How to Bulk Upload Files to the WordPress Media Library Using FTP

The WordPress media library is fairly decent for uploading multiple files at once from your computer. However, copying hundreds of files from another location on your server is another story.

You might think that you could simply drop the files into your uploads folder and have them appear in your media library. This is not the case, because WordPress will not recognize those files unless they come through the dashboard uploader.

The Add From Server plugin offers a solution to this problem. It allows you to import media and files into the WordPress uploads manager from any location on your server.

As you may be able to tell from this screenshot, in this situation I was pulling product files from the downloadables folder within a site using WP E-Commerce. I needed to move hundreds of audio and video files to a brand new WordPress installation where I will be using MarketPress, since it has superior handling for free products and discount codes.

The Add From Server plugin is the only solution I could find for the problem of getting WordPress to recognize media files in the library when transferred via FTP. However, if you know of another one, please leave a note in the comments.

Though the plugin appears not to have been updated for nearly a year, I can assure you that it works perfectly with WordPress 3.1.2. I thoroughly tested it by transferring hundreds of very large media files, and I didn’t receive any errors whatsoever. Without this plugin I would have spent hours downloading these files to my local machine and then re-uploading them to the new installation through the media uploader. Get your hands on the Add From Server plugin if you’re in the same situation and you’ll save yourself loads of time.

Comments (22)

  1. Excellent tip! It worked as advertised. Now, I’m just wondering: Why does this logical feature still require a plugin? Wny isn’t it a part of WordPress’ basic installation?

    This also made me wonder why there isn’t an integrated FTP client for use inside WordPress similar to how the FireFTP addon works in the Firefox browser. I looked for a plugin and the closest one I found that looks like what I’m talking about is called My FTP. I’ll try using it later. If it doesn’t work well, I’ll post another comment here to share my opinion.

  2. Oh my goodness, this is exactly what I needed. I had to reinstall my WordPress site after it was hacked. I downloaded all my media and then readded using sftp, but couldn’t see any of it in my media library. This fixed my problem even though I had to go through each subdirectory to select each file. Still the best fix I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you! This is precisely what I have been looking for. I have searching for days to find a way to upload via FTP and get it in my media manager.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you so much!

    Moving my site from shared hosting to VPS, and been struggling with this for several hours now. Downloaded the plugin (after trying several others to no avail) and it worked instantly. Thanks again!