The Media Library in WordPress is a feature that allows users to easily upload and manage media files such as images, videos, and audio files. It provides a central location for all the media files used on a website, making it easy to find and use them when creating or editing content.

Uploading Files to the Media Library

To upload a file to the Media Library, simply click on the “Add New” button in the Media Library menu. From there, you can drag and drop files directly into the library or select them from your computer’s file system.

WordPress supports many different types of media files, including images, videos, and audio files.

Managing Files in the Media Library

Once you have uploaded your media files to the library, you can manage them using various tools provided by WordPress. For example:

  • Edit: You can edit image titles, descriptions and alt text directly from within the Media Library.
  • Delete: You can delete individual or multiple media items from the library.
  • View: You can view details about each item including its size, type and date added.
  • Filter: You can filter items based on their type—images, videos, audio, documents, etc.—or by upload date.
  • Search: You can search for specific items using keywords or phrases.

Using Files from the Media Library

One of the main benefits of using WordPress’ built-in Media Library is that it makes it easy to use your previously uploaded media files when creating new content. For example:

  • Posts & Pages: When creating a new post or page in WordPress, you can easily insert images or other media items from your library directly into your content by adding an image block.
  • Widgets & Themes: Many WordPress themes and widgets also allow you to easily add images and other media items from your library without needing to upload them again.

Storage and Organization of Media Files

When a media file is uploaded to the Media Library, it is stored on the web server in a designated folder along with all other media files.

By default, WordPress organizes media files into month- and year-based folders within wp-content/uploads. For example, an image uploaded in December 2023 would be stored in wp-content/uploads/2023/12. This behavior can be changed by navigating to Settings > Media from the WordPress dashboard.

How Media Items are Stored in the Database

In addition to being stored on the web server, information about each media file is also stored in the WordPress database. This includes metadata such as file name, size, type, and date added. The database stores this information in tables specifically designed for this purpose.

WordPress uses two main tables to store information about media items: wp_posts and wp_postmeta.

The wp_posts table stores basic information about each media item such as its ID, title, description and author. It also identifies whether an item is an image or not based on its MIME type (e.g., image/jpeg).

The wp_postmeta table stores additional metadata associated with each item such as its URL, file path on the server, dimensions and any custom fields added by plugins or themes.

Together these tables provide a comprehensive record of all media items uploaded to your site’s Media Library allowing you to easily manage them via the WordPress dashboard’s interface.

Further Reading:


The Media Library is a cornerstone feature of WordPress that simplifies the management of multimedia assets on your website. It allows you to store and organize all types of media files in one place, making it easier for you to find and use them when creating or editing content.