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How to Disable Image Attachment Pages in WordPress

Do you want to disable image attachment pages in WordPress?

Image attachment pages can look like incomplete pages on your site. If a visitor views these, then it can leave a poor impression.

In this article, we’ll show you how to disable image attachment pages in WordPress and redirect it to the parent post.

How to disable image attachment pages in WordPress

Why Should You Disable Image Attachment Pages in WordPress?

By default, WordPress creates a single page for every media attachment you have on your site.

This includes images, audio/video files, pdfs, and more. Some users might find this functionality useful, however, most WordPress websites don’t need it.

For example, a photography theme could use the attachment page to display EXIF data. This could show the camera model used, the camera settings, and even the image’s location data.

Often we get complaints from users who accidentally linked their images to the attachment pages, and they don’t like the way it looks.

This is a big issue because many themes don’t have special templates for the image attachment pages.

Sometimes an image on your website can become popular, and people might start landing on the attachment page directly from Google.

Ideally, you want visitors to land on your post and see the image in the context you have used it.

This is why we always recommend users to disable image attachment pages on their WordPress blog.

How to Disable Image Attachment Pages in WordPress (2 Methods)

There are two ways to disable image attachment pages in WordPress.

The first approach uses WordPress plugins, while the second involves adding custom code to WordPress.

You’ll want to choose the method that’s best suited for your skills.

Method 1: Disable Image Attachment Pages in WordPress (with a Plugin)

The easiest way to disable image attachment pages is to use a WordPress plugin. This method is beginner friendly and requires no coding.

We recommend using All in One SEO. It’s the best SEO plugin for WordPress used by over 2 million sites.

The first thing you’ll need to do is install and activate the plugin. To do this, see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is installed and activated, you’ll have a new menu item called ‘All in One SEO’.

Navigate to All in One SEO » Search Appearance. Next, click the ‘Media’ navigation tab.

All in One SEO search appearance media setting

The first setting is ‘Redirect Attachment URLs’. You can disable the setting entirely, redirect to the attachment page, or the attachment parent page.

We recommend redirecting to the ‘Attachment Parent’ page. That way, when a user lands on the image attachment page, they’ll be redirected to your article instead.

All in One SEO select attachment parent

Once you select your preferred setting, make sure to click ‘Save Changes’ before exiting the screen.

If you aren’t using the All in One SEO plugin, you can still disable image attachment pages and redirect users to a parent post using a plugin called Attachment Pages Redirect.

All you have to do is install and activate the plugin. It’ll automatically start redirecting users that land on attachment pages to the parent post.

If no parent post is found, then users will be redirected to your homepage.

This plugin works out of the box and has no settings page. Simple and easy.

Method 2: Disable Image Attachment Pages in WordPress (with Code Snippet)

Another option is to add a code snippet to WordPress that accomplishes the same goal as the plugin above.

If you don’t want to use a plugin or feel that you’re already using too many WordPress plugins, then you can use this method.

First, you’ll need to create a new file in your WordPress theme folder and name it image.php. If your theme already has an image.php file, then you’ll need to edit that file instead.

After that, all you have to do is add the following code as the first line in your image.php file:

<?php wp_redirect(get_permalink($post->post_parent)); ?>

Next, you need to save the image.php file and upload it to your theme directory using FTP or your WordPress hosting control panel.

Now, when a user lands on your image attachment page, they’ll be redirected to the parent post.

We hope this article helped you disable image attachment pages in WordPress. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide to image SEO and our guide on how to fix common image issues in WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

68 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Worked perfectly! I used the code method of setting up an image.php file with the code snippet. Works perrrfect.

  2. Why don’t you update this article ?

    Yoast doesn’t have this feature in free version anymore.

    • We are updating our articles as fast as we are able. For the moment you may want to check under Search Appearance > Media

      Admin

    • My Yoast SEO does have this option under MEDIA. It is the first option, and it says Yoast suggests YES to “Redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself?”
      March 2021 is when I checked.

  3. i post images and link them to media file on my site
    should i disable the attachment media pages?
    if i do, will it affect seo?

    • That would depend on your personal preference and if the main content of your site is images rather than posts and pages.

