WordPress Can't Upload Images? Here's How to Fix It
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WordPress Can’t Upload Images? Here’s How to Fix It

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Are you having difficulty uploading media to your WordPress website?

This issue may seem to come out of nowhere. Often, making changes to a website on WordPress can cause the problem of failing to upload images.

It will need some troubleshooting to find out why media files aren’t uploading to WordPress. But it is easy to fix this problem.

This article lists several potential errors, along with solutions to help fix image upload issues.

Issues Uploading a Single File

If all the files upload except for one, it is most likely one of two errors:

The file size is too large


If the file size is too large, increase the maximum upload size, especially when uploading images, or simply use a photo editor to downsize it without compromising on quality. The best option to solve this issue is to go to your site's root directory and create a php.ini file.

Upload the php.ini file to the appropriate WordPress folder to allow a larger image size. Add these lines of text to the php.ini file to make adjustments to the file size limit:

upload_max_filesize = 128M
post_max_size = 128M
max_execution_time = 300

These changes will increase the image upload size limit.

Invalid Image File Name

The file name may be causing WordPress image upload issues. Especially if it contains special characters ($, *, &, # …) or accent letters (ñ, á, é).

If this is the case, rename the file and remove special characters or accent letters. Then upload the file to WordPress again.

Issues Uploading Images to Your Media Library


The following error may appear when uploading an image file:

‘Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads/2019/04. Is its parent directory writable by the server?'

There may also be blank images instead of the original images in the WordPress media library. This is most likely an error with the upload folder.

Ensuring the upload folder has the right permissions will likely fix this issue.

Use an FTP client to change the file permission:


1. Go to the /wp-content/ folder after connecting to your website through FTP. Then access your wp-content uploads within the uploads folder.

2. Right-click on the uploads directory and select File Permissions.

3. In the file permissions dialog box, type 744 into the numeric value field. Select the option to recurse into subdirectories.

If setting directory permissions to 744 does not work, try 755. Now select the radio button that says 'Apply to directories only.'


4. Select OK to use these adjustments. The FTP client will apply file and folder permissions to the directories from now on.

Adjust the file permissions for each file in the uploads directory:

1. Right-click on the uploads directory. Click ‘file permissions’ and change the number to 644 in the dialog box.


2. Check the option to Recurse into subdirectories. Finally, click on the ‘Apply to files only’ button and select the OK button to use these adjustments.

Now the FTP client will adjust the permissions for every file within the uploads folder.

Having changed the file permissions, access the WordPress admin area. Try to upload an image file again.

WordPress HTTP Error


It is possible to reference an HTTP status code with browser errors. However, it’s a bit trickier to solve when a WordPress HTTP error occurs.

It's even more difficult for those unfamiliar with using debugging mode in WordPress.

Here are a few of the most common issues, and how to fix them:

Reload the Page


More often than not, reloading the page can fix the issue. This may sound like a very simple fix, but here’s why to try it:

1. The process may have failed because WordPress lost connection with the browser.

There could be many reasons for this. For instance, an issue with the ISP, a temporary issue with your WordPress host, etc. Reloading the page and re-uploading the media file will allow this error to fix itself.

2. The login session with WordPress may have expired. If this is the case, it will kick you out after you’ve reloaded the page, or you have navigated back from another tab.

So it will be necessary to log in again.

Raise the PHP Memory Limit


Limited server resources can affect how applications run. This may cause several errors with WordPress.

Site owners may see that WordPress can't upload images, and it displays an HTTP error message. It’s best to make some adjustments through FTP and increase the PHP memory limit in WordPress:

1. Access your site using FTP and open the folder with all your WordPress files.

2. Add the following code to the wp-config file:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' )

This will increase the PHP memory limit to 256M. That will fix a memory-related error with the WordPress HTTP.

Readjust Image Editors to Use a Single Thread


Check the default image editor. WordPress uses GD Library and Imagick.

These editors can handle images that use multiple threads, which accelerates image processing.

Unfortunately, not all web hosts allow the multi-thread feature. Therefore, this may lead to an HTTP error when uploading an image file.

To fix this, make the necessary adjustments to the htaccess file.

Open your website through FTP. Open the htaccess file within the WordPress root folder and add the following code:


Check to ensure that this has solved the image upload issue. If not, test the following:

# Exclude the file upload and WP CRON scripts from authentication Satisfy Any Order allow,deny Allow from all Deny from none

Upload Image Files to the Browser


A browser uploader can help bypass this WordPress issue.

