How to Make WordPress Recognize Media Files From FTP Clients

Do you have a lot of media files to upload to your website? You will likely encounter the maximum upload limit of your website if you do them all at once. A solution to this is to use an FTP client to bulk upload. Normally, WordPress does not recognize any media files that are uploaded by an FTP client, but you can fix that.

When you upload a normal media file, WordPress will save this data inside the database. It will then use the saved data to use these media files. Using an FTP client will not add the files in the way WordPress is used to and WordPress will not recognize them. Today, I will demonstrate how to get WordPress to recognize FTP uploaded files using the Add From Server plugin.

Couldn’t I Just Use the Media Library in WordPress

Absolutely. The media library is more than enough for most websites and you can even increase the maximum file upload limit on your website to meet your needs. It is the best option for new WordPress users by far. The only problems you will encounter is the upload limit and the files uploading very slowly when there are a lot of them at once. These problems do not exist when using an FTP client, but you do have the recognition problem.

Upload Your Files with the FTP Client of Your Choice

There are a lot of FTP clients to choose from. Each one will accomplish the same tasks, but they are all slightly different. This is especially true for Windows and Mac users. They do not have the FTP clients to choose from. I recommend using the FileZilla client. We have already created a guide detailing how to install and use FileZilla to upload to WordPress if you need guidance.

How to Make WordPress Recognize Media Files Uploaded by an FTP Client

Today, I will demonstrate how to get WordPress to recognize FTP uploaded files using the Add From Server plugin. This plugin has over 100,000 active installs and gets everything done with just a few simple clicks. If you do not have any media files uploaded via an FTP client, this tutorial will not help you. You must upload a media file via an FTP client before you begin and take note of which folder you place them in. I recommend placing them in the wp-content folder because that is where the plugin will look. To put it simply, this plugin makes your media files visible in the media library.

Installing Add From Server

Let’s start with clicking on Plugins and selecting the Add New option on the left-hand admin panel.

Add New


Search for Add From Server in the available search box. This will pull up additional plugins that you may find helpful.

Search for Add From Server in the available search box.

Scroll down until you find the Add From Server plugin and click on the «Install Now» button and activate the plugin for use.

click on the "Install Now" button.

On the left-hand admin panel click on Media and select the Add From Server option. This will pull up the main settings page.

click on Media and select the Add From Server option.

Using Add From Server

This plugin is very easy to use. You should see all the files inside of your wp-content folder. If you do not see your media files, then they are in a different location. If you see a red file highlighted, don’t worry, it just means you cannot touch it and should not need too. Simply check the boxes of all of the media files you would like to add to your media library and click the «Import» button.

click the "Import" button.

The plugin will now begin adding all of the selected media files into your media library. The amount of time this takes is dependent on how many items you are uploading. Once the process is done you can view all of your media files in the media library.

On the left-hand admin panel, click on Media and select the Library option.

click on Media and select the Library option.

Congratulations, you have successfully learned how to make WordPress recognize your FTP uploaded media files. Unless you are bulk uploading, you will most likely benefit more from directly using the media library inside of WordPress.

An FTP Client Has a Lot of Uses

Your FTP client can do a lot more than simply uploading media files. One of the most common uses for an FTP client is restoring backups. You may one day encounter a situation that requires you to use a backup of your website to restore it and you will be using an FTP client to upload your backup file when the time comes.

Some other uses include uploading custom files for plugins and themes, organized video uploads, handling being locked out of your website, and much more. Keep in mind that you can also use the cPanel of your website to perform these actions as well, but it is all a matter of preference.

Which FTP client do you use? Do you prefer using an FTP client or using the media library to upload media files?

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