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How to Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files using FTP

Do you want to bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP?

By default, WordPress does not allow you to upload media files via FTP, which can be annoying for users who want to bulk upload files at once.

In this article, we will show you how to easily bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP.

How to Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files using FTP

Why Bulk Upload WordPress Media Files Using FTP

The default WordPress media uploader allows you to upload multiple files to your WordPress site at once. You can do so by clicking on the ‘Add Media’ button while writing posts or by visiting Media » Add New page.

Uploading multiple files via Media uploader in WordPress

You can select multiple photos, images, audio, and even video files to upload and WordPress will do the rest.

However, this method may not work sometimes. You may see a maximum file upload size limit issues or the files may take forever to upload.

An easier alternative is to upload the files using FTP. However, WordPress doesn’t recognize files uploaded via FTP, and it will not show them inside admin area.

Luckily, there’s a way around that. Let’s take a look at how to easily bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP, and how to make them available inside WordPress.

Bulk Uploading Media Files in WordPress via FTP

First, you need to connect to your WordPress site using a FTP client. If you haven’t done this before, then see our guide on how to upload files to your WordPress site via FTP.

Once you are connected to your website via FTP, go to /wp-content/uploads/ folder.

WordPress uploads folder

Inside the uploads folder, you will see folders for years and months. That’s how WordPress stores media files by default. You can upload your media files to the current year and current month folder.

If it doesn’t exist, then you can create it. For example, 2018 for current year and inside that folder you can create a new folder 01 for the month of January.

Uploading your files may take a while depending on file size and your internet speed.

Once you have uploaded all your images, audio, video, or any other media files supported by WordPress, you are ready to import them into WordPress.

Making Your FTP Media Uploads Visible in WordPress

Even though you have uploaded the files to your website’s server, WordPress doesn’t automatically recognize them.

When you upload a file using the default WordPress media uploader, WordPress saves the file information inside the database. It then displays those files by fetching the information from your WordPress database.

Since these files were not uploaded via media uploader, WordPress does not have them stored in the database.

Let’s fix this.

First thing you will need to do is install and activate the Add from Server plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Media » Add From Server page. By default, the plugin will look into /wp-content/ folder and display all the media files and folders it finds inside it. You can click on folders to open them and locate your uploaded media files.

Add from server settings

Once you have located the files you uploaded using FTP, simply click the checkbox next to them and then click on the ‘Import’ button.

The plugin will start registering your imported media into the WordPress media library. You will see the progress on the screen as it goes through each file.

Importing media files

Once it is finished, you can visit Media » Library page to see all your imported files.

Media files uploaded via FTP to WordPress

You can now go ahead and add these images, audio, and other media files to your WordPress posts and pages.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily bulk upload WordPress media files using FTP. You may also want to see our guide on WordPress speed and performance, or our expert pick of must-have plugins for your site.

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28 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. As of May 2022, the plug in listed hasn’t been updated in over a year, may not be comparable with the last 3 ver of WP and is heading towards being depreciated. Is there another that you recommend?

  2. Life saver! Thank you, even though the AddFromServer plugin has not been updated for a while I am running WP 5.7.2 an it worked perfectly. :-D

  3. Is there any alternative to this? This plugin is no longer supported in later releases of WP and I have tried finding another solution.

    • I’ve just used it with WordPress 5.4.2 and it worked fine, although it couldn’t bulk upload the 2,000 product images I needed in one go (the process appeared to timeout). To get it to work, I just uploaded the images in groups of 100-200 at a time.

      The plugin is no longer being maintained, so I would not leave it installed on a product website, but it is still fit for purpose.

  4. It seems this plugin no longer works, which is unfortunate.

    Here is what I get when installing it:

    “This plugin failed to load properly and is paused during recovery mode.”

    When having this installed, as an admin you will not be able to log in, only in recovery mode.

    This plugin has compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

    • Thank you for letting us know, we will be sure to look into updating the article when able


  5. Will this method autogenerate thumbnail sizes? The current media uploader adds resized image versions for you.

    • You would normally need to use a plugin like Regenerate thumbnails to have the other sizes created by your site


  6. My question now is, after importing the files to wordpress media, what is happen going to happen to the original one you imported, is it going to be deleted automatically after importation to the wp media


    • This method shouldn’t overwrite the images in your media library but it will add the images to your media library


  7. The Add-From-Server plugin seems to be dead as of March 23 2018. You keep saying you’ve replaced the plugin. I don’t see where that applies here.

  8. Hi,

    The plugin is no longer available …
    The notice “This plugin was closed on January 11, 2018 and is no longer available for download.”

  9. Can you guide me on how to develop price comparison website in WordPress? i mean A website that can show different price for a single product from different shopping websites

  10. Thank you for this article.
    I wondering if it creates different copies of the same image but with different sizes as it happens I’m case of upload using wp media.

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