So, the thumbnails in the WordPress media library went blank all of a sudden, and you need them fixed? This is not an uncommon issue, and shouldn’t affect the frontend of your website, so you’re not in a terrible rush to fix it. But what is the reason for the error? We honestly don’t know. All we can do is help you deduce the source of the problem, and then fix it yourself. Yes, you heard that right. You don’t need to shell out tens or even hundreds of dollars for professional help. Here’s how to fix blank thumbnails in the WordPress media library.
Common causes for the blank thumbnails
- You uploaded a new file with the same name as an old file, and the thumbnail got corrupted
- You updated or changed a theme, and it uses thumbnails of different size by default
- One of the plugins caused incompatibility
- You changed the size of the thumbnail in Media Library
- A new thumbnail size has been defined, and an error appeared when old files weren’t resized
- An issue appeared with uploads folder in the root of your WordPress website
- You transitioned your website from HTTP to HTTPS for additional security or payment wall. It’s possible that links weren’t updated during the process. Give it a little time, or contact your hosting’s Customer Service if you aren’t tech-savvy
To fix blank thumbnails in the WordPress media library
1. Check basic settings
If the solution is just a corrupted update or an incompatibility between a function, theme, or plugin, you could save yourself a lot of trouble. Go through this checklist.
- Install the newest updates for plugins.
- Install the newest updates for themes.
- Update databases (if using WooCommerce, for example)
- If you have a recent backup, restore from it
- If you recently installed a plugin, disable it
- Is the problem limited to the few recent images? Re-upload them under a different name
- Update the PHP version in your cPanel using your hosting’s website
2. Check folder upload permissions
If the above suggestions made no difference, here’s something you can try.
- Access your WordPress Admin Section.
- In the menu on the left-hand side, click on Settings.
- When it expands, click on Media.
- Check the box in front of Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders.
- Click on Save Changes.
Now, you need to access your WordPress files via FTP. You can do it in two ways:
- Use an FTP client.
- Use the cPanel on your hosting website.
Now, open your WordPress website’s root folder, often called public_html.
- Open the folder titled wp-content.
- Now, spot the uploads folder on the list.
- Spot the rows for size and the last time the folder was updated. There is a row for permissions. Check if you can enable it somehow if there isn’t.
- Make sure the folder’s permissions are 755 or 0755, or higher.
Sometimes the permissions are 777. This is not recommended because it is a potential security risk, as it allows a hacker to easily upload a malicious file and wreck your website.
Fix the Media Library blank thumbnails using a plugin
You should already know how to install a plugin in WordPress. You can use the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin to regenerate your WordPress thumbnails. This can be also a fix for the incorrect thumbnail issue in WordPress.
- Type Regenerate Thumbnails in the WordPress plugin search bar.
- Install the plugin.
- Open the plugin’s settings in the Admin Section.
- Click on Regenerate Thumbnails For All XX Attachments. This will regenerate all the WordPress thumbnail sizes.
- Click on Regenerate Thumbnails For The XX Featured Images Only.
In both cases, XX represents the number of thumbnails the plugin detected need to be regenerated.
Incorrect file permissions, image file corruption, conflicts with plugins or themes, or unattended critical updates are all the causes of this issue.
Regenerating the thumbnails typically will not consume a lot of space, unless you have uploaded a lot of files since the last generation. Even if it takes up a small percentage of your available free space, it should be done if you want your images to be displayed properly on all media sizes.
Check your website’s frontend and see if all the images in all the categories, pages, and posts are displaying properly. If they are showing up without any issues, there is no specific need for you to regenerate thumbnails, unless you want them properly displayed on your back end as well. So it is your call. It will definitely improve the overall user experience of your WordPress site.