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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. Hi,

    I have experienced similar issues, I exported my post from another website to another new site I am building when I tried importing, it didn’t come with the featured images. So after a serious research, I realized that, I need to export both post and media as well. When I exported post and media and imported on my new site everything was fine eventually. I felt I should post it here for those having same issues.

  2. I got a shop page and the product pictures won’t load clearly and they are all blurry but when I use the zoom tool they are fully clear ( the pics are 3000×3000 px and 300 dpi) how can I fix the render quality?

    • You would want to check with your theme’s support to ensure you’re not having the images reduced due to the image sizes.


  3. Is there a way of setting the thumbnail/feature image, but not having that same picture in the actual post? This seems to be standard with my Theme (or is it for all?) , but i cant find an option to change that.

  4. My site, I changed themes, but the header image doesn’t show up. I can see it in the theme options, I can crop it, I can publish it, but it just doesn’t show on the page. Help!

  5. When I add featured image and then check the preview to see if everything is correct this text appears under featured image and the post text disappears?
    <p value="

    Please help! Thank you.

    • That appears to be an issue with your theme itself, we would recommend reaching out to the support for your specific theme and they should be able to assist.


  6. Great article – thanks!
    I was looking for info on ‘missing images’
    There were images on my site yesterday and today there is not!
    Would you have a resource or article you could point me to please?

  7. When I upload image from header image option in 2017 theme or even 2016 theme the next thing I see is nothing, image does not appear, only I see the select and crop button at bottom left. I’ve tried even changing browsers, using various sizes of images, small large, jpg, png…but can’t get the image. What am I missing?

  8. My featured image are all of different sizes. I have set the Thumbnail size 150×150 in the Settings=> Media, but the featured image does not seem to follow any standard sizing. What could be wrong?

    • You would want to reach out to your specific theme’s support and they would be able to help fix that issue.


  9. Hello,
    I am having the worst time uploading an image that is the right size for the thumbnail photo in WordPress.

    I tried changing the setting in media, the customized feature, changed in illustrator and still cannot get the main image or thumbnail to not be “zoomed” and “blurry”. Any advice?

    • Reach out to the support for your specific theme you are using to ensure they’re not doing something that would be overriding what you are doing.


  10. Ihad a word press website , but when loading the website some images on my homepage are not loading(alt text is show on that image ). The same problem is on some article images .How am i fix this ?

  11. Please my site icon is showing on every blog post as the thumbnail and not my featured image when I share it on WhatsApp. Please what should I do to make the featured image visible instead?

    • You would want to reach out to your theme’s support to ensure there is not an issue with the theme itself.


  12. Hello,

    I have a new developer working on my WordPress (Art Portfolio) site. He’s posted many horizontal images, but one kept coming up vertical. He tried and tried to post the image horizontally, but nothing worked. He checked the site and told me he saw no problems.

    I then went to view my site on Chrome (I’ve always used Firefox to view it). When I got to the image, it was posted horizontally! Why would this happen?

  13. Hi there, i have a problem with displaying background images on mobile devices. all images show on all devices but background images do not show on a mobile device, i have uploaded these images for all devices (desktop, tablet, and mobile) but background images won’t show when i view my site using my mobile phone and others, they do show when i use my PC, even when i reduce my screen to mobile they show, the problem occurs only when i view the site using a mobile. Your help will be highly appreciated, thanks.

    • You would want to reach out to your theme’s support for them to be able to take a look for any theme specific styling that could be causing your issue.


  14. Thanks for a very comprehensive post on WordPress image problems.
    A short while ago I was very frustrated after loading an image onto a site.

    It appeared to load fine and looked great in the Images file. However when it was looked at on the site it was slightly out of focus. Nothing I seemed to do made any change on the post.

    Then an ‘expert’ whispered in my ear and said use the full sized image. Not the small or medium one which WordPress will choose by default. Voila – once this was done the out of focus disappeared just like that.

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for sharing what was able to help you with your image issue :)


  15. really good Article for everyone who wants to start learning something about how to use images in WordPress, and superb stuff by sharing an outbound link of the different site for free pics.

  16. Hello, got a question for When you embed a link into an image in WordPress, it doesn’t seem to make the entire image clickable. For example, I’ve uploaded an image on the homepage of our website with an embedded link but when you put your mouse over the image, only the left and right portions of the image become clickable while the center portion of the image is not clickable. Is there anyway to get that fixed?

  17. Hi, I am using a Publisher theme. But when I share the link on Facebook, the picture does not appear. i Use Yoast plugin too

  18. Hello
    thank you for really useful article. I can see My Featured Image section but I can’t edit it when I want to change its image to new one. Is this for updating my woocommerce to new version (3.7.1)? how can I fix this? or how can I find the previous version?

  19. My Featured Images are not showing up on my Home Page. In fact, my Home Page is blank except for the right side bar, which works perfect. I’ve watched SO MANY videos and believe I have set up all my widgets correctly…I even compared my settings with another successful blogger, but my Home Page is still blank. Any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    • For this question, you would want to reach out to the support for your current theme to ensure there isn’t a theme-specific setting that is overriding the default home page setting


    • You can choose static 2 diffrent page for homepage and blog. I recommend go to reding into setting and choose your homepage display you latest post and delete the page name home and blog and then in the menu you copy your site link and make custom link and name it to home.

  20. Thank you SOOOOO MUCH for this article!
    Especially the “6. How to Fix Missing Post Thumbnails / Featured Image?” section. I’ve been pulling my hairs out about those greyed-out thumbnails on my portfolios, I’ve tried a lot a fixing routines, but this simple and effective article did the trick!
    Thank you very much!

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