WordPress Media Library Not Loading: 11 Ways to Fix It

Last updated on Apr 10th, 2024 | 7 min

TL;DR: Your WordPress media library not loading might be due to server issues, plugin conflicts, theme compatibility problems, incorrect file permissions, browser cache issues, or JavaScript errors. Troubleshoot by checking server status, deactivating plugins, ensuring theme compatibility, fixing file permissions, clearing browser cache, and inspecting JavaScript errors in the browser console. Addressing these factors should help resolve the media library loading issue efficiently.

You're in the middle of creating the perfect new page for your WordPress site.

You've thought of all the right words that will inspire, inform, and entertain. You've chosen the perfect images and videos to complement your message, and you're ready to upload them to your WordPress Media Library.

But when you click on the Media Library button…

Your heart sinks as you realize that the Media Library is not loading, and you're unable to access any of your media files.

But before you start to panic – let’s go over the most effective techniques to resolve popular issues with Media Library so you can go back to creating your masterpiece.


Quick WordPress Media Library Fixes to Try First

Before we dive into the more advanced solutions, here are some quick fixes to try off the bat.

Update WordPress

One of the reasons why your WordPress Media Library may not be loading could be due to an outdated version of WordPress.

Update it in a few easy steps:

Step 1: Back up your website. We always recommend taking a backup of your website to ensure you can restore all your data if anything goes wrong during the update process.

Step 2 (optional): Check the compatibility. Make sure your theme and plugins are compatible with the latest version of WordPress. You can check this by visiting the developer's website or checking the compatibility information on the WordPress plugin repository.

Step 3: Log in to your WordPress Dashboard and check for updates. Once you're logged in, navigate to the Updates section by clicking on "Dashboard" > "Updates." Here, you will see if there are any updates available for WordPress, plugins, and themes.

Click the “Update Now” button to update WordPress core.

Step 4 (Recommended): Update plugins and themes. Next, visit both the “Plugins” and “Appearance” sections in your dashboard to check if any of the plugins and themes need to be updated. Simply check the ones that have a pending update and click the "Update Plugins" or "Update Themes" button.

Update wordpress plugins

Successfully updated plugin

After completing the updates, visit your media library to see if the issue is resolved. Also, check your website to verify everything is working as expected.

Revert Recent Changes

If you recently made any changes to your WordPress site, such as installing a new plugin or theme, this could be the cause of the Media Library not loading.

Even though WordPress provides an “Undo” button and a built-in revisions feature on a post/page level, it’s more likely you’ll need to restore from a backup.

You can do this by accessing your web host's control panel, finding the backup tool you're using (e.g. Duplicator), and selecting the backup you made before you installed the new plugin or theme.

Deactivate Plugins

Plugin conflicts are arguably the most common cause of Media Library not loading issues. Deactivating all plugins and reactivating them one by one can help identify the culprit.

Use the bulk actions to deactivate all plugins and check if the media library issue is now gone. If it is, you’ve just confirmed there’s a plugin incompatibility.

Deactivate plugins via Bulk actions

Unfortunately, there isn’t an automated way to do this, and you’ll have to go back and forth between your “Plugins” section and the media library to check which plugin caused the issue.

Once you’ve identified the culprit, you can either check if the plugin is properly updated or reach out to the plugin support team to troubleshoot further.

Switch to a Default Theme

Occasionally, the Media Library may fail to load due to a theme update or customization. Switching to a default theme, such as Twenty Twenty-Three, can help determine whether the theme is causing the issue.

Simply go to “Appearance” > “Themes” and deactivate your current theme to switch to a default one. Don’t worry, all your settings and configurations will be saved as they are.

Switch to wordpress default theme

Check if the media library is now working properly. If yes, see if your theme needs updating, or reach out to the dedicated support team to resolve the issue.

Best case scenario, one of the quick fixes should get the job done. If not, then you’ll have to try some of the more advanced options. Let’s check them out. 

