Download images from wordpress media library

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How to export your WordPress media library

Anna Fitzgerald

Anna Fitzgerald

Updated: May 10, 2022

Posted: April 15, 2022

There are a few reasons why you might need to export your WordPress media library. Maybe you used a backup plugin that backed up everything but your media files. Maybe you just created a new site and just want to transfer images from an existing site to the new one.

Site owner exporting media library from WordPress and processing Filezilla FTP client

Whatever the reason, there are several ways to export your media library without having to download each image individually to a folder on your computer. Doing it manually would be tedious and practically impossible on a media rich site.

In this post, we’ll explore four ways you can export media from your WordPress website seamlessly.

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How to export your WordPress media library

There are four methods for exporting the WordPress media library. Use the native export tool to move your media to another WordPress site. Use an FTP solution to download your media files remotely, but this can take a long time. You can use the cPanel file manager for faster downloading. Or you can use a plugin to automate the process.

Let’s discuss each method below so you can choose the one that best suits your skills, file management tools, and media library.

How to export your WordPress media library using the native export tool

WordPress is a built-in export tool. This tool allows you to export your posts, pages, custom post types, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, custom taxonomies, users, and media. Next, we will explain how to use this tool to export your media library. 

1. Launch the session on the WordPress panel. 

2. Click on Tools > Export

Navigating to the WordPress Sidebar Export Tool

3. Select the radio button labeled Media

Export the media using the native export tool in the WordPress dashboard-1

4. Select a date range if you only need to export files that were uploaded within a specific time period.

5. Haga clic en el botón Descargar archivo de exportación .

Esto creará un archivo XML para que lo guarde en su computadora. Una vez guardado, puede iniciar sesión en otro sitio de WordPress y usar la herramienta de importación de WordPress para importar el archivo XML. 

This process is so incredibly simple that it seems like the obvious choice. If However, if your media library is very large or you have a slower connection, then the download might time out before it completes. If either is true for you, then try one of the methods below.

How to Export Your WordPress Media Library Using FTP

FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, offers users direct access to their website’s files from their computers, without the use of a browser. Since FileZilla is one of the most widely used FTP solutions and is officially recommended by WordPress, we’ll use it in this demo. If you’re using another FTP solution, the steps will be similar.

1. Open FileZilla. It should say Remote or Local Site in the top left-corner of your screen.

Se abrió la ventana de Filezilla para iniciar el proceso de exportación de la biblioteca de medios de WordPress

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2. Click on the wp-content directory.

3. Find the folder labelled “uploads” and drag it to your desktop.

Carga la carpeta en el directorio wp-content de FileZilla

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This is another incredibly simple option. However, the major disadvantage of using FTP is how slow the download process is. Each media file will be uploaded to the FTP queue and downloaded one-by-one.

If you have hundreds or thousands of files in your media library, consider one of the other methods below.

How to Export Your WordPress Media Library Using cPanel

cPanel organizes all the files on your WordPress hosting account into folders and lets you manage and edit them with File Manager. Since File Manager is a simple and popular tool, we’ll walk through how you can use it to export your media library. If you’re using another file manager, the process will be similar.

1. To start, log in to your control panel and open the File Manager.

2. Click the public_html folder.

Carpeta public_html en el Administrador de archivos de cPanel resaltada en rojo

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3. Click the wp-content folder.

4. Find the folder labelled “uploads.”

5. Select it, then click the Compress button in the top toolbar.

Flecha roja que apunta al botón de compresión en el Administrador de archivos de cPanel

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6. Under Compression Type, select the Zip Archive option.

Flecha roja que apunta a la opción Archivo comprimido en el Administrador de archivos de cPanel

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7. By default, it will be named “uploads.zip.” You can leave as is or rename it.

8. Click Compress File(s).

9. A new window will automatically open with the “Compression Results,” showing how much the compressed files were reduced in size. Click Close.

10. Back in wp-content, select the uploads.zip folder and click the Download button in the top toolbar.

Botón de descarga en el Administrador de archivos de cPanel resaltado en rojo

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11. Once the download is complete, you can move the file from your Download directory to your desktop or any folder you wish.

If you’d like to simplify this process further, you can use a plugin.

How to Export Your WordPress Media Library Using a Plugin

We’ll walk through how to export your WordPress media library using the Export Media URLs plugin. If you’re using another plugin, check out its documentation for exact steps.

1. First, log into your WordPress dashboard.

2. Click Plugins > Add New.

Haga clic en Complementos> Agregar nuevo en el panel de WordPress para iniciar el proceso de instalación del complemento

3. Search for “Export Media URLs.” When the search result appears, click Install Now.

User searching for and installing Export Media URLs plugin in dashboard

4. Click Activate. You’ll automatically be redirected to Export Media URLs plugin page. 

_Export Media URLs plugin page under Tools tab of WordPress dashboard

5. Now it’s time to configure the Export Media URLs plugin settings. Select the data you want included in the export, in addition to the file URLs. Also select if you want media files by all authors, or specific ones. 

Media URL and files by all authors selected in Export Media URLs plugins settings page

6. Then select CSV file for Export Type. 

CSV file selected as export type on Media URL Export Plugins configuration page

7. Once you’ve made these selections, click Export Now. Your entire WordPress media library will be downloaded as a CSV file into your Downloads directory.

