Imagine you are running an online shop with thousands of products, each with multiple images. Over time, some of these images become unnecessary. Keeping these unused images can slow down your site, frustrating your visitors.

Do you want to keep them?

This blog is for those who want to know why it’s important to clean up the WordPress media library and how to do it effectively.


Media files are essential for your website, but it’s crucial to keep them optimized and remove unused images.

Your website’s media library often contains unnecessary files that take up valuable server space and slow down your site. To maintain optimal performance, you need to clean up your WordPress media carefully.

If you run a WooCommerce or eCommerce site, you’ll have many images, especially for out-of-stock products. Removing these unused images can free up space and enhance your site’s performance.

Why Is Managing Images on a Website a Must?

Images often make up a significant portion of a web page’s total size. Unoptimized or unused images can lead your website to longer load times. Fast-loading sites are essential for retaining visitors, as users are likely to leave a site if it takes too long to load. 

A well-organized image library makes site maintenance more manageable. It’s easier to update, replace, or delete images when they are properly categorized and optimized, saving time and effort in the long run. High-quality, appropriately sized images contribute to a professional and polished appearance, building trust and credibility with your audience, as a visually appealing site reflects attention to detail and professionalism.

Necessity of Cleaning WordPress Unused Images

Images are a part of our online business’s marketing. There is a huge relation attached to these images. From featuring products to marketing products, there are images. So, when Images become a burden, we have to clean them up. You may ask, Why?

Here below, you’ll find your answer- 

  • Reduced Clutter: Unused images can pile up in your WordPress media library over time, making it harder to find the images you need.
  • Improved User Experience: A clutter-free library ensures that only relevant images are displayed to users, enhancing their experience.
  • Optimized Performance: Unused images still consume server resources (storage and bandwidth), impacting site performance. Regular cleaning helps maintain efficiency.

Better Site Management:

  • Organize: Cleaning your WordPress media library makes it easier to manage and maintain your media library.
  • Efficient Updates: When you need to update or replace images, a clean library ensures you’re working with relevant files.
  • Enhanced Workflow: Managing fewer images saves time during content creation and maintenance.

Save Server Space and Cost:

  • Storage Optimization: Unused images take up valuable server space. You need to clean them for other content.
  • Cost Reduction: Hosting providers often charge based on storage usage. Eliminating unnecessary files reduces hosting costs.

Short-Term Backup:

  • Backup Efficiency: When creating backups, including only necessary files speeds up the process.
  • Disaster Recovery: In case of data loss or server issues, concise backup ensures quicker restoration.

Easy and Quick Migration:

  • Smooth Transitions: When migrating your website to a new server or platform, a lean image library simplifies the process.
  • Reduced Downtime: Fewer files mean faster data transfer during migration. 

Better SEO Performance:

  • Page Load Speed: Unused images contribute to slower load times. No doubt optimized websites rank better in search engines.
  • User Experience: Faster loading pages improve user satisfaction, leading to lower bounce rates.
  • Crawl Efficiency: Search engine bots navigate through fewer files, improving indexing efficiency.

Guides to Detect and Delete Unused Images on WordPress

When it comes to detecting unused images, two methods come in first. One is a regular process (manual)  and the other is using the WordPress plugin. 

So, let’s begin with the manual or regular process- 

Manual Process

This is a regular way to clean up the WordPress media library. It’s a very easy process. If you’re a beginner, then you can try this process. To start with this process,

  • At first, you have to navigate to your WordPress site Dashboard.
  • After that, go to Media > Library
Go to Media Library in WordPress
WordPress Media Library
  • From the media library page, switch your view to List View and check the Column name. After that, choose the Unattached filter means those images are not used anywhere on your website.
Find unattached images
WordPress Unattached Images
  • Finally, you can select those unused images and delete them. 
Choose to delete unused images permanently
Delete Unused Images Permanently

WordPress Plugin

Now, we will show you how to find and delete unused images efficiently using a WordPress plugin. There are several WordPress plugins that help detect or clean the media library. ThumbPress is one of its kind, and you can find other WordPress clean-up media library plugins designed specifically to detect and remove unused images. Let’s dive in

  • First, you have to install both the ThumbPress free and premium versions. 
  • When the installation is complete, go to the Modules page. Enable the particular module, and after that, click on the Save Settings button.
ThumbPress plugin page
Enable Module
  • Now, head towards the plugin submenu and click on the Detect button.
Detect unused images
Detect Unused Images
  • After clicking on that button, it will show all the images that are unused on your website. You can delete them individually or in bulk. 
Unused image list in WordPress
Delete Unused Images

Useful Tips and Warnings for Your WordPress Site

When you’re running a WordPress site you need to focus on some very point. This is a must. For a better-performing website, there is no alternative to following these tips for Managing Unused Images in WordPress-

1. Always Back Up Before Deleting

Mistakes can happen, so always create a backup before deleting any files. This ensures you can quickly revert any unintended changes and protect your content.

2. Be Cautious with Plugins

Some plugins might mistakenly flag used images as unused. You need to review the images carefully before deleting them to avoid accidentally removing necessary files.

3. Keep Everything Updated

Don’t miss to update your WordPress version, theme, and plugins. Updates often include performance enhancements and security fixes that can help keep your site running smoothly and securely.

4. Regular Maintenance

Cleaning up unused images is about optimizing your website’s performance and improving SEO. Regular maintenance and mindful management will ensure your site remains fast and efficient.

5. Consider Tools or WordPress Plugins

Try to use plugins or tools designed to help manage and optimize images. Some plugins ( like ThumbPress) can help you automatically convert images to more efficient formats like webp, resize images, and clean up unused files. 

6. Monitor Performance

You have to check your website’s performance regularly. You can use popular page speed checker sites like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. This will help you identify if unused images or other factors are slowing down your site.

7. Engage in Routine Audits

Periodically audit your media library to identify and remove unused images. This helps in maintaining a clean and efficient file system.

8. Optimize Images Before Uploading

Always optimize your images before uploading them to WordPress. You can use tools like TinyPNG or Cloud Converter to reduce file size without compromising quality.

Regularly cleaning and optimizing your media library not only declutters your site but also significantly enhances its performance and SEO. A faster, smoother website delivers a superior experience for your visitors, ensuring you achieve your ultimate goal. 

Final Words

Optimizing images on your WordPress website is not just a best practice; it’s essential for maintaining a fast, efficient, and user-friendly site. As we’ve explored, there are numerous strategies and tools available to help you achieve this, from choosing the right image formats and compressing files to leveraging advanced plugins like ThumbPress.

By implementing the practices discussed in this blog, you can significantly enhance your site’s speed, improve its SEO performance, and provide a better overall experience for your visitors. Each step, from selecting the appropriate image format and using a CDN to regularly cleaning up your media library, plays a crucial role in maintaining a quick and responsive website.

Moreover, tools like ThumbPress make this process more manageable by offering a comprehensive suite of features to manage and optimize your images effectively. Regularly optimizing your images helps prevent common issues that slow down your site and deter visitors, ensuring a smoother, more engaging user experience.

In recap, start optimizing your images today to see the positive impact on your website’s performance and user satisfaction. With the right tools and practices in place, you’ll be well on your way to a faster, more efficient WordPress site that stands out in search engine results and delights your visitors.

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