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Let me explain each of the image upload errors in WordPress and show you how to fix them. I’ll also provide a “catch-all” solution that’s most likely to solve the issue if all others fail.

Image upload issues are relatively common in WordPress. They’re often characterized by an inability to upload images, or the image gallery in WordPress showing blank images(this extends to WordPress posts too).

An image upload error can happen unexpectedly, or in some cases. after you make changes to your website. The solution to your upload issue will depend on the kind of error you’re getting.

Here are the four common symptoms:

  1. When you can’t upload a particular file
  2. When you get errors related to file size
  3. When you see blank images in the gallery or your posts
  4. When you’re getting a WordPress HTTP error when uploading

Let’s look at the fixes!

1. You Can’t Upload a Particular File

If you encounter an error when uploading a particular file, quickly try to upload another one. If the second file uploads successfully, then the issue is related to the first file. There are two easy solutions to fix this:

Solution #1: Resize the Image

Oftentimes, an excessively large image dimension is the reason you can’t upload a particular file to WordPress. The only way to fix this is by resizing your image to make it smaller. You can do this with an image editor on your device or an online website like picresize.

Solution #2: Rename the Image File

If the filename contains special characters such as @,#,$,&,*, and so on, you need to rename the image file to remove the characters before trying to reupload it.

2. You Get File Size Errors 

This happens when the image you’re trying to upload is larger than the limit set for file uploads in WordPress. To fix this error, you need to increase the limit for file uploads.

One easy way to avoid this error in the first place is by comparing the set maximum upload size to the size of the file you want to upload. You can find the upload limit on the Media > Add page, just underneath the file upload section.

Upload New MediaUpload New Media
Upload New Media

Now to increase the limit, open the wp-config.php file with a text editor and set the new maximum upload size in ini_set() as shown below:

The value you can put here ranges from 2MB to 256 MB. However, I recommend not going over 128MB as you most likely won’t upload anything that big to your site

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ini_set('upload_max_size' , '256M' );
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ini_set('post_max_size','256M');

If you can’t upload images and your gallery is showing blank images, it’s most likely because you do not have the right file permissions in your upload folder. 

This error often occurs just after migrating to another host. 

To fix your upload issue in this case, you need to change to file permissions in your upload folder. Please note that you need an FTP account in order to do this. 

  1. Go to the cPanel in your hosting manager and click on File Manager.
  2. Open the folder containing your WordPress files
  3. Locate your wp_content folder and open it
  4. Find your uploads folder, right-click on it, then select File Permissions
  5. Set the numeric value to 744 and select Apply to directories only
  6. Click Ok to save changes.

Now refresh your media library in WordPress and check if the images are displayed. Also, try to upload a file.

Keep in mind that, in some cases, setting the File Permissions to 744 may not resolve the issue. If that case, repeat the process above, but this time, set the File Permissions to 755.

4. You’re Getting a WordPress HTTP Error When Uploading

If you run into an HTTP error when attempting to upload a file, the two most likely causes are WordPress memory problems and multiple threads in your image processor. Now here are each of their solutions:

Solution 1: Increase the Memory Limit 

Access your cPanel and open the folder containing your WordPress files. In this folder, locate and open your wp-config.php file using a text editor, then include the following code:

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define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M')

This increases your PHP memory limit to 256MB and would fix your WordPress HTTP error if it’s memory-related.

Solution 2: Set the Image Processor to Use One Thread

If the error persists, then the next step is to set the image processor to use one thread. 

Open your website’s folder again, locate your .htaccess file, open it with a text editor, and include the following configuration:

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SetEnv MAGICK_THREAD_LIMIT 1

Now try uploading an image to see if the error is fixed. 

5. Other Solutions

If all of the above solutions fail to fix your image upload issue in WordPress, here are the other possible fixes you can try.

Solution 1: Use the Browser Uploader

Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Media > Add New. Click on browser uploader and then try uploading this way to see if it fixes your issue.

Browser uploaderBrowser uploaderBrowser uploader
Browser uploader

Solution 2: Clear the Cache in Your Caching Plugin

Some WordPress users have been able to fix this issue by simply clearing the cache on their caching plugin. If you’re using a caching plugin, try this to see if it fixes your issue.

Solution 3: Disable All Plugins

If everything covered up until this point fails to work, then disabling your plugin will very likely resolve your image upload issue.

WordPress depends on a lot of tools and plugins to run properly. Every time you activate a plugin that isn’t compatible with your version of WordPress(or the plugin itself isn’t updated), there is a good chance of it messing up your website. 

Here’s how to disable all plugins with WordPress:

  • In your admin dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins
  • Select all plugins, click the Bulk actions menu, then select Deactivate
  • Click on Apply
Apply pluginApply pluginApply plugin
Apply plugin

Next, go to your media library, refresh it, and check if the images are now being displayed. Try uploading a new image as well. 

If that fixes the issue, activate the plugins one by one to find your problematic plugin. When you find the bad plugin, either install a version compatible with your website or remove it completely.

This step resolves the image upload issue most of the time. But if nothing changes after you refresh the website, then it indicates that nothing is wrong with any of your plugins and they’re up to date. You might have to restore to a working backup copy or call in a specialist.

Conclusion

WordPress image upload errors can be a major headache for website owners and developers. With the right troubleshooting steps, however, it’s possible to fix the problem and get your images working again. 

In this article, we covered possible solutions like increasing your memory limit, resizing your images, using the browser uploader, and disabling all plugins. The key is to take the time to troubleshoot and investigate the issue in order to identify and resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.

If you want more information on how to fix critical errors in WordPress, read our step-by-step guide here.

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