This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

External Media without Import


By default, adding an image to the WordPress media library requires you to import or upload the image to the WordPress site, which means there must be a copy of the image file stored in the site. This plugin enables you to add an image stored in an external site to the media library by just adding a URL linking to the remote image address. In this way you can host the images in a dedicated server other than the WordPress site, and still be able to show them by various gallery plugins which only take images from the media library.

The plugin provides buttons and inputs in the ‘Media’ -> ‘Add New’ page, the media upload panel and a dedicated Add External Media without Import submenu page. Therefore you can either add an external media before (or after) editing any post or page, or in the process of editing a post or page without interrupting the editing process.

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  • Click 'Add External Media without Import' button in the media upload panel.
  • Enter the URLs of the external media you'd like to add to the media library and click 'Add'.
  • You can fill in multiple URLs, with each URL filled in one line.


  1. Upload the plugin files to the /wp-content/plugins/external-media-without-import directory, or install the plugin through the WordPress plugins screen directly.
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ screen in WordPress.

Then you can use the plugin to add external media without import:

  1. Click the ‘Add New’ button in the ‘Media’ -> ‘Library’ page, the media upload panel will show up, in which there’s an ‘Add External Media without Import’ button. Click it.
  2. Or click the ‘Add External Media without Import’ submenu in the side bar.
  3. Fill in the URLs of the images you want to add. You can fill in multiple URLs, with each URL filled in one line.
  4. Click the ‘Add’ button, the remote images will be added.

Note that WordPress needs to know in advance the width and height of an image in order to correctly display it in the media library page and any post/page. In most cases, the plugin resolves these properties automatically without worrying you. But in rare cases, the plugin may fail to get the widths and heights of the images you specify. In that case, some input fields will show up and let you fill in the properties manually.


August 7, 2020
I needed a plugin so I could showcase products as an affiliate and be compliant with advertiser creatives. This plugin is the ONLY one I found to allow external image references. It works with both elementor gallery and woocommerce.
July 19, 2020
This Plugin is still my favorite, use external url link images from other websites for your blog. now your website will never slow down because the images, nomatter how big they are , it won't use your server memory. Add multiple urls to add the images to your wordpress media library , they won't be uploaded to your server. Now you can use every kind of free photogallery plugin and add images from external sources . because of this amazing plugin. 🙂 Awesome I hope this plugins keeps updated if needed. Its SIMPLE, FAST AND SUPER EASY. Thanks you so much to the developer, wish you all the best !
May 16, 2020
此插件构思非常巧妙,从最底层的角度最彻底的解决问题,功能简单而强大,是同类插件中的佼佼者。如果可以支持视频和更多的文件种类,就更加好了。还有就是对于中文URL的支持,目前是凡是URL种带有中文或空格的,都会转码成为乱码,对于咋们国人使用很不方便。现在WordPress核心本身都已经默认支持中文URL。 但是这个插件的作者好像有八个多月没有登录这个论坛了,太可惜了呢。
April 3, 2020
Read all 28 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“External Media without Import” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


“External Media without Import” has been translated into 2 locales. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “External Media without Import” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.


Version 1.1.2 – 2018.12.2

Fix: external images added in WooCommerce Product gallery disappear when clicking Publish/Update.

Similar issues of other plugins may also by chance be fixed.

Detailed information of this issue:

Version 1.1.1

Debug warnings are fixed.

Version 1.1

Multiple URL links can be added in batch to the media library, with one URL per line in the text box.


Just changed the readme file, the changelog in previous readme file seems not work.

Version 1.0.2

Fixed XSS Security Vulnerabilities and bug with mime types including ‘+’ such as ‘image/svg+xml’.

Thank Mike Vastola.

Click to see detailed information of this bug.

Version 1.0.1

Fixed a bug which causes HTTP 500 – internal server error.

The error occurs in previous version when the plugin fails to get the image size and MIME type. The HTTP 500 error causes the plugin message not correctly displayed in the media upload panel. It also causes the Add External Media without Import page broken.