How to Increase the Maximum Upload and PHP Memory Limit in WordPress

You could be doing everything right, but sometimes WordPress still displays errors. Not to worry, though. It may not be your fault and there’s an easy fix.

By default, WordPress has a modest limit for uploading images, videos, and other files. It’s a similar story for your PHP memory limit, which helps you run plugins and scripts.

If you run a robust site full of rich content, this could be a big problem for you when those limits are reached. You may receive an upload error that looks like this:

The uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini

If your memory limit has been reached, you may receive a different error that looks similar to this one:

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 12345678 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 2345678 bytes) in /home/your-username/public_html/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 1000

It can be a bit tricky to fix sometimes depending on your server setup, so in this Weekend WordPress Project I’ll show you the most effective ways to increase your upload and memory limits on your server so you can get back to business as usual.

Updating Your php.ini File

The "File MAnager Directory Selection" pop-up in cPanel.
You can choose Document Root for quicker access. You’ll go directly to your site’s files after selecting it from the drop-down list.

If you use cPanel, go to the Files section and click on the File Manager button. Make sure the checkbox for Show Hidden Files is checked and then click Go.

Select your wp-admin folder and find a file called php.ini or php5.ini. If you don’t see it, create one by clicking the New File button in the top left-hand corner. Name the file php.ini and click the Create File button on the pop-up.

If you follow these instructions and it still doesn’t work, try renaming the file to php5.ini. Once the file is open, add or edit the following lines and then save and close.

The M means megabytes. Change the 1000M, 2000M and 3000M limit to the value with which you feel most comfortable. Changing the value of max_execution_time will limit the amount of time spent loading a script in seconds.

In many cases, the values you enter should get larger as you go down the list from lines one to three. The upload_max_filesize should be the smallest while memory_limit should be the largest. The median should be post_max_size.

Before checking to see if the error is gone, clear your browser’s cache.

Editing Your .htaccess file

If that addition to your php.ini file doesn’t do the trick, try editing your .htaccess file and add or edit the following code at the very bottom:

Editing this code is similar to your php.ini file. Change the values to limits that best suit your needs. Don’t forget to save when you’re done and clear the cache for your browser.

Amending Your wp-config.php File

If both of these are a no-go, try editing your wp-config.php file, adding the following to the very bottom:

Save the file and clear your browser’s cache.

Changing the Limits in WHM

If your site is hosted on a VPS or dedicated server, you can try changing the upload and memory limits in your WHM.

Once you have logged in, go to Server Configuration > Tweak Settings > PHP.

Chaning the upload limit on WHM.
Use the same numbers you tried previously for the best possible results.

Enter in the numbers that work for you and click Save at the bottom of the page.

Next, go to Service Configuration > PHP Configuration Editor. Scroll down until you find the core sections memory_limit and upload_max_filesize

Updating the memory limit in WHM.
The values you enter here should be the same ones you tried entering previously into your php.ini and .htaccess files.

Enter the correct values for your setup. Finally, in the Options & Information section, locate max_execution_time and update it to the same value you tried in your php.ini and .htaccess files.

Click Save at the bottom of the page and clear your browser’s cache.

Conclusion

You’re all set now to resolve the error messages. Enjoy uploading larger files and continue using plugins on your WordPress site. These changes shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to take effect so you can quickly get back to work.

If you need to upload large files only once, you could also upload your files via FTP to avoid this problem altogether. Normally, files uploaded with FTP to the /wp-content/uploads/ directory aren’t displayed in the media library, but the Media from FTP plugin can register them into your library with just a few clicks. It’s a plugin that’s updated regularly and is compatible with single and Multisite installs of WordPress.

If none of these options work, you can’t access the areas mentioned or you have troubles along the way, get in contact with hosting provider. They have access to your server to make the required changes, so they’re your best bet.

Were you able to change your upload and PHP memory limit with these tips? Have you had troubles with this in the past? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.