WordPress Media Library Not Loading – How to fix it

WordPress Media Library not Loading - How to fix itMedia files such as images make your website interactive and add extra beautifying effects. If your media library is not loading, you may run into issues when you want to upload images to your WordPress website.

This occurs for a variety of reasons and it can be challenging to identify what is causing the problem. Fortunately, there are key places you can check to help you troubleshoot WordPress media library issues.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to fix WordPress image library issues on your website. Before that, let’s see the common causes of this problem on WordPress sites.


Common Causes of Media Library Issues

The WordPress media library is the folder where all the files you upload to your site are stored. Files such as images, videos, documents, and audio can be found in this directory.

To access your media library, go to Media >> Library. Here, you will find all the media files on your website.

WordPress Media Library not loading

If your media library is not loading properly, you may see blank images on your website. This could occur due to a variety of reasons.

Generally, there are four main aspects of WordPress sites that may be the culprit. These are WordPress core, plugins, themes, or your web server.

You may be using an outdated version of WordPress core, or your theme and plugins are not up to date. This could potentially lead to an issue with your WordPress installation such as the media library not working.

In addition, plugin and theme compatibility issues may lead to your media files not working. Using plugins from untrusted authors may cause harm to your website.

Lastly, if your media library is not showing images, then it may be due to improper file permissions on your web server.

WordPress has default permissions for files and folders on the server. If the value is different from the recommended value, you may find it difficult to access your media files from your WordPress dashboard.

How to Fix Media Library Not Loading in WordPress

Before we start with the troubleshooting process, we recommend you backup your WordPress site. This will ensure you don’t lose your site content if anything goes wrong.

With that out of the way, here are 6 ways to troubleshoot and fix media library issues in WordPress.

Update WordPress

It is always a good idea to update your website whenever an update is rolled out by the WordPress team.

Aside from the obvious improvement in the security of your website, regularly updating your WordPress installation can also fix some of the common WordPress problems you experience on your website.

To ensure your site runs smoothly, you need to always update your core WordPress files as well as theme and plugins.

To update your website, login to your WordPress dashboard and then go to Dashboard >> Updates.

WP Dashboard - wordpress media library not loading

Here, you have to update your core WordPress files to the latest version. If your site is up to date, you can also reinstall the latest version. This will replace faulty core files on your server with the new files you download from here.

WordPress Updates

Also, scroll down to the “Plugins” section and update all plugins on your website. This is because an outdated plugin may cause conflict when viewing certain pages on your WordPress website.

Update Plugins

Lastly, you need to update your current theme as well. For this, scroll down to the theme section, tick the box to select all themes, and hit Update Themes.

Important Note: If you update your theme, custom code changes on the theme may be lost. If you have made code edits directly on your theme, you may drop a comment below or contact us for help with this.

Update Themes if wordpress media library not loading

After updating your WordPress site, navigate to the media library section and confirm if the issue has been resolved. If your media files are working, then updates were the culprit all along.

However, if media library files are still not loading on your website, it could be a plugin-related issue.

Revert Recent Changes

If your media library stops working after you made changes to your website, then your most recent change is likely the cause of the error.

It could be a plugin you installed or a custom code you added to your theme. Whichever the case, you simply need to restore the previous state of your website and everything should go back to normal.

If it is a plugin, simply deactivate that plugin and check if your media library is working. Otherwise, you can simply restore a backup of your website if you can’t remember the last changes you made. This is why regular backups are necessary for WordPress websites.

Deactivate Plugins

Oftentimes plugin compatibility issues are the cause of WordPress errors. This is because they are third-party software and some of them are not from trusted developers. Furthermore, even trusted developers make mistakes.

To troubleshoot this, you need to deactivate all plugins. For this, login to your WordPress dashboard and then go to Plugins >> Installed Plugins.

deactivate plugins - wordpress media library not loading

Here, tick the checkbox to select all plugins. After that, click on the Bulk Action dropdown menu and select Deactivate.

wordpress media library not loading

Once done, click on the Apply button to deactivate your plugins.

