Clean Up WordPress Media Library Guide

We’ll share a guide to discuss various ways to clean up your WordPress Media Library and how to do it for free

Updated on October 1, 2023
Clean Up WordPress Media Library Guide

In this post, we’ll share a guide to discuss various ways to clean up your WordPress Media Library and how to do it for free. We’ll then introduce image cleanup plugins that can make the process easier. Media files are often necessary for addition to any website. However, it’s easy for your WordPress Media Library to become full of unused files, which can slow down your website and make media management difficult.

Why is Media Library Cleanup Necessary?

  • Enhanced Performance: A cleaned-up media library ensures faster loading times and improved website performance.
  • Optimized Storage Space: Removing unnecessary files helps in optimizing storage, especially crucial for websites with limited hosting space.
  • Improved SEO Rankings: A well-optimized Media Library contributes to better SEO rankings by reducing page load times and improving user experience.

How To Clean Up WordPress Media Library Guide

However, managing your Media Library need not be a cumbersome task. By cleaning it up regularly and optimizing your images appropriately, you can be sure your website (and its media contents) are operating at their best.

Eliminate Duplicate Images: Clean WordPress Media

While you may have uploaded multiples of the same image, usually duplicate images are caused by WordPress’ automatic creation of multiple image formats (such as Thumbnail, Medium, and Large). This can quickly fill up your available storage space, while also slowing your website down.

Fortunately, this is something you can easily put a stop to. To do so, head to Settings > Media within your WordPress dashboard: To prevent the creation of multiple image sizes, simply change the values in each box to 0. Then, click Save Changes: With no dimensions in place, WordPress will no longer be able to save multiple sizes of the same image.

Delete Unused Files and Images To Clean Up WordPress Media

One of the easiest ways to unload storage space and keep your site running at its best is to delete all of your unused files and images. From the WordPress dashboard, go to Media > Library. To delete a single image, click it, then choose the Delete Permanently option at the bottom of the screen: A popup will appear on the screen. Clicking OK will remove the file from your Media Library.

You can also bulk delete files and images, which is a quicker way of managing unused files. From the Media Library page, click Bulk Select at the top. Click on all files you’d like to delete, and choose Delete Selected. A popup will appear and, just like above.

Click OK to permanently remove these images: It’s not uncommon to ‘collect’ files over time that aren’t necessary. This is why you should repeat this process at least every other month (though, the more frequent the better).

Media Cleaner

Media Cleaner is a simple plugin to clean up WordPress media. However, one that makes the removal of unused media files simple. Once installed, the plugin will add all files not being on your website. Such as in posts, pages, or galleries to a temporary trash bin. You can then review the files to be sure you want to delete them and make their removal permanent.

Media Deduper

Bring order to the chaos of your media library and download Media Deduper. This plugin helps you find and eliminate duplicate files from your WordPress media library and prevent future duplicates.  Once installed and running, the Media Deduper does two main things:

  • It duplicates your media files list. This list helps the plugin identify redundant files so you can easily delete all but one copy of your file.
  • It blocks duplicate files. Media Deduper scans files as they’re uploaded to see if the files are already in your library. If it determines that you’re uploading a duplicate, it will point you to the existing file, instead. No more accidental duplicates!

Routine Maintenance

Regularly clean up and organize your Media Library to maintain optimal website performance and SEO rankings. Set up a schedule to periodically assess and clean out unnecessary files and optimize new uploads.

Optimize Database

Post cleanup, optimize your WordPress database to remove any lingering overhead. Plugins like WP-Optimize can assist in cleaning up the database, removing transient options, and optimizing database tables.