Ways to Clean Up Your WordPress Media Library

Media files are a great way to add appeal to your post/page and keep your reader’s attention. That being said, they are an integral part of many websites nowadays. The only problem is that WordPress will make several copies of the images that you have uploaded which will, with time, lead to a ton of used space in storage. But don’t worry – you don’t have to give up on images altogether. You can just learn how to clean up your WordPress media library and save a lot of disk space on your server.

While this process might sound like a complicated endeavor, trust us – it isn’t. And the good news is that you have not one, but two different ways (plugins) to easily clean up the media library. Since our WP Full Care crew likes sharing knowledge with you, we are more than happy to give you a step-by-step guide of both methods.

A man writing a post in WordPress.
You must have used hundreds if not thousands of images
on your website so far.

Why is it important to clean up your WordPress media library?

As previously mentioned, media files take up a significant portion of disk space on your WordPress hosting server. But unfortunately, that’s not all they do. They also increase backup sizes, which means that it takes much longer to backup your website. Or transfer and restore it. If you have been an owner of your WordPress website for quite some time, then you are definitely due for a media library cleaning. Luckily, we have the solution to your problems.

However, before you decide which method you want to use, we suggest you first backup your website. Remember, any time you are changing or updating anything on your website, you have to ensure you have a recent restore point. Considering the fact that all the images that you delete will be permanently gone, and you cannot undo the action, it will be wise to have a backup at hand.

Method #1 – Clean up media files by using Media Cleaner

WordPress is a great platform that works well with websites of all sorts. And one of the main reasons for that is the fact that WordPress developers have ensured that you always have a plethora of plugins at your disposal – for just about any additional function. That’s why it makes sense that there would be a plugin that would help you clean up media files. And, it is symbolically called Media Cleaner!

As a free plugin, its installation and activation are pretty simple and straightforward. Once you successfully activate the plugin, follow the Media > Cleaner course. This is the page where the analysis of your media library can be performed. What the plugin will do is create a new table in the database where it can store data. By clicking on the Start Scan button that you will notice on the screen, the plugin will run the media analysis.

A plant next to a note pad.
Once you have a list of all the superfluous images, it will be easy to decide which ones to delete.

What the Media Cleaner will do is try to find images that are found in your media library but aren’t used anywhere on your website. You need to bear in mind that this is a process that can take some time – it all depends on how many posts and pages you have. Once the plugin runs its course, it will show you a list of all the problematic or extra images. From here, you can either manually select which items you want to delete or you can just click on the Delete All button. Either way, you have to admit that it was pretty easy to clean up your WordPress media library this way.

Method #2 – Clean up media files by using Media Deduper

Media Deduper is yet another WordPress plugin that is available as both a free and a pro version. While the free version comes with an obvious advantage, we still suggest you use the pro version. The reason is simple – you can prevent deleting duplicate images in the WordPress gallery, Yoast SEO, and more. And the start is pretty simple – just install and activate the plugin.

Once that part of the process is finished, go to Media > Manage Duplicates. This is the page where you can analyze your media library simply by clicking on the Index Media button. Once again, you will be able to see a list of all the duplicate images once the analysis is finished. Now you can review the list and decide which images you want to delete and which ones you would like to keep. Now you can select the Smart Delete option that you can find in the Bulk actions drop-down menu and then just press the Apply button.

A man learning how to clean up your WordPress media library on a laptop.
There is no reason to put off cleaning up your media library. It’s a pretty simple and quick process.

And why would you want to use the Smart Delete option, you ask? Well, this feature will make sure that images that are used on your website won’t be deleted. Furthermore, the Smart Delete option will also merge duplicate images, which means that you can reuse media files without reuploading them.

Welcome to the wonderful world of WordPress

As a platform, WordPress makes it pretty easy to be a website owner. It’s true that the regular maintenance of your WordPress website might require some time and effort on your part. But all of that time always ends up being wisely invested. In case you have had your website for quite some time, we definitely suggest that you clean up your WordPress media library. You might not have to consider it as a part of the regular WordPress maintenance, but it should be a task you accomplish every once in a while.

If you don’t feel like spending your time on website maintenance, you know that you can always contact us. Our WP Full Care team is at your full disposal, and our WordPress experts are more than happy to be of assistance. Develop your website beyond your imagination – with us by your side.

Stay Informed