      Admin

  4. Thank you! For some reason I have never experienced this issue using yoast until today! One of my sites kept redirecting to the image instead of my attachment page. Wasted an hour trying to figure out if it was a function issue I had created. Turns out it was the Yoast plugin. Easy fix thank yoU!

  5. Hi
    Yoast has now changed all the settings, they keep doing this and honestly they’re driving people mad.
    This “Redirect attachment URL to parent post” was very handy and understandable, but now it doesn’t exist.
    Instead, we have a Media tab where the instructions seem, at least for me, a bit unclear. This is the explanation they give:

    When you upload media to WordPress, it doesn’t just save the media, it creates an attachment URL for it. These attachment pages are quite empty: they contain the media item and maybe a title if you entered one. Because of that, if you never use these attachment URLs, it’s better to disable them, and redirect them to the media item itself.

    What this seems to provoke is that now Google is showing image attachment URLs in the SERPs results. But there is no option, as before, to redirect the attachment URL to the parent post. What do we do then?

    Am I not understanding correctly the use of the new Media tab? What should I do so that Google doesn’t show those attachments as results in the SERPs that are not image search? Am I not understanding correctly the use of the new Media tab? What should I do so that Google doesn’t show those attachments as results in the SERPs that are not image search? What is it that I’m getting wrong?

    H E L P!!

    • Hi Esther,
      The current function in Yoast removes the attachment urls by redirecting them to the direct url of the media file (instead of to the parent post). If you are turning it on just now, it’s normal to still have attachment page urls in the index. Selecting the option would lead to the attachment urls eventually disappearing from search engines’ indexes and being replaced by the media files’ direct urls (blabla.jpg for example).
      If you want to speed up the removal of the attachment urls, you can do so in Google Search Console.

  6. This post needs an update because Yoast has made a lot of changes to its features on new update.

    • I agree. Not only did Yoast update, but they also removed the very option you are recommending in this post (unfortunately). And now all that’s left is to redirect to the actual attachment. :(

  7. The link is out of date now as the permalinks can be found under Advanced on the latest version.

    Thanks anyway as I have just updated it.

  8. So if we aren’t linking to these attachment pages, is there really any reason to redirect these so google doesn’t index them? The reason I ask is for videos directly uploaded, we have the transcript in the description field so google indexes that.

    If we redirect would it still index that transcript or should I leave as is?

  9. i was using all in one seo plugin and i found “Redirect Attachments to Post Parent:” in my seo General settings, and i mark it.

    So, is that same and worked?

  10. Question: How can I keep WP from creating an attachment in the database?
    What I mean is that I have roughly 40k actual posts, and over 100k rows in the wp_posts table. After running a query, it seems that there is ~100k posts with post_type “attachment.” Are all of these rows necessary?

  11. But how do you actually disable attachment pages? This post doesn’t disable them but puts a redirect in place. We have issues where the redirects is conflicting with actual page names. We dont want any attachment pages and therefore no need for redirects.

  12. I would like to keep the attachment pages but within the attachment pages that display the image in a bigger size to disable links to prev next and full size image as this is where they can copy images or see images that I dont want non registered users to see etc. How can we do that?

  13. Oh wait, I just realized something… if I no index the media files, does that mean all my media is not indexed or just the attachment pages?

  14. Is the duplicate content issue only solved if I “no index” the pages or will the 301 redirect to parent take care of that too? I’m assuming I’d need to no index them…. but just want to make sure I’m assuming right :)

  15. Hello i also disabled attachments pages in sitemap. will this technique prevents google to index images?

  16. Great solution!
    May I add that after the modification on Yoast I had to go to Settings->Permalinks and save settings (no need to change anything).
    Your mileage may vary, this worked for me, thanks!

    • I’m having the same issue and I don’t think it’s the cache. I installed the plugin mentioned and that works fine.

    • I had to go to Settings > Permalinks and click Save Changes (without making any changes) in order for it to work after the Yoast setting change.

      Hope it works for you.

  17. A nice informative article but oh my what a misleading title!
    The post title and the last sentence (after the comma) of the first paragraph are totally off!!!

    This is NOT disabling attachment pages/nor stopping WP from creating them (as the title implies) but redirecting links to it to somewhere else, and that is something real different!

    Disabling is stopping some from to be happen, and whatever code is shown in this article (even used by named plugins) it is not stopping WP from creating these attachment pages. This article is about how to redirect , which is okay ofcourse but not as implied by the post title and article as it. Such a shame because that would be a scoop!

