WordPress does not naturally have any awareness of images that we dump into the uploads folder… but fortunately there’s a simple little plugin that will fix that!
You’ll likely never need this plugin but if you do it’s a huge blessing!
“Add from Server” is a free plugin, available in your dashboard, that lets you load images that you FTP’d into WordPress… into the media library.
The problem with FTP or server uploading is that WordPress needs to go through the process of making a post (the odd way it stores images and why each one has it’s own post page) to write all of the info to the database correctly… so by default there is no easy way to do that “on the fly”.
Fortunately, Add from Server gives us the ability to navigate the server path, into the folder our images are in, select them and “load” them into the media library (as well as easily get them into posts if we did not pre-load them).
Once you have the plugin installed and activated, the settings are in THREE places.
The easiest way to find the settings is right here in the plugins page under the plugin name, where you can find “Options” (which is also in the drop-down under settings) and “Import Files” (which is also in both the drop down under media library AND the add image dialog box in your post editor).
First, set up the important options in the Options/Settings dialog:
Once you’ve saved those, if you want to bulk-upload your prior image, jump up to the Media Library link and in it’s dropdown select “Add from Server”. Here you can easily navigate the uploads folder and upload the old images (which will keep their correct folder paths).
If you would prefer to add them to the library one at a time – or – be able to easily add them into posts without loading all of them first – then you’ll be thrilled that when you are in the post/page editor and click on “Add Image” that that dialog box also has access to the uploader. Pretty cool!
Once you have all your images added to the media library, it is perfectly safe (and good!) to uninstall this plugin.
Add from Server makes it easy to solve the annoying problem of WordPress not recognizing images that were manually backed up and restored to the server. It also helps protect the url path of those images.
Really handy little tool!
Taking The Headaches Out of Internet Marketing
PS: I restored a self-hosted wp.org site (this one!) from an XML file (rather than the database) for the purpose of generating a clean database. I pushed the images back up to the server by FTP and then had to scratch my head that WordPress was clueless about the images I had copied up to the server manually. Fortunately Add from Server came to the rescue!