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How to Import External Images in WordPress

Do you want to import external images in WordPress? If you have recently moved your website from one platform to another, then there is a good chance that you may have external images embedded on your pages. In this article, we will explain how to properly import those external images in WordPress.

How to import external images in WordPress

When and Why You Need to Import External Images?

External images are images embedded in your content that load from another website or URL different from your main site.

Most commonly, WordPress users come across external images issue after migrating their website from other platforms like Blogger, Weebly, Joomla, or

By default if you use one of the WordPress importers, then it will try to import images. You can see the imported images by visiting Media » Library page in your WordPress admin area.

If you see that all your images are 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 Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin.

However if you don’t see images imported to your WordPress media library, then continue reading and we will show you how to import those external images.

Video Tutorial

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If you don’t want to watch the video tutorial, then you can continue reading the text version below:

Importing External Images in WordPress

First thing you need to do is to install and activate the Auto Upload Images plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Auto Upload Images page to review the plugin settings.

Auto upload images settings

The default settings would work for most users, but you can change them as needed.

The plugin will import images to your default WordPress media uploads folder. You can change that by providing a different base URL. Other than that, it also allows you to set filename, image alt tag, image size, and exclude post types.

Once you are done, don’t forget to click on the Save Changes button to store your settings.

Next, you will need to update the posts or pages containing the external images. Since this is a manual process, it can be tedious if you have a lot of content.

Luckily, there’s a quick way to update all posts with external images. Simply go to Posts » All Posts page and then click on the Screen Options button at the top.

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You need to increase the number to 999 in the ‘Number of items per page field’ field and click on the Apply button.

WordPress will reload the page, and this time it will show 999 posts at a time. Next, you need to select all your posts and then select Edit under the bulk actions menu.

Select all your posts

After that you need to click the Apply button. WordPress will show you a quick edit box with all selected posts. You just need to click on the Update button, and WordPress will update all your posts.

Remember, don’t change any of the settings in the bulk edit settings that you see. You just need to click Update.

This process will trigger the plugin to check all selected posts and import external images as it finds them.

If you have more than 999 posts, then you will need to visit the next page to select remaining posts.

We hope this article helped you learn how to import external images in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to fix common image issues in WordPress.

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22 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I am moving a site from blogger to wordpress and used the auto upload plugin which worked great until i realized it imported all images into the current month and year – March 2022.

    Is there a fix for this?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. The plugin is necessary, but for me it could not process images from the https site. As well as SVG pictures ignored.

    • Thank you for letting us know, if you reach out to the plugin’s support they should be able to take a look at what would be causing the problem


  3. Hi guys,

    I’m developer of this plugin, thanks for introducing this plugin.

    I released v3.2 “Auto upload images” plugin and fixed some reported problems with new versions of WordPress.

    Thank you

  4. Unfortunately this plugin converted my attachments to a .php extension instead of keeping their original extensions. They show up as gibberish.

    • Thank you for letting us know, you would also want to reach out to the plugin’s support and let them know you ran into that issue.


  5. I get the the 500 internal server error, refreshing the page ı was able to get images to my media library. The only problem I guess is connecting these images again to posts, any idea ??

  6. I’ve been spending days getting my media from a .com – managed blog to a self hosted one. This is the best. One note: The process would time out every few minutes (blank page). Just refreshing the page would continue the download until you were redirected back to wp-admin. Then the process was done.

  7. Hi,
    I would like to ask you that can I import posts with images from localhost to live website?

    I used Import/Export tool of wordpress but I always get the “failed media upload” errors.

    I look for your valuable answer, thanks

  8. Hi WPB Team,

    I have a directory of images stored on a website and “considered” as a CDN. I need these images to be displayed on an online standalone WP website.
    **Without importing them in the WP Media library.**
    Let’s say one image or more by post. I’ll add an extra field to tell the post the path of its image(s). Custom height and width fields as well.

    Which plugin would you advise me to activate pls?

    BRgds, NLE

    PS: love your articles. Pls keep on the good job!

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