is too long, it will not text wrap. It is in the Customizr theme.

    Is there anything I can do about this? Thanks!

  45. I keep getting an error that my images cannot resized when using the cropping option. How do I fix that?

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