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.
Before we dive into the more advanced solutions, here are some quick fixes to try off the bat.
One of the reasons why your WordPress Media Library may not be loading could be due to an outdated version of WordPress.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.
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.
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, and selecting the backup you made before you installed the new plugin or theme.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
If this does not work, you can contact your hosting provider to increase the PHP memory limit for you.
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.
If you don’t feel confident doing this on your own, reach out to a WordPress expert for assistance.
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:
If your media library is loading but not showing you the images and/or thumbnails, you can try:
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.
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.
Clear your browser cache and try reaccessing the Media Library to verify the issue is now resolved.
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.
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:
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.
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::
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.
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:
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.
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:
Enjoy an uninterrupted publication process and don’t ever worry about your Media Library crashing again.
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.