How to Use Media Sync to restore Images to WordPress Media Library

Solve WordPress images not showing up in Media Library or Website

Recently, I did a complete redo of my website and in the process of exporting/importing my blog, I noticed quite a few of my WordPress image files were not showing up in the Media Library or in my host’s Uploads Folder. This happened when using the built-in WordPress import/export tools (see image below – find under “Tools”).

Now, most of my images did show up, but not all. This happened during other import/exports, but they were mainly in very old posts, so I didn’t spend time figuring out how to fix it. In this article, we will solve WordPress images not showing up in Media Library.

The only thing I imported to the new site were all my blog articles (about 10 years worth). This time, I decided to figure out what had happened.

Some Image Files Not Showing Up

There are many image problems that can occur when migrating a website. We are talking about images that were migrated to a new site/host and some not showing up – either in the host’s Upload Folder or in the WordPress Media Library.

blank canvas, showing that there are missing images in my WordPress Media Library
Image missing (Unsplash courtesy Bermix Studios)

Since missing images has happened to me multiple times using the built-in WordPress tools, I think I’d investigate another way to move my content next time!

Visual of Missing Images In My Blog Articles

While checking various blog articles, instead of seeing images, I would only see my description of the image (which turned out to be very helpful in tracking it down). When I clicked on the description, it took me to the Media Library, but not to any specific picture. Below is a snippet of what I’m talking about.

Having a placeholder in my blog article helped me to figure out the name of the image which was helpful when I searched both in the Media Library and in the appropriate uploads folder at my host.

screenshot of how my image was missing in my blog article

How To Fix Missing Images In WP Pages or Blog Articles

Trying to search for the right combination of words to get to what I wanted was the challenge. The best luck came in using the words in the title of this article – Image Files In Uploads Folder But Not Showing Up In Website or Media Library. From what I read, I thought the Media Sync Plugin would work for my problem. I found it in the Media Stack website while doing my searches.

Media Sync Dry Run image

Using Media Sync Plugin

Media Sync Plugin to Scan Uploads Directory

There’s more than one way to get your images back, but I settled on using the Media Sync plugin.  Here’s what it does:

“You can scan all files that are in uploads directory and see which ones are actually in Media Library and which ones are just sitting there. Then you can select files you want to import to the database and therefore make them available in Media Library.”

For my situation, it looked like the images were in the uploads folder, all nicely organized by year and month. However, while most of them were there, some years were completely empty!

snapshot of my uploads folder at my wordpress web host

FTP or use the Host Upload To Restore Images To Host

This plugin will work for you either way – if your images are there or if they aren’t, as long as you have a backup of your uploads folder! You’ll navigate to the time periods you need in your backup and upload them. Then Media Sync will be ready for you to use.

If you simply upload images to the uploads folder at your host they will NOT show up in your post – sorry – they have to get into your WordPress database.

Video on How to use Media Sync to Restore Images to WordPress Library and Site

Sometimes a visual is much better, so here’s a video I made for you that shows how to use the Media Sync plugin. I’ll show you how to upload your backed-up images into your host’s appropriate upload folder and then how to fill in the form to get your images back into your blog or website.

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