Support » Fixing WordPress » Why Are Some Images Displaying and Others Not?

  • Mountain of Mystery – Sep 2001

    I am trying to recover from an accidental user deletion, which resulted in deleting all the images that user had uploaded. Huge problem, as our site has tons of images.

    I have a backup of the images file organization, but not the entire website so I cannot restore. Bad, I know.

    I have restored all the images to wp-content via FTP, but not all images display on the front end. The full-size images display, but not anything at a smaller size. These just show the little “lost image” icon. But when I click the images, they pop up and display at full size.

    When I right-click one of the non-displaying images (say the first one on this page – the caption starts with “A short rappel…”) and copy the image URL, I get this:


    That file does not exist on the server, so it makes sense that it won’t display. But that file NEVER existed on the server, so I don’t know why WP has made it default.

    When I go to Settings > Media, I see the default Thumbnail size is 300 x 400. Is this why the images on the post are referencing that image file version? But when I change the settings in Settings > Media to 225 x 300 (to correspond to the thumbnail size on the server), the image location the site is trying to reference does not change.

    Any help would be deeply appreciated. Thanks!


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  • Matt Knowles


    When you upload images through the WordPress Media section, thumbnails are created for you automatically.

    When you upload the images through FTP, the thumbnails aren’t created.

    Are you sure the mom03-3-300×400.jpg never existed, or you just don’t think it did because you didn’t upload it?

    Without a backup of all the images, including the thumbnails, you’ll either need to recreate them (thinking a batch process in Photoshop here) and then FTP those as well, or you’ll have to upload the fullsize images through WordPress so the thumbnails are created.

    Thanks, Matt. This makes sense.

    No, I’m not sure the mom03-3-300×400.jpg file did not exist. But I created the post in 2012 and never touched it afterward. I made a backup copy of the image directory in 2014, and the 300×400 file is not in there. So perhaps a plugin or WP update triggered the 300×400 image file generation, unbeknownst to me.

    I ended up filing a ticket with a commercial WP expert, and they wrote some code in the database that provided a global fix where all the images now display okay. I would not have know how to approach that. Saves me a ton of time though vs. running a Photoshop batch up re-uploading images on 100+ posts.

    Thanks for your help!

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