Export button now outlined in red on Media URL Export Plugins configuration page

WordPress Plugins to Export Your Media Library

While any of the methods described above will allow you to export your media library, WordPress plugins can automate the process to save you the most time. Take a closer look at the Export Media Library plugin and another highly-rated option below.

Export Media URLs

Export Media Library is a free WordPress plugin that allows users to extract the URLs of their media library files and export them as a CSV file (or view them within their dashboard). You can also choose to export the ID, title, type, and date uploaded of these media files. 

Since this output format is more helpful for setting up redirects than the XML file format that the WordPress export tool uses by default, this plugin is ideal for exporting your WordPress media library when migrating web hosts. 

User exported media URLs with ID, title, upload date and media type via Export Media URLs

Export Media with Selected Content

When you use the native export feature in WordPress to export a specific post type, any related media files are not exported by default. That’s where Export Media with Selected Content comes to the rescue. When installed, it will add a checkbox labelled “Export media with selected content.” When checked, this plugin will locate the featured image and attachments of a post and export them.

Checkbox labeled "Export media with selected content" added to native export settings when installing plugin

This plugin does have limitations. Since the plugin searches for “attached” media in the body of the post, if the theme or plugins on your site use different ways of referencing media, then the plugin will be unable to find and export them.

Exporting Your WordPress Media Library

If you are changing themes, hosts, or websites, you may need to download all images and media files from your WordPress site. You can do so in several ways: you can use the native export tool, an FTP client, cPanel, or a plugin. The method you pick should best suit your technical skills, file management tools, connection, and media library size.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How To Download Files From WordPress Media Library in 2020

February 9, 2020 Ashiq

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WordPress has become one of the most popular platforms for users to create websites. This is because it’s a content management system that easily lets you run and manage your site while powering it up with thousands of plugins and themes.

You might think that there’s no reason to download the files in your WordPress Media Library for now. But don’t stop reading just yet. Even if you don’t know when you might need them, it’s still important to understand how to do it.

 

Why Download The Media Library Files?

Since tons of people use WordPress, you should take your website’s security more seriously. One of the ways you can do that is by backing up your site, including the media files. So if there’s a chance that you lose your website’s data due to unauthorized access, you can recover it with the files you have.

Other than security reasons, there will also be a time when you might need to transfer images between websites. So it’s useful if you already have the files needed or if you know how to retrieve them in the nick of time. 

 

Ways to Download Files from WordPress Media Library

There are three methods with which you can transfer your media files from a website to your computer, whether it’s multiple images or to download a single image from the WordPress media library :

Hosting Control Panel

The safest way you can download your media library is by using the hosting control panel. You don’t need to use external tools like FTP clients or install a plugin to access the root directory. 

For this tutorial, we’ll use Hostinger’s CPanel, which is similar to other industry standards like the cPanel:

1. Sign in to your hosting service’s admin dashboard. 2. Scroll down to the Files section and click on the File Manager.

image-2

3. Select public_html, then choose the wp_content folder.

image-3

4. To download the entire media library, just highlight the uploads folder and click the Compress button.

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5. Name the file and select the .zip option, then click the COMPRESS button.

image-5

6. Highlight the ZIP file and finally click Download.

image-6

 If you only need specific files, the process after step three is different:

a. Click on the uploads folder, your preferred folder. In the case of this tutorial, it is 2019.

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b. Select the month folder (usually numbered).

c. Highlight the media file that you’re looking for and press Download.

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  • You can select more than one media file, and the process will be the same as steps five and six – archive and download.

 

 

FTP

If you want to access your website files without having to open a browser and sign in to your hosting account, then you’ll like the FTP method. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and you will need to install a third-party FTP client on your computer.

The top free FTP clients are FileZilla (all platforms), WinSCP(Windows), and Cyberduck (Mac). This tutorial uses WinSCP as an example:

1. Go to your hosting dashboard, find the FTP Accounts button under the Files section, and click on it.

image-9

2. Create your FTP account and save the private FTP Access information.

3. Open the FTP client on your computer and fill in the required fields to connect to your website’s data.

4. Select the wp-content folder once you’ve logged in.

image-10

5. Highlight uploads, click Download, then press OK.

image-11

You will have all your media files transferred to your computer. If you need individual files, simply navigate to your uploads folder in the FTP client and select the files you want before clicking the Download button.

 

 

 

Plugins

Plugins are commonly used by all WordPress users, so if you prefer to keep it simple and do this through your dashboard, the option is there. The most popular addition is that it allows you to access the files on your website with WP File Manager.

1. Install WP File Manager and activate it.

2. Click on the WP File Manager section on the sidebar to see the public_html directory .

image-12

3. Select the wp-content folder and highlight the upload folder before pressing Download .

image-13

Your entire media library will be downloaded automatically. To download specific files, simply browse through the upload folder and select the media files you need before downloading.

It’s easy and fast – One of the reasons most choose to use plugins instead of the above methods. However, keep in mind that it can be a bit insecure. So, for security purposes, it is better to disable and remove the plugin after you are done using it. 

 

 

Conclusion

Downloading your media files can be useful when you need to back up your website or if you need to transfer files between sites. It is not a complicated process, in fact, you are given three options on how you can do it:

  1. Through the file manager in the control panel of your hosting service.
  2. From the desktop of your computer through an FTP client.
  3. By using a WordPress plugin that allows you to access your files from the WordPress Dashboard.

Choose the most comfortable and easy method for you. It is easy to download a seule image from the WordPress media library. Good luck !

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