Disable Automatic Image Resizing in WordPress

by on April 21, 2013

in consumer

WordPress How ToEver wanted to disable the automatic image resizing function in WordPress because you have too many files on your hosting server? Yep, me too.

The other day I had noticed that my website hosting company, HostGator, did not back up my account. When I inquired why, it seems that they have a patience threshold with the number of files one might host on their servers. For me, I had crossed their 100,000 file threshold.

Don’t worry… HostGator does have unlimited disk space (updated: but NOT unlimited number of files!) as part of all their hosting plans. But some features or functions get turned off if you go over certain limits. I can’t blame them. They have a business to run. Besides, they’re already giving me fantastic hosting services to begin with, with incredible customer support and good, reliable hosting.

But one of my questions was how did I get to over 100,000 files? Seriously? I haven’t uploaded that many files to my WordPress blog.

Well, one of the answers is pretty simple actually. It’s a feature of the self-hosted WordPress process. (The other source of files or Inode usage, is file cache processes.)

With every image you upload to include into a post, have you ever noticed you have size options for posting into your newest article? Those sizes are offered because WordPress takes your original image and makes three (or four) different sized copies with every one you upload. Then it gives you those different sized options to present into your article.

So for every image you uploaded, you probably have three or four versions. And this adds to your file tally at your hosting company.

For the moment, until I find out how bad or not bad it is to not have my hosting company run backups for me, I have deactivated WordPress’s multi-image upload mode.

It’s pretty easy to do, though you need to be sure you can hack this limitation.

For me, it’s a no-brainer. I aggressively pare down the sizes of my images. My 500 wide size images take up only 30% the disk space most other blogs 500 wide images use. So I CAN inject the original into a post and resize it. (Rules of web thumb say don’t take huge images and make them tiny with the resize-grab handles, because they will still take forever to load, and slow down your site visitors experience. If you upload huge files, you may not want to do what I’m suggesting here.)

But since my image size post-processing is pretty aggressive, I can do this. And the funny thing is that the like or near-sized images that WordPress was making for me were much bigger them my originals! So for me, this is a no-brainer so I’m not serving up larger images.

Here’s what I did so I am only uploading a single image, and not having it duplicated in WordPress:

Once signed in to your WordPress Dashboard,

  • Go to Settings
  • Choose Media

This takes you to your Media Settings page.

Here, you see these predefined size numbers. (Now I know what they mean!) I’d recommend recording your numbers just in case things don’t work for you.

For me, my image dimensions were

  • Thumbnail size: 125, 125
  • Medium size: 300, 450
  • Large size: 500, 1024.

Here’s what multiple sources suggest for disabling automatic image resizing:

WordPress Image Resize Disabled

I set all size dimensions to 0. That’s it. I wrote a few posts, uploaded images for those posts, then logged in and looked at my uploads folder, and walla! There’s now only single images in place.

I’m pretty please with this… except for the fact that over the last several months, I’ve been using the “Medium size” option to post images into articles. So if I were to go back through my files and remove the excess images, I’d have to probably go in and re-edit all those posts.

Sigh… So I’ve re-edited a few posts… four so far, to test this out. And having edited four posts, I’ve been able to remove 32 images I’m not using, freeing up hosting disk space. (Some were multi-image posts.)

But at least I resolved my automatic image resizing issues in WordPress.

PS: From what research I’ve been doing, it seems that if I do delete in bulk all the different sizes of images, that this DOES NOT impact my database settings.

But as always, conduct full backups of your database or site before trying something new. I know it’s an annoying hassle. Especially when you’re hankering to try something new that seems to be the answer to an annoying question.

But ask yourself this: Do you want to wait those extra 5 to 50 minutes for a quickie database backup, or spend an entire day trying to figure out how to fix something while your site’s offline?

Just sayin’/suggesting.

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