Fixing WordPress Media Library Not Loading

Clear browser cache and cookies

Sometimes, your browser cache and cookies can cause issues with the Media Library. Clearing them can often solve the problem. You can do this by going to your browser settings and finding the option to clear cache and cookies.

Here are the steps to clear browser cache and cookies in Google Chrome:

  • Click the three dots in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  • Select "More tools" and then "Clear browsing data."
  • Choose the time range for which you want to clear the data.

Clear browsing data

  • Select "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files."
  • Click "Clear data."

How to clear cached files in Chrome

Check server error logs

An issue with your server might be causing the Media Library not to load. To check your server logs in cPanel, you can contact your hosting provider for assistance or:

  • Log in to your cPanel account.
  • Click on "Metrics" and then "Errors."
  • Check the error logs for any errors related to the Media Library or WordPress.
  • Contact your hosting provider if you see any errors that you don't understand.

cPanel Errors

Increase PHP memory limit

A PHP memory limit that’s too low, is another cause for issues with your Media Library. Try increasing the PHP memory limit by editing the wp-config.php file.

To do it yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Open the wp-config.php file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
  2. Add the following code to the file: define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );
  3. Save the changes and refresh your website to see if the Media Library loads.


If this does not work, you can contact your hosting provider to increase the PHP memory limit for you.

Disable mod_security in .htaccess

Mod_security is a security module that can sometimes cause issues with WordPress. You can try disabling it by editing the .htaccess file in your WordPress installation.

  1. Log in to your cPanel account.
  2. Click on "File Manager" and navigate to the root directory of your WordPress installation.
  3. Locate the .htaccess file and right-click on it.
  4. Click "Edit" and add the following code at the top of the file:

    Disable mod security
  5. Save the changes and refresh your website to see if the Media Library loads.

If you don’t feel confident doing this on your own, reach out to a WordPress expert for assistance.

Disable CDN

If you're using a CDN (Content Delivery Network), it may be causing issues with the Media Library. Try disabling it and see if the Media Library starts to load:

  1. Log in to your CDN account.
  2. Locate the settings for your WordPress website and disable the CDN.
  3. Refresh your website to see if the Media Library loads.
  4. If it does, you may need to configure your CDN to work with WordPress or contact your CDN provider for assistance.

Speed up your WordPress site with NitroPack and get world-class CDN by Cloudflare for free 

WordPress Media Library Not Showing Images or Thumbnails

If your media library is loading but not showing you the images and/or thumbnails, you can try:

  • Deactivating/reactivating plugins as described earlier
  • Updating file permissions in your WordPress database
  • Regenerating thumbnails
  • Checking your file formats

Updating file permissions

In case the first method doesn’t work, proceed with connecting to your website via FTP or cPanel File Manager to update file permissions.

Step 1: Navigate to the wp-content folder and right-click on the uploads folder.

Step 2: Select "File Permissions" or "Change Permissions" from the dropdown menu. In the permissions window, make sure that the numeric value is set to 744. That way, only the owner (you) have Write and Execute access.

File permission 744


Step 3: Check the "Recurse into subdirectories" box, and select "Apply to directories only." Click “OK” to apply the changes.

Repeat steps 3-6 for the wp-content folder.

Next, navigate to the wp-admin folder and right-click on the media-upload.php file.

Select "File Permissions" or "Change Permissions" from the dropdown menu.
In the permissions window, make sure that the numeric value is set to 644 and click “OK” to apply the changes. This way, you basically reset the file permissions to the default state so nobody has Execute access.

File permission 644

Clear your browser cache and try reaccessing the Media Library to verify the issue is now resolved.

Regenerate thumbnails

Another solution might be to regenerate the thumbnails with the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin

Once activated, navigate to the Tools > Regenerate Thumbnails page in your WordPress dashboard. Select all images by clicking “Select All” checkbox and then “Regenrate Thumbnails” to begin the process. Once it’s done, revisit your media library to confirm the issue has been resolved.

