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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. Hello,
    My website isnt displaying images at the front homepage, but all images appears on the post page….What’s the issue and how to resolve it

  2. Hi… I am using WordPress 5.2 (latest version) and php is 7.2. I have been trying to set featured images on posts but the image is not displaying? However my images are showing for my previously loaded posts ( from several years ago) but not the two new additional posts. I upload and attach from within the WordPress Editor. I have tried everything suggested on the WP Site and other sites and cannot find any useful information, anywhere that is helping. Featured image is still not showing on pages. Do you have any insight or suggestions?

    • It is hard to say the specific reason, have you had any error messages on your site or when you’re uploading the image?


  3. Hi! I am having difficulty editing the image that comes up when someone sends our website link via facebook or messenger, how do I change this? Thanks!

  4. I am using WordPress 5.2 (latest version). I have been trying to set my featured image. I upload and attached from within the WordPress Editor. Within moments, the featured image disappears! So does my written excerpt. I cannot find any useful information, anywhere. I have installed the Health Check plug in. I updated my PHP. I went through all of my JetPack setting. Nope. Featured image still keeps disappearing. Do you have any insight?

  5. Thanks for amazing article. I am a new blogger. I use twenty seventeen theme (default wp theme). I have one image at the start of every post. (Not a featured image). I have a blog page where latest 3 posts are listed WITHOUT image I put on the post. My query is what needs to be done so that this blog page lists latest 3 posts WITH images?

    awaiting reply on my above mail.

    thanks again

    Arun Dixit

    • For the image that appears on the blog page, you would need to set the featured image on the post itself and be sure to clear any caching on your site for it to appear properly.


  6. The issue I am having is with Kale (Basic) Header Image. My header image yesterday was definitely centered with the rest of my main page. Today it goes all the way to the right of the screen. It looks really unprofessional and very off centered. I can’t figure out for the life of me why this is happening.

    • For errors with a specific theme, if you reach out to the theme’s support they should be able to assist you with the site not displaying correctly.


  7. My problem is different from any of the above. I added some Amazon graphics of book covers and all was well. Now they have disappeared completely, instead little boxes show as placeholders. Clicking on a box takes you to the Amazon site, however. I had done nothing in the meantime except create content, and suddenly this happened. The html coding was added in the Text part of the page. What happened and how do I fix it?

  8. While trying to insert image in the middle of post, cursor auto jump to top of the page and unable to add image .Looking for help tried in explorer,chrome and firefox

  9. Hi everyone. I’m trying to create an image with multiple links inside of it, depending upon where the mouse is clicked. I believe this is known as creating an HTML map for the image. All of the explanations seem really simple and straightforward online – and are pretty much the same wherever I go – but none of it works. Does anyone know of some common reasons why this wouldn’t work correctly on WordPress? Someone suggested I might have an image optimization plug-in which is blocking this feature somehow. Someone else suggested I try changing themes. So far following through on these ideas hasn’t helped, however. Any advice would be appreciated!

  10. When sharing my blog posts, the featured image of the post doesn’t appear as the post’s favicon anymore. Can you help?

  11. I have just updated my WP theme (to Revelar). In most of my previous posts I have actually not used a featured image. Since the change, my posts display the first image twice, unless I had set a featured images- where the featured image is set, the post displays the featured images first, followed by the actual first image. I have checked the Setting for Featured Images for each post and they are empty (where not set in the past). What I would expect is the post to look as designed and the Featured image only to be visible in FB and the like. Certainly no duplication within the post. Is this an issue with that theme, or are there any other settings that I might have missed?

  12. I’m having issues with my custom header. Ive added it to my blog and it looks perfectly fine on a desktop and tablet, but it doesn’t fit properly on a mobile. its really zoomed in and cut off. Do you have any tips/advice on how to fix this? thanks!

  13. When I post my blog on FaceBook or Twitter, my featured image doesn’t appear; only a blank box to the left of my title. Can this be fixed?

  14. Good article, but for some reason my photos and text are not displaying properly now when they did before. When I align left or right it shows the text next to the photo in the edit page screen (visual) but when I load the site up the text is all below the image leaving a big gap. I’d appreciate some advice please.


  15. Hi great site and lots of helpful information. I was wondering if you would have some advice on something I’m having a problem with on my blog . I post an article and attach pictures then few weeks down the line the articles can only be viewed on large electronic devices and not mobile devices . They were seen originally on mobile devices then disappear. I have attached a plug in update which was advised by HostGator. This did not rectify anything though

    • Hi Norma,

      You can go go to Appearance > Themes page and then switch to a default WordPress theme like twenty seventeen. See if this solves the problem, if it does, then your theme is causing the issue and you need to find a different theme.


