download images from wordpress media library

There are plenty of situations where it makes sense to download images from your WordPress media library. For example, you might be migrating to a new website, or you may want to create a backup of valuable media files. Or, you might just need to download a few images to your local computer, rather than downloading the entire media library.

The good news is there are multiple ways to download your media library in WordPress. For instance, you can download your images via the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or install a plugin to automate the process.

👉 In this post, we’ll show you three ways to download images from the WordPress media library. Let’s get started!

Three ways how to download images from WordPress media library

  1. Download one or more images from your WordPress dashboard – download individual images as needed.
  2. Download your media library files via FTP – bulk download all the image files to your local computer.
  3. Back up your site using a plugin like Duplicator – download a copy of your entire site, including all of your site’s images.

1. Download one or more images from your WordPress dashboard

All the remaining methods on this list deal with how to download images from WordPress media library in bulk. That is, downloading every single image at once.

However, you might have situations where you only want to download a small number of images, so we’ll cover that first.

To start, go to the Media area in your WordPress dashboard.

Make sure you’re using the list view. Then, hover over the image that you want to download and click the Download File option.

How to download images from WordPress media library

That should automatically download the image file to your local computer.

To download additional images, you can repeat the steps. However, if you want to download every single image in your media library, you should use one of the other methods on this list.

2. Download your media library via FTP

The most complete way to bulk download images from the WordPress media library is to export media files via the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), which lets you directly access all the files on your site’s server, including in the media library.

We’ll show you how to do this below – but you can check out our full WordPress FTP tutorial if you want more in-depth instructions.

First, install an FTP client like the free FileZilla software.

Then, you’ll need to connect to your site’s server. To do this, you’ll use your FTP credentials, which include your Host, Username, Password, and Port:

Connecting WordPress to FTP client FileZilla

You can find this information by logging into the control panel of your hosting account. Or, if you’re unable to access these details, contact your web host for support.

After you connect your site, you’ll be able to view your site files in your right-hand panel, under the Remote Site section. Next, you’ll need to locate the root directory of your site. This is usually labelled public_html or something similar:

Accessing the WordPress root directory in FileZilla

Within your root directory, you’ll find the wp-content folder. Open it and select uploads:

Downloading WordPress uploads file using FTP

Now, all you need to do is drag the uploads folder to your left-hand panel in order to save it to your local device. It’s as simple as that!

However, it’s important to note that downloading your media library in this way can be time-consuming. That’s because with FTP, each file will be downloaded individually. Therefore, if you have lots of images on your site, you might prefer to use a different method.

3. Create a backup of your entire WordPress website

The last way to download your media library is to create a backup of your entire website. Typically, users make website backups for security purposes. That’s because if you’re making a major change to your site, it’s helpful to have a backup on hand in case anything goes wrong.

However, you can also make a backup of your website to export your images. To get started, you’ll need to choose a backup plugin. There are plenty of excellent options available, but Duplicator is super simple to set up and configure.

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin in WordPress, visit Duplicator > Packages:

Download images from the WordPress media library using a backup plugin

Here, click on Create New in the right-hand corner. Then, choose a name for your backup and select Next to continue:

Make a backup of your site

Your website will then be scanned, and you’ll be given information about your site’s migration status, file sizes, database, and more. If an error is found, you might want to resolve the issue before you continue.

For example, you may find that you have too many uncompressed images on your site that can hinder the backup process. In this scenario, it might be a good idea to optimize your images for better results.

However, if you’re happy to proceed, simply check the box next to Yes. Continue with the build process! Then, hit the Build button:

Duplicator backup scan

At this point, click on Download Both Files to download your installer and archive files:

Download your WordPress media library from a backup

Now, your WordPress backup (including your media library) will be downloaded to your computer.

When the backup archive is saved to your computer, open it and look for the wp-content folder.

Download WordPress images from backup.

Inside this folder, you’ll find another folder called uploads, where all your WordPress images are stored by year and month.

If you want to download the entire media library, select the uploads folder and click the Extract To button.

extract WordPress images from backup.

If you only want to download images from specific years or months, select the folders you need, then Extract To.

uploads folders by year in wp-content.

Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the media library and click OK. Your WordPress images are now stored locally on your computer.

Conclusion 🤓

If you’re moving to a new website or backing up your images, you might want to download your WordPress media library. This way, you can store files on your computer or import them to a fresh WordPress installation. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to achieve this.

To recap, here are three ways to download images from your WordPress media library:

  1. Download individual images from your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Export your media library via FTP.
  3. Create a backup of your entire WordPress website.

👉 Alternatively, you can also consider hosting your WordPress images externally, which lets you store them on a different server.

Do you have any questions about how to download images from the WordPress media library? Let us know in the comments section below!

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