⚠️ Note: regenerating thumbnails may affect the performance of your site, so it's recommended that you backup your site before proceeding with the regeneration process.

Check your file formats

Lastly, you should double-check if the file formats you’re using are supported. Go to where your images are stored and check the file extension of each image. The supported image format by WordPress are:

  • PNG
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • TIFF

For any images outside these formats, use an online converter like Cloud Convert.

If the file extensions are correct, try opening the image in a photo editor or viewer to ensure that it is not corrupted. If the image is corrupted, you may need to replace it with a new one.

Once you’ve verified your images are in a supported format, try uploading them to your WordPress media library again and check if they are now showing up properly.

If the issue persists, contact WordPress support for further assistance.

WordPress Media Library Grid View Not Working

The Grid View is the quickest way to explore the images you’ve already uploaded. Understandably, this can make creating a new post or a page super frustrating.

If you're experiencing issues with it, there are several fixes that should resolve the issue::

  • Clear browser cache and cookies
  • Check for plugin conflicts by deactivating/reactivating plugins one by one
  • Disable Lazy Loading. To disable lazy loading, you can add a code snippet to your functions.php file. You can do this by accessing your WordPress dashboard, clicking on “Appearance” > “Theme Editor”, and then selecting functions.php from the list of files. Add the following code at the bottom of the file:

add_filter( 'wp_lazy_loading_enabled', '__return_false' );

Save the changes and check to see if the Media Library grid view is now working properly.

⚠️ Note: disabling Lazy Loading is recommended only if it isn’t handled by dedicated performance optimization plugins, like NitroPack for example.

If none of these methods work, you may need to contact your hosting provider or a WordPress expert to help you troubleshoot the issue further.

WordPress Media Library Search Not Working

The built-in search feature is an integral part of your publication process.

Here are a few ways to troubleshoot problems with the search function in your media library:

  • Clear browser cache and cookies;
  • Check for plugin conflicts by deactivating all your plugins and reactivating them one by one to find the culprit;
  • Rebuild the search index: You can do this by installing and activating the Media Library Assistant plugin. Go to the Settings page and click on the "Search/Replace" tab. Then click on the "Rebuild Index" button to rebuild the search index. Revisit your media library to verify the issue has been resolved.

Rebuilding the index in the WordPress Media Library is the process of updating and optimizing the metadata associated with your media files, such as the file size, dimensions, and date uploaded. Rebuilding the index helps to clean up the database and make it more efficient, which can speed up the loading times of pages that use media files.

Reach out to your hosting provider, or a WordPress expert if none of the above helps.

What to do after your WordPress media library starts working again

By now you know how crucial Media Library is to your process. Especially in important moments like publishing a new page or a blog post.

But how do you make sure you don’t have to go through the hassle again?

We recommend taking the following preventive measures to avoid similar issues in the future:

  • Keep WordPress, plugins, and themes updated: These updates often include bug fixes and security patches that will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Enable automatic updates for your WordPress site or manually update your WordPress core, plugins, and themes from the dashboard at least once a month.
  • Regularly check and optimize your site's database: This will ensure that it's running smoothly and prevent issues with site speed and performance. If you haven’t performed a cleanup recently, check out our comprehensive guide on how to keep your database clean as a whistle.
  • Use a reliable hosting provider: Your hosting provider plays a crucial role as it provides you with a stable and secure hosting environment for your site. Make sure to choose a hosting provider that offers regular backups, security features, and excellent customer support.

Enjoy an uninterrupted publication process and don’t ever worry about your Media Library crashing again.

Lora Raykova
Web Performance Buff

Lora has 7+ years of experience developing in-depth, specialized content for SaaS companies in the CEE region. She has sourced and collaborated with subject-matter experts on site speed optimization for WordPress, Core Web Vitals, and the future of web performance. "If you can't explain it to a 7-year-old, you've not researched it well enough" is Lora's guiding principle when publishing professional insight for complex technical topics.