  16. All of my images, no matter where I place them on the page will only show at the top of the post when published or previewed.
    How do I make them stay in place within the text?

  17. I’ve scaled all my featured images down to 320 x 200 from 800 x 500, to enhance load times, but I’m not seeing any savings in Pingdom and GT Metrix.

    It’s as if WordPress is telling me the images are now minute, 14 kb instead of 80 kb, but the actual full size original images are still being downloaded?

    Frustrating!! Can you please advise. Thanks.

  18. I have an image that is 1700 X 500 of a product label I need to show clearly. I upload it at the regular size, I have my settings to accept an image this large, yet it puts a miniscule picture on the page – everytime. What do I need to do to put a picture on a page the size I want it? Is that something too difficult to ask for? Why does WP make everything so ^)&)*)_) complicated. This is basic stuff here.

    • On my WP site the featured image sometime needs to be a different size. It appears to be set to populate in my blog at the same size which happens most posts. But every once in a while the image comes into the blog through the featured image extra big. How can I adjust this?

    • Hi there, this is a great article, thanks. I’ve followed the instructions for adding a header image but all I get is grey. It thinks there is an image because it shows a thumbnail in the customization panel. What am I doing wrong? Thanks

  19. Hello! Thank you so much for this article. It was very helpful.

    Perhaps I missed this information, but I am still having an issue.

    My readers and I cannot see my sitewide banner when we access my website.

    I can see the sitewide banner when I access my website from my account on WordPress but when I look at it through my phone, an incognito window, or someones else’s laptop the banner is not visible. Instead, a question mark or tiny image box is where the banner usually is.

    Any suggestions on how to fix this issue would be absolutely amazing.

    Thank you in advance!

  20. hi,
    my website is not showing the images,

    I deactivate wp smush, w3total catch and jetpack still this problem is happening.

    please tell me what should I do?

  21. My problem with WordPress 2017 is that the featured image appears on the blog post and website, but does not appear as a thumbnail when posting to Facebook. I have Yoast and all seems okay but when try to post, only website link appears, but no featured image!

    • Hi Ali,

      You saw a fullscreen ad on our website? We do not sell any ads of this sort.

      Are you talking about our email optin exit-pop? If so that should only show once for a user.



    • Could not resist this.
      States they use A Blockers, assuming. But still got a popup.
      Lets ponder on that for a few here……..

      Any ways… what we need is tutorials on how NOT to send your images to your web developers. Nothing beats chopped up images that generate faceless thumbs o.O. Feaken awesome when you receive camera photos, but not all the same size and odd shapes that cause faceless (Chopped at mouth in some instances) photos. WP does great thumb generation. Now to deal with user flaws. :)

  22. Can you help me… i would like to delete and upload new illustration image. I start to upload to gallery and then a system goes wrong…

    Uploaded file cannot be moved to wp-content/uploads/2015/11

  23. Wow – such a great article!! Lots of tips I need to revisit later.

    Do you know of a plugin that finds unused images you may have uploaded and never used?

    I had a habit of doing this, not realizing it would slow down my site…. now I can’t remember what I used and what I didn’t use.

    Thanks so much!

  24. Hello there, I have posted some posts in my category and they all have featured images but they are all showing different sizes on the page…So is there any method that I can fix all of ’em with exact one size …
    Mean they all show with one size
    Here it is

  25. I’m having an issue uploading images. I keep getting this messages:

    “DSC01398.ARW” has failed to upload.
    Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.

    What does this mean? And what do I need to do to fix this? It wasn’t doing this before.

    Thank you

    • Hi Nicole,

      The .ARW file is a raw image file supported by your camera. You will need to save it into a compressed file format like JPEG. Several image editing programs (Adobe Photoshop)can help you convert the file. You can also find online tools to help you convert it.


  26. Hi. When I’m logged in as an admin and I look at my site, all of the pictures are clear. But when I go to the website from a different browser or just log out, every picture is blurry. Can you help me figure out what the problem is?

  27. Hi, i have one issue. In here featured images are showing but images inside the post are not opening. Don’t know why please help.

  28. Hello. I just started a blog recently, and this article is very helpful. Thank you. I wonder if you can help with a problem I am having with headers using the Tuulikki theme. I uploaded my logo for the “post page header,” but I am unhappy with the way it “floats” in the middle of the page while scrolling down. I would like it to remain in the navigation bar. I would also be happy to remove it altogether, but when I tried that, my website url appeared in the navigation bar and my large homepage logo drops down during scrolldown and takes up about half of the page. Any tips would be much appreciated!

  29. How do you resize header images or force a resize? I’m using 2013 and WordPress displays a 565 pixel wide image in the header and blows it up beyong the bounds of screen.

