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How to Require Featured Images for Posts in WordPress

Do you want to require featured images for posts in WordPress?

If you’re running a multi-author WordPress blog, then you would want to ensure that each author adds a featured image for their posts before publishing it.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily require featured images for posts in WordPress.

How to require featured images for posts in WordPress

Why Require Featured Images for Posts?

Featured images, also known as thumbnails, are the primary images for a blog post. They usually appear next to the post title on your WordPress blog or social media platforms.

These thumbnails make your blog look more professional and encourage user engagement on your website.

WordPress makes it easy to add featured images to your posts. You can even set a default featured image which can be used if no featured image is added for a post.

Ideally, you would want to create and add a featured image for each article on your WordPress blog. However, sometimes you or other authors on your website may accidentally publish an article without a featured image.

This mistake can make the post look incomplete and unprofessional.

Missing featured image

You can easily prevent this from happening by requiring a featured image for your posts before they can be published.

This way whenever an author tries to publish a post without a featured image, they will see an error asking them to add a featured image.

That being said, let’s see how you can easily require a featured image for posts in WordPress.

How to Require Featured Images for Posts in WordPress

First, you need to install and activate the PublishPress Checklists plugin. For more instructions, please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to go to the Checklists » Settings page from the admin sidebar.

From here, simply check the ‘Posts’ option to add a checklist to your post editor.

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

Check the Posts option on the Settings page

After that, you need to head over to the Checklists » Checklists page from the WordPress admin sidebar.

From here, scroll down to the ‘Featured Image’ section and select the ‘Required’ option from the dropdown next to it.

Select the Required option from the dropdown menu next to the Featured Image option

Optionally, you can also allow certain user roles to publish the post without a thumbnail.

For instance, if you don’t want to disable the publish functionality for users with the Administrator user role, then you can easily do that.

Simply select that ‘Administrator’ user role from the ‘Who can ignore this task?” dropdown menu in the ‘Feaured Image’ row.

Choose a user role who won't be required to add featured image before publishing

PublishPress Checklist also offers a bunch of other highly useful options that you can add to your checklist as well.

For instance, you can set a word count limit for content, the number of categories that can be selected, the number of internal links, and more.

Feel free to review and use them on your website if needed.

Once you’re done, simply click the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

Next, you need to go to a post you want to edit or you can create a new post by going to the Posts » Add New page from the admin sidebar.

Here you will see the ‘Publish’ button disabled along with a red exclamation mark (!) asking you to add a featured image.

A ‘Checklist’ tab will also be added to the column on the right corner of the screen. This tab will also notify you to add a featured image.

Publish button will be disabled

Now go ahead and upload a featured image to the post.

As soon as you do that, the notice will disappear and the ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’ button will be enabled again.

Publish button will be enabled once the Featured image is uploaded

Bonus: Use AIOSEO to set a Default Featured Image for Social Sharing

Many blogs use their featured image as the open graph image for social media websites like Twitter and Facebook.

This means, when someone shares one of your articles, the featured image is added to the link card.

Open graph image

WordPress doesn’t automatically make the featured image to be the open graph image for your article.

This means, sometimes social media websites may end up showing a totally irrelevant image when someone shares your link.

This is where All in One SEO for WordPress comes in. It allows you to easily set your featured images as your social media image as well.

All in One SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It allows you to easily optimize your website for search engines.

All in One SEO plugin

First, you need to install and activate the All in One SEO for WordPress plugin. For details, please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note: All in One SEO also has a free version that you can give a try. However, we recommend upgrading to the paid plan to unlock the most wanted All in One SEO features.

Upon activation, the plugin will launch the setup wizard. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to set up the plugin or see our guide on how to properly setup All in One SEO for WordPress.

Click let's get started AIOSEO setup wizard

Once finished, you need to visit All in One SEO » Social Networks page and switch to the Facebook tab.

From here, you can select ‘Featured Image’ next to the Default Post Image Source option.

Default social media image

You can also set a default image under the ‘Default Post Facebook Image’ option. This image will be used for posts and pages that don’t have a featured image.

Next, you need to switch to the Twitter tab and do the same for the ‘Default Image Source’ and ‘Default Post Twitter Image’ options.

Set featured image to be used as Twitter image

Don’t forget to click on the Save Changes button to store your settings.

All in One SEO will now automatically set the featured image to be used as social media image.

What happens if you want to use a different image for social sharing instead of using the featured image of the post?

No worries, you can also override it for any post or page. Simply edit the post or page and scroll down to the AIOSEO Settings section at the bottom.

Here, you need to click on the ‘Social’ tab.

Go to the Facebook tab in the AIOSEO Social settings

Next, you have to scroll down the ‘Image Source’ section and select ‘Custom Image’ from the dropdown menu.

Upload custom image

You can now check how your content will look on Facebook using the ‘Facebook Preview’ tab at the top.

Facebook preview of the post

Next, you need to click the ‘Twitter’ tab at the top to configure the Twitter image settings.

From here, you can now simply toggle the ‘Use Data from Facebook Tab’ switch to ‘Active’.

Your featured image for Twitter will now be automatically set the same as the Facebook image.

Toggle the Use Data from Facebook Tab switch

Once you’re done, don’t forget to click the ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’ button at the top to store your settings.

We hope this article helped you learn how to require a featured image for posts in WordPress. You may also want to see our tutorial on How to Add a Blog Post Checklist to the WordPress Editor and our top picks for the best WordPress plugins.

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Reader Interactions

7 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I really wish there was a plugin that set the default featured image by category/taxonomy.

  2. I’d like to set this feature for creating pages instead of posts. Is there a plugin for that?

  3. Thanks for such nice and easy solutions. But can you suggest some of the best FREE resources to grab and use images for blog post, which we can publish or reuse. Thank you!

  4. My question might sound stupid but here I go: does the WordPress scale down the image when inserting it as a featured image if the image is larger than the required featured image?
    I mean, when you insert a featured image you have the option to choose from the pre-set images sizes. Does that mean the featured image is automatically scaled down when displayed as “featured image”?
    Never digged into this one until now.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks, clever plug idea, it helps with a single person blog as well ;-) Enjoy your info quite a bit, thanks for the effort.

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