Now, navigate to your media library to see if it is working properly. If everything works normally, then one of your plugins is the cause of the issue.

You need to find the faulty plugin. For this, begin activating each plugin on your website one at a time. Each time, check to see if the media library is working.

If your WordPress media library stops loading, then the plugin you just activated is the cause of the error. You need to delete the plugin completely from your website and look for an alternative plugin. However, if it’s an essential plugin, you can contact the developers for help with the issue.

Switch to a Default Theme

If deactivating plugins does not fix the media library not loading issue, then it could be from your current WordPress theme.

Poorly coded themes can cause compatibility issues with some aspects of your WordPress website such as the media library.

To resolve this, you can test with a default WordPress theme such as twenty-twenty. Don’t worry, you will not lose any custom settings you have made on your theme.

To activate a default theme, go to Appearance >> Themes. Once there, hover over any default theme such as Twenty Twenty One, and click Activate.

After switching to a default theme, go to the media library from your WordPress dashboard. If everything works normally, then your theme is the cause of the issue.

You can contact the theme developers and notify them of the compatibility issue with their theme.

Update File Permissions to Fix WordPress Media Library Not Loading Issue

If your WordPress media library doesn’t load or show images at all, then it may be caused by improper file permissions. This can occur if your hosting provider made changes to the server or you moved to a new web host.

To fix the issue, you need to update file permissions from your hosting server. You can use cPanel or an FTP client to achieve this.

For this, log in to your site via an FTP client such as Filezilla. Please check this guide to learn how to use FTP.

Once logged in, navigate to the directory containing your WordPress site files (usually public_html).

And then navigate into the wp-content directory.

Here, right-click on the uploads folder and then select File Permissions.

Ensure the numeric value is set to 755. After that, tick the “Recurse into subdirectories” checkbox and then select Apply to directories only. Once done, click on OK.

In the same way, right-click on the uploads folder and then select File Permissions.

Now, set the numeric value to 644, tick the “Recurse into subdirectories” and  “Apply to files only” options, and click Ok.

File Permissions - WordPress media library not loading

This will reset your file and folder permissions for the uploads directory. Now check the media library to see if the issue has been resolved.

Disable Image Hotlinking if WordPress Media Library is not Loading

Hotlinking enables other site users to access images from your website using the <img> tag. This means they can display an image uploaded to your media library, directly on their website. This consumes your server resources.

If a high number of websites are hotlinking to your media library items, it may overload your server and lead to the WordPress media library grid view not working.

To resolve this, you need to regulate image hotlinking or better still disable it completely.

You can disable image hotlinking from cPanel. To access this setting, log in to cPanel. Once in, locate the “Security” tab and click on Hotlink Protection in that section.

On the next page, click on the Enable button to activate hotlinking protection.

Under “URLs to allow access”, you can specify the URLs you want to allow to use images from your website. By default, all the domains on your web server will be whitelisted.

After that, click on the Submit button to save your changes. Now, your images will not be accessible to the general public. This can help free up your server space and can also fix the media library issue on your website.

Conclusion – WordPress Media Library Not Loading

WordPress media library makes your website interactive for your users. If your media files are not loading properly, you may find it difficult to add images to your WordPress posts.

In this guide, we have shown you 4 main causes of the WordPress media library not loading issue and how you can resolve it on your website.

If you are still unable to access your media files, you may need to hire a professional to help you resolve the issue.

Fortunately, our team of WordPress experts is ready to help you fix WordPress media library issues, and any other issue you might have.

Organizing images on your website into media library folders saves you from future media library-related issues. Be sure to go through our guide to learn how to manage and organize your media library files.

 This post was written by Mesheal Fegor

Mesheal Fegor is a Web/WordPress Developer and technical writer. His WordPress help articles have been featured on Kinsta and other sites. Mesheal holds a master's degree in computer science. His writing focuses on technical WordPress issues, ranging from core WordPress problems, to issues with WooCommerce, and more.

Last edited by: FixRunner Team