  30. Hi,
    Thank you for the helpful post and quick question: when publishing our posts with image they arrive the e-mail accounts from our subscribers without the image. how can I fix that please? Thank you tons, and thank you so much for your help


  31. You’re my hero! Thank you for explaining how to set a feature image in such plain English. I’m new to site building and get so tripped up on the little things. Seriously, thank you for sharing!

  32. Hello!
    Thank so much for putting this guide together! My problem is that I have the images on my post and when they ALL show it’s great.. but sometimes it shows up perfectly and other times only half my pictures show up — this is both mobile and desktop. I’ve re-uploaded the images and made sure to import it into wordpress’s gallery but it’s still happening.

    Please help!!

    Thank you

  33. Hello,
    Thank you for the helpful tips. I am still having an issue with aligning my pictures. They are properly aligned with the text wrapping around them – exactly how I want it – but when I preview it they still are not aligned and there is no text wrapping.
    What am I doing wrong!?
    Thank you for any help you can give me.

  34. I have recently changed laptops from windows to a mac.

    I changed my default browser to Chrome from the Safari that Macs come with.

    Now when I go to upload an image in Chrome, I get an http error in WP post, also I cannot upload any image with Chrome on Mac into my WP site.

    However, when I switched browsers back to Safari, my images uploaded like normal.

    I would rather use Chrome. Any suggestions on how to fix this image problem on my site while using Chrome so that I do not have to switch back and forth to Safari? Thank you

  35. when I type my website address into someone’s Facebook page, a picture appears with it that is not the picture I want to be the preview for my web address. For example, right now it’s posted one of the pictures from my last blog. I don’t want to feature a picture that shows up in every blog I make, but I want a specific one to show whenever I list my web address . How do I do thst? Many thanks!

  36. I just changed themes. My blog page list used to show the images I used for each post (content image, not featured image). I use the URL for the images, not my media library. The individual post page shows the images, but the blog list page does not unless I add the image to the media library. Is there any code and/or plug-in I can use to make sure the image is included on the blog list page when I add it to the content of the individual post? Is there a way to populate the posts that included the image in the past, but no longer show the image on the list page? Thanks!!!

  37. My page header calls for 2560x500pixels. But when I create a header in those specs, WP displays it huge. Only part of the header shows up. My site is in case you need to see it.
    THANKS, very aggravating.

  38. I suddenly have a shadow message on my photo for the header. I have tried everything I know how to delete it but can’t. Your assistance is appreciated.

    warning: call_user_function_array () expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, function” primer_ video_ header” not found etc etc etc

  39. Hi. I migrated with you guys from blogger to wordpress. Now all of my images on old blog posts are blurry. Is there a way to change them all in bulk? The regenerate thumbnails thing doesn’t work. Do I have to literally go and resize them all one by one?

  40. I always prefer wp beginner for my website for fix to any error and this site is one of the best platform for any problem solution

  41. Hi there,

    Many images diappeared from the website and seem to be missing from the Media Library thumbnail. They seem to still be there but it is a gray square and it shows no picture when I open it on the library apart from the name of the file.

    Any idea how to solve this?


  42. hello i recently started creating a blog with bluehost via wordpress, however the one issue i cant seem to find help with is that when i want to upload an image i click select files and nothing happens, it doesnt bring up any of my pictures i dont know what to do. i tried the upload files tab and the media library tab.. nothing please help with any advice

  43. I’ve had my WordPress blog for a few years but have, on more than one occasion, somehow accidentally increased the size, only on my view. I’ve checked and it’s okay on my partner’s laptop but it’s just enormous on mine. I found the solution twice before on google but can’t find it now. I know it was something very simple but I can’t remember what! Repeating, it is just my view that’s grown, not the blog itself.

  44. I m uploading products into shop menu. When I enter the text the image scales and change the size and all the images are different sized depending on how long is my text. How do I have a fixed size?

  45. Hello,

    Please how do I fix this issue I have each time I try uploading image.

    “Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads/2017/03. Is its parent directory writable by the server?”

    Thank you


  46. Hi Wpbeginner,

    We have just bought the Tuulikki Template from Creative Market.
    Unfortunately our imported images (from Blogger) don’t show.
    There are no images on our homepage. Only when you click on a link and open the blogpost, sometimes the image within will show. So this means they are uploaded and somewhere in there, right? We can’t figure out why they aren’t showing on the homepage and how to fix this. We hope you can help us out.
    Thank you so much in advance

  47. I have some issue with my site ; wordpress of course ; image header and sometimes footer too broke , how could I fix it? I have done all i can do , but nothing .

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