The core version of the WordPress media library, even in version 5.5, isn't good when it comes to WordPress media management. The WordPress media library is much more oriented towards image uploads and displaying them in your site. For a content management system, it's surprising how lacking the core library is in the media management department.
In 2020, WordPress has evolved to power pretty much any type of website you could dream up. Because of this content creators have needs to upload many different types of media, everything from images to word documents to PDFs to font files to more.
Media libraries can quickly balloon in size. For example, our isotropic blog has over 5000 photos alone. We've also uploaded dozens of PDF files, manage multiple .woff2 five families, and have unique file types like .json.
with the basic media library management system implemented in WordPress, we have three options when it comes to organization. We can do it in a grid format, list format, or search for an individual file. Other than that, it's very difficult to filter out file types, and there's virtually no additional organization methods.
If you think to any other media management tool, the core feature is Folders. Within folders, you can organize different file types. this makes it really helpful when it comes to organizing hundreds if not thousands of individual media files.
WordPress websites grow, and with that growth comes an increase in the number of files that you need to manage. The core version doesn't even have the basic folder functionality, and many people I don't even know where to start when it comes to revamping the WordPress media library for 2020.
Luckily, there are a hefty collection of WordPress media library folders and organization oriented plugins these offer the necessary functionalities of adding folders to the WordPress media library, allowing you to have advanced filtering and search capabilities, as well as categorization and organization Utilities.
But, when you step into this world of WordPress media management plugins, you are barraged with hundreds of offerings. It's pretty clear that this feature is lacking from the core version of WordPress due to the sheer volume of 3rd party solutions to the problem.
There are some free third party solution plugins and some premium. We've used a lot of them in client websites over the years, and wanted to write this article listing the top plugins for WordPress media management. These plugins all do slightly different things, but the core functionality is media library management and organization.
Installing these plugins should make a large media library on WordPress easier to manage by adding organization tools such as folders, and categorization tools such as filters and tags. Let's take a look at some of the top WordPress media library management plugins.
The first plugin on our list is a freely available offering from the WordPress plugin repository, and it adds media library folders. This is a much needed addition to a WordPress media library as it allows you to easily categorize and organize WordPress and media. You can also reduce server burden.
Instead of just categorizing everything by month and day, you can add new folders and view all of them from the WordPress admin back-end, eliminating the need to go into the FTP file structure of your site.
Just like the Windows Media Explorer, you can move, rename, copy, and delete folders and files by simply dragging and dropping.
There's also a couple of other nice functionalities such as thumbnail regeneration, image search engine optimization Which allows you to specify the title and all attributes when uploading , and the ability to sync folders and files when uploading via FTP.
It's free, and very highly rated, Adding the essential requirement of WordPress media library folders to your core website. There's also a pro version which supports advanced custom fields, premium searching and filtering functions, and support for multi site. However, media library folders pro isn't the most valuable premium offering out there, And if you're looking for more, continue down this list.
However, if you just need a simple and quick way to add folders to your WordPress media library, using media library folders plugin (Again, free from the WordPress repository) is the best and cheapest way to do this.
This is another free plugin on the WordPress repository, and a step up from the WordPress media library folders solution. It allows you to organize the entire media library by creating drag-and-drop nestable categories. Basically, recreating the Windows File Explorer.
Simply create a new category, and then drag and drop your files into them. This can be done individually or in bulk. You can directly upload files into specific categories, and even create menus that allow you to create rename and delete any media category.
What's nice about this tool is that it integrates with popular page builders, which are quickly becoming the norm when building WordPress websites. Currently, HappyFiles works with gutenberg, elementor, Divi, Beaver builder, oxygen builder, bricks, brizzy, and WP bakery.
The tool becomes even more powerful when using the pro version, which is a one time payment of $19.00. HappyFiles Free only allows you to create a maximum of 10 media categories. The pro version allows you to create unlimited categories, on unlimited websites, set up one click plugin updates, priority support, resizeable sidebars, and even user management. If you're looking for a simple and well designed way to categorize your WordPress media, this is your best bet.
If you're looking for a more robust and professional solution, real media library is the best WordPress file management plugin on the market. Subsequently, it's also the most expensive coming in at 39 dollars. However, if you work with a lot of files and folders on a WordPress website, the cost is well worth it.
First, it's an incredibly popular plugin with a 5 star rating by 508 people, and 15,500 sales at the time of writing. Our agency is one of them. This tool is the basic features of creating files and folders, but incorporates right-click functionality and on the fly file and folder renaming. You can drag and drop media in folders as need be, but you can also create shortcuts for files, easily filtered your media library when inserting into posts and pages, choose custom image orders, set up a list mode, and more.
There's also advanced upload management, where you can drag and drop many different files into the media library and track the progress of the upload. These can be uploaded into the general unorganized category, or directly into folders.
In Gutenberg, you can then quickly create galleries from a folder. this is really powerful as every time a new image is added to the folder in your media library, it is shown in the front end Gallery. If you're a photographer who has collections, you can even use this function And automatically upload photos into that specific folder, which would subsequently be displayed on the front end of your website.
This tool is also available in multiple languages from English to German to Dutch to Spanish to French to Swedish and more.
When it comes to compatibility, this tool works with pretty much everything from Elementor to Divi to most of the popular themes, and most of the popular plugins out there. You can even set up a dark mode for this media library. There's also a front end and a back end API that you can use to easily push and pull media directly from your WordPress website. If you're looking for an all-in-one developer friendly solution, WordPress real media library is the only choice out there.
Finally, if you are serious about your WordPress media library management and categorization, there's an addon called real physical media that integrates with real media library.
This tool is really unique and we haven't been able to find anything similar to it on the market. Instead of simply tagging categories to database entries, word press real physical media essentially allows you to have an entire media management system self hosted on your WordPress installation. Essentially, you can reflect the folder structure of the real media library folders from your WordPress website directly into your physical file system.
Not only do you get a more descriptive file path when compared to FTP but all changes that you make on your physical media library contained within your local computer are automatically reflected to your WordPress media library. The more descriptive file path is great for search engine optimization, and this is incredibly important if you are using images and files to drive a lot of your traffic. There's also a redirect manager, so this is definitely oriented towards search engine optimization.
Basically, the combination of these two plugins together, real media library, and Real physical media allow you to easily manage all your files on both your computer and WordPress. Management includes physical folder generation, categorization, advanced search, advanced upload tools, and more. If you're anybody who works with a ton of files and WordPress, like content publishers or photographers, these two tools are the best way to manage your WordPress media library.
In 2020, the core installation of the WordPress media library simply doesn't cut it. There's almost no way you can categorize images and media uploads, and this becomes apparent as your library and website grow.
There are several amazing plugins out there (most are free) that you can use to categorize and sort media uploaded to your WordPress website. Not only will this save you time, but it increases search engine optimization And simply makes your life a lot easier.
We've used all three of these solutions in several different client websites , so if you have any questions about any of these plugins that are used to enhance your WordPress media library, reach out in the comments section below.