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How to Clean up Your WordPress Media Library


Today we are going to show you how to clean up your WordPress Media library. Whenever you upload an image to WordPress, several copies of that media file are uploaded in various different sizes. Over time, this can lead to a lot of files in your storage that are not used anywhere on the website.

By cleaning up your WordPress media library, you can save a lot of disk space on your hosting and reduce backup sizes.

In this tutorial, we will cover two different plugins and you can decide which one you prefer to go with.

Note: You will be cleaning up unused media files by deleting them forever. This action cannot be undone. Make sure that you have a complete WordPress backup in place before proceeding further.

Option 1. Clean up WordPress Media Library using Media Cleaner

For this method, we will be using the Media Cleaner plugin. It is available as a free plugin with a pro version available with some more features.

First things first, you will need to do is install and activate the Media Cleaner plugin.

Upon activation, go to Media –> Cleaner page to analyse your WordPress media library. The plugin may ask you to reset itself, during this process it will create a new table in your WordPress database to store data.

After that, you need to click on the Start Scan button to run the media analysis.

Media Cleaner will now look for files in your media library and inside your WordPress posts/pages. It will try and find the files that are in your media library but are not used on your website.

This may take a while depending on the size of your media library and the content you have.

Once finished, you’ll see a list of results. It will show you all the media files that are not currently in use on your website as shown below:-

You can select the files that you don’t want to keep and delete them. You can also click on the Delete All button to instantly delete all unused media files.

Option 2. Clean Up WordPress Media Library using Media Dedupper

With this method, we will be using the Media Dedupper plugin. It is also available as both a free and paid version.

However, we recommend using the Pro version because it allows you to prevent deleting duplicate images in the WordPress gallery, Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, and more.

First, you need to install and activate the Media Dedupper plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Media –> Manage Duplicates page and click on the Index Media button to analyse your media library.

The plugin will start analysing your media library and will list all the duplicate images. You can then see if a duplicate image is used on your website.

After reviewing the files, you can select all files or specific duplicates. Next, simply select ‘Smart Delete’ from the Bulk actions drop-down menu and then click the Apply button.

Smart Delete feature will make sure that images that are being used on your website are not deleted. It will also merge duplicate images allowing you to reuse media files without reuploading the same file.

Further methods to reduce Diskspace

Now that you have taken care of the duplicate images on your website, the next step is to optimise your existing media files.

A lot of beginners will directly upload images from their phones and cameras. These high-quality images are often too big in file size. They take up disk space, increase backup sizes, and affect the speed and performance of your WordPress website.

You can use a WordPress image compression plugin to automatically optimise your media files without losing quality. The best plugin for this job is Smush. We use this on every web site we work with. It will go through your entire media library and reduce the dimensions, file size in order to speed up your website. We love the plugin so much we are signed up to the Pro version which you can read more about here.

We hope this article helped you learn how to clean up the WordPress media library.

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