Organize media uploads by users in WordPress guide

If you are running a website with multiple authors contributing, it’s important to keep your media files organized. It will allow easier management of your media uploads which often results in an increase in productivity. There is no need to waste time scrolling through thousands of uploads in search of specific files. You can find several ways to organize media uploads by users in WordPress. Some are more complex than others, some require coding skills, but once you get the grasp, it wouldn’t look so hard anymore.

A few most common ways to organize media uploads by users in WordPress

When too many people are working on the same WordPress site, the number of files inside are piling up. By default, WordPress keeps them all in the same place. Of course, you can sort out the results, but sometimes, it’s not enough. You want a convenient way to find and manipulate your files without other uploads distracting you. On the other side, it’s not everything about the convenience. There are also privacy reasons. In some cases, you will need a way to separate your uploads and restrict who can access them. You can hire experts to take care of your WordPress site and deal with everything, or you can learn a few tricks yourself. Without further ado, let’s see how you can solve some of these situations.

You can use:

  • default media uploads options to a degree
  • plugins to organize media uploads
  • implement some changes in the code

Media uploads options by default

By default, the Media Library page shows all files on the same page. You have the option to display only a specific type, for example, images or audio files. And you have the option to filter them by dates and search by name. You can also manipulate the files inside once you click them. Or you can delete them. There is a convenient bulk select option to choose multiple files at once.

Selecting a type of media file to show.
Click to show a specific type of file.

Additionally, it’s possible to choose between a grid view and a list view. Once in a list view, you can either sort files by the author (group them) if you click on the Author button. Or you can display all the uploads of the same author if you click on the author’s name. Besides those options, that’s about all you can do in the default Media Library.

Sorting files by author’s name in media uploads.
Click to group your media files by the author’s name.

Using plugins to organize media uploads

Quite often, default functions in Media Library are not enough. However, you can find plenty of plugins to help you organize and clean your library. Some are focused on adding new folders to make a better-structured library. While others are generally focused on user restrictions. If you type “media library” in the plugin search bar, you will see that there are more than 2,000 media plugins available.

Plugin search results in WordPress when you search for plugins to organize media uploads by users.
It’s easy to find any type of plugins.

WP Users Media plugin

This plugin disables the user’s access to other people’s media files. When you have various people working on the same website, sometimes you want them to be able to see and use only their own files for the content. Installing this plugin is a straightforward process. Once you click the install button, all you have to do is to activate the plugin. No additional settings are needed. Users will be able to see only their files, while the site administrator will keep access to everything.

If you wish, you can also customize the settings to assign custom user roles. For example, if you have a writing group. You can assign rights for the Editor to see all while keeping authors restricted to their content. To access these options, go to Settings » WP Users Media.

WP Users Media plugin settings screen.
Inside WP Users Media plugin settings.

FileBird – WordPress Media Library Folders

This is an easy-to-use file manager plugin that can help you organize your media uploads into folders. Overall, it allows you to use a virtual structure to manipulate your media files. You can search for files and folders, sort results, add galleries, and improve your productivity in general. And it’s quite intuitive thanks to the implemented right-click context menu, which you can use to create, delete, and edit your folders. There is also a drag-and-drop option which makes things even more functional and easy.

FileBird plugin folder tree.
An intuitive way to organize media uploads by folders.

FileBird comes as a Lite and Pro version and set of interesting features, full compatibility with popular page builders, and multiple language support.

Media Library Assistant

Another useful media library plugin which you can use to manage images and other types of files. With Media Library Assistant you can easily add thumbnail strips, slideshows, and other effects to your gallery. It’s also easy to get used to because of similarity with the default media library in WordPress. Once inside your library, you can see where your images and downloads appear on your website. Whether they are featured images or inserted in the page body. The documentation is extensive, explaining hundreds of optional parameters (WordPress shortcodes), tags, metadata, and other features in an understandable style. Overall, it’s a great tool to keep your media section sorted out.

Enable Media Replace

Enable Media Replace is another handy plugin to help you organize your media library. With this free plugin, you can easily replace images and other files. There is no need to go through tiresome steps and click your way through WordPress only to delete something. In fact, you can do it all on the same screen. This is a great plugin to save time when you need to delete, rename, upload, reupload, or add various files. It also fully compatible with other plugins like ShortPixel Image Optimization, Resize Image After Upload plugin, and regenerate Thumbnails Advanced.

Enable Media Replace plugin image replacing screen when you organize media uploads.
Easy process of replacing images in just a few clicks.

Limit the access with code

You can add this code to your theme function.php file to restrict access to the media library. This way, users can only see and select their own uploads.

add_filter( ‘ajax_query_attachments_args’, ‘wpsnippet_show_current_user_attachments’ );
function wpsnippet_show_current_user_attachments( $query ) {
$user_id = get_current_user_id();
if ( $user_id && !current_user_can(‘activate_plugins’) && !current_user_can(‘edit_others_posts’)) {
$query[‘author’] = $user_id;
return $query;

Additional note: It’s always better to manipulate a child theme code if you plan to do such changes. Because, if something breaks, you will be able to easily switch back. Also, if the theme updates, it won’t nullify your changes.

All the images, videos, and other media files in the same place can be hard to manage. With these methods above, you will be able to easily organize media uploads by users in WordPress. No more double images, no more deleting of wrong files. Everything will be sorted out either by users, or by folders, or both. This way, you will keep your media library clean, and make it more convenient to work with for multiple users.

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