    • Henry has pointed out an important distinction.

      I am building a site that requires members to upload sensitive/private information via registration form. We absolutely can not have these files accessible to the public and need minimize any chance that these files will be indexed and publicly visible. Preventing the creation of attachment pages would seem the way to go, but I supposed redirects would work as well. We wouldn’t want to outright disable all attachment pages as we do want some uploaded files to be indexed, however, as WP Beginner Support pointed out, these files can still be indexed if they are contained within other posts.

      Think I will try enabling the attachment page redirects via Yoast SEO plugin as well as change the default directory where registration form uploads are stored (ie. will no longer be in default ‘/uploads’ directory) and disable indexing of that directory via robots.txt.

      Thoughts?

  18. Hi, thanks for the info!

    What about older images which were previously indexed by Google?

    I have had the setting on in Yoast for “redirect attachments” for at least 6 months now, but my older images are still being found.

    What would anyone recommend to do with these images? It concerns me because I get some critical errors on the ahrefs tool:

    duplicate title tags
    duplicate meta descriptions

    Shall I just go and add all the tags?

  19. Putting the line in my image.php file worked perfectly. It was giving me a bad SEO score beforehand as the links to the images weren’t mobile friendly. This has fixed it. Thanks :)

  20. Thanks this post helped me explain to someone why you would want to redirect media attachment pages to the actual post of page containing to media. re: “Sometimes an image on your website can become popular and people might start landing on the attachment page directly from Google. Ideally you would want them to land on your post and see the image in the context you have used it.”

    Word!

  21. Thank you so much for helping me solve the problem of image attachments. I inserted the code

    post_parent)); ?>
    into my image.php file and it worked like a charm.
    So will Google now de-index my attachment page url’s?

  22. Ok. Using the php code (no plugin) what happens if there are two pages/posts using the same image?

  23. I just checked the redirect in SEO as these things were driving me nuts. so glad I found you. thanks – best ashar

  24. I tryed the code you suggest, it works with the images associated with posts os pages, but.. all the other images uploaded that are no assigned to any post, for that images your code does not work.

    • I also had this issue. The Yoast! setting seemed to be ignored. Whether or not it was cache, I like the fact about the image.php solution that you have more freedom to determine what is going to happen. I just wanted to show a 404 for example if the post parent was not set. I solved it like this:

      if($post->post_parent != 0):
      wp_redirect(get_permalink($post->post_parent));
      else:
      $wp_query->set_404();
      status_header(404);
      nocache_headers();
      include( get_query_template( ‘404’ ) );
      endif;

  25. Hello a user called Sam posted this issue – You write “Simply check the noindex, nofollow tag for ONLY the attachment post type.” but I do not see such an option. Are you referring to the “media” section? If I click no index under media will that no index my images or attachments? I would like to no index my attachments but I don’t want to lose traffic from Google images.

    I would also like to know the answer as I have the same issue
    thanks
    philip

    • Philip, no this should not affect your Google Image Search traffic as the option redirects users landing on attachment page to the parent post URL where your image is available for search engines to index.

      Admin

  26. You write “Simply check the noindex, nofollow tag for ONLY the attachment post type.” but I do not see such an option. Are you referring to the “media” section? If I click no index under media will that no index my images or attachments? I would like to no index my attachments but I don’t want to lose traffic from Google images.

  27. Thanks for the heads up, I got a bit of a shock when I saw absolutely everything had been indexed, including elements of the template such as image backgrounds and so on. I’m using Yoast so it is an easy fix – I wonder though if it is worth still having pdf attachment pages indexed – I’ll look into it.

  28. Is this possible to stop attachment pages to be indexed??? I do not want to redirect them to the home page. I just want to stop indexing them.

  29. I love the Internet, within 2 mins of discovering an issue, I had found this post and resolved the problem! Thank you wpbeginner.com

  30. Will this also fix the issue with creating duplicated content where the image holds the same title as the associated post?

  31. Heads up about the plugin… if you use the gallery option to present images in a post, the plugin blocks the function and clicking on an image brings the user back the thumbs index of the images.
    -Bruce

  32. Thank you for this article. It has come just at the right time as I was trying to work this one out. Turns out it is a simple solution.

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