To switch to the native browser uploader, go to Media > Add New in the WordPress dashboard. Then, click browser uploader.

Disable Plugins


Plugins may cause unintended issues, especially some that deal with images.

Deactivate image optimization plugins, security plugins, etc. Then try uploading the files.

This should do the trick. Contact the plugin developer for further help if needed.

Change the WordPress Theme


Your WordPress theme may be causing the issue. To test this, first create a backup of your site.

Temporarily set your WordPress site to a default theme like Twenty-Twenty. After this, check if the image uploads properly and your site still works as expected.

Are You Using a Caching Plugin?


A caching plugin can sneakily cause a few issues, luckily it has a pretty simple solution. Try clearing the cache and browser history.

Then revisit the media uploader to try uploading the image again.

Do You Have the Latest PHP Version?


Most will likely encounter issues if their PHP version is lower than 7. Although WordPress does work with older versions of PHP, it recommends PHP 7.4 at the least.

Many web hosts provide an option to change the version of PHP from their hosting dashboard. For further help with this issue contact your web host.

Get Help from Your WordPress Host


If WordPress HTTP error messages still appear, it might be wise to contact your WordPress hosting provider. Do this before making any further changes.

The other solutions are a bit more complicated. So it will be more helpful to reach out to your WordPress hosts than try to solve them alone.

FAQ about the WordPress can't upload images error

Why can't I upload images to WordPress?

You might not be able to add pictures to WordPress for a number of reasons. Some common reasons are wrong file permissions, not enough server resources, plugin or theme conflicts, or file size limits.

How do I fix the "failed to upload image" error in WordPress?

There are a few things you can try to fix the "failed to upload image" error in WordPress. First, make sure your file isn't too big and that your server has enough resources to handle the upload. You can also try to turn off any plugins or themes that are causing problems and check the permissions on your files.

What could be causing the "HTTP error" when uploading images in WordPress?

When you try to upload images to WordPress, you might get a "HTTP error." This could be because of a problem with a plugin or theme, a limit on the size of the file, or a problem with the server. You can fix the problem by turning off any plugins or themes that are causing problems, increasing your memory limit, or checking your file permissions.

How can I increase the maximum upload file size in WordPress?

You can edit the php.ini file on your server or add code to your WordPress functions.php file to increase the maximum file size that can be uploaded. You can also use a plugin like "Increase Max Upload Filesize" to raise the limit without having to change any code.

Why are my images uploading but not showing up in my media library in WordPress?

If you upload images to WordPress but they don't show up in your media library, it could be because of a caching problem or a problem with your theme or plugin. You can try clearing your browser's cache or turning off any plugins or themes that are causing the problem to see if that fixes it.

How can I troubleshoot a slow image upload in WordPress?

You can try a few things to fix a slow image upload in WordPress, such as optimizing your images, turning off plugins or themes that cause conflicts, or upgrading your server's resources. You can also try using a plugin like "EWWW Image Optimizer" to compress your images and speed up the uploading process.

What permissions should I set for my WordPress upload folder?

For security reasons, the permissions for your WordPress upload folder should be set to 755 or 750, depending on how your server is set up. This will let your server read and run the files in the folder, but it will stop people who shouldn't be able to from changing them.

How do I prevent my images from being automatically compressed when uploaded to WordPress?

You can stop WordPress from automatically compressing your images when you upload them by turning off the "auto image compression" setting in your theme or plugin. You can also optimize your images without compressing them by using a plugin like "Smush."

How can I optimize my images for faster upload and better performance in WordPress?

You can use a plugin like "ShortPixel" or "TinyPNG" to compress your images without losing quality so that they can be uploaded faster and work better in WordPress. You can also optimize your images by changing their size, saving them in the right file format, and reducing the number of colors they have.

Can I upload images to WordPress without using the media library?

Yes, you can add images to WordPress without using the media library. Just use the "Add Media" button to add them to your posts or pages. But using the media library has a lot of benefits, like making it easier to organize and manage your images, so it's best to do so whenever you can.

Ending thoughts on WordPress can't upload images error

The "WordPress can't upload images" error is common, especially for regular WordPress users. But with the right techniques, it is possible to fix an image upload issue.

The tips in this article will help with any current and future image upload issues.

If you enjoyed reading this article on WordPress can't upload images error, you should check out this one about WordPress add media button not working error.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like failed to open stream error, WordPress post missed schedule, failed to load resource error, WordPress posting to Facebook done automatically, how to reorder pages in WordPress and WordPress updating failed error.

Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 260,000+ customers.