Managing Settings: Media

Learn more about Media Settings and how WordPress stores images. This tutorial forms part of a series of videos about Settings in the Dashboard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain how WordPress stores four versions of an image.
  2. Identify that WordPress will crop thumbnails proportionally.
  3. Choose the size of an image when inserting it into a post or page.
  4. Identify that medium-size and large-size images won’t be larger than the settings set and will maintain their aspect ratios.
  5. Recognize how resizes are filed on the backend.

Comprehension questions

  1. What are the dangers of images that are too large?
  2. Do you have any preferences or design needs when it comes to the size of images?


Tutorial Series: Managing Settings

Organizing your Media Library

Image Optimization


Welcome to Learn WordPress. In this short video, we will get an overview of managing our media settings. If you visit the Media Library, you are able to view and filter through all your media items. But do you know how WordPress stores images? Well, to gain a deeper understanding of that, we need to make our way to Settings and then click on media.

When you upload an image to WordPress, it saves four versions of the media item. It saves the original version and also creates three other copies, namely the thumbnail, medium, and large image sizes. That means you will end up with four images for every one that you upload. WordPress, therefore, automatically generates various resizes for you to use. You can, of course, change the settings if you please. So, for example, you may decide to change the thumbnail size to 160 by 160. Below that, you will see the box is ticked that says Crop thumbnail to exact dimensions and in brackets, it says, normally thumbnails are proportional. WordPress is very clever and will crop images for thumbnails if they do not fit into the dimensions set here.

Let’s see how you can choose between the sizes when you create a page or post. On this page, I’ve added the same image three times using different sizes. Firstly, we have the thumbnail, which is 150 by 150 pixels and will always be a square, the medium-size image, which is 300 by 200, and then the large-sized image, which in this case is 1024 by 683.

Please take note for medium-size images and large-size images it won’t size to exactly 300 by 300 and 1024 by 1024. These are maximum heights set, meaning images won’t be larger than the settings and will maintain their aspect ratios. And one more thing, you will notice you also have the option to select the full size if you wanted to.

Let’s look at one more example to check out the resizes of another image. The thumbnail which will be exactly 150 by 150, the medium size image 300 by 240, and the large size image, in this case, 1024 by 819. The last option under Media Settings allows you to choose how media will be filed in your site’s uploads folder in the backend. WordPress will, by default, save your media in folders according to month and year, and if you deselect this option, all images may end up in one folder.

The default image sizes created by WordPress will be suitable for most users, but if you have specific preferences or design needs, you can, as mentioned, alter the sizes to meet your requirements. Visit Learn WordPress for more tutorials and training material.

Workshop Details


Wes Theron

I am an Instructional Designer for the WordPress open-source project sponsored by Automattic. I am a strong supporter of the open-source movement. I have a background in education and content development. I am a husband, father, dreamer and lifelong learner.