How to Disable Default Thumbnails in WordPress?

Thumbnails are variations of the original image you upload on your site. Your theme and plugins can use these thumbnails to show correct size images on the site. For example, a related post plugin can show smaller size of the featured image. In addition to themes and plugins, WordPress by default generates three thumbnails for each image you upload on your site. They are called small, medium and large thumbnails.

Why to Disable Default Thumbnails?

If your theme or plugins do not use the default thumbnails, it is a good idea to stop generating them.

  • You can prevent three additional thumbnails generated for every single image.
  • This can help to save storage space especially when you have thousands of posts on your site.
  • Having less number of thumbnail images can also help you to reduce the backup and restore time.

Remember, you can’t view the thumbnails in Media > Library” section of your WordPress administrator panel. You have to login to your hosting server using FTP or use File Manager app to browser the image files under “Uploads” folder.

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How to Disable Default Thumbnails in WordPress?

First make sure your theme and plugins do not use the default small, medium and large thumbnails. Follow the below instructions to disable the thumbnail generation.

  • Login to your WordPress administrator panel.
  • Navigate to “Settings > Media” section.
  • WordPress generates three thumbnails with below dimensions:
Thumbnail NameSize
Small150 x 150 pixel
Medium300 x 300 pixel
Large1024 x 1024 pixel
  • You will see the screen like below with an option to modify each thumbnail’s height and width dimensions.
Default Thumbnails Sizes
Default Thumbnails Sizes
  • Make all height and width values of small, medium and large thumbnails to 0.
  • Also disable “Crop thumbnails to exact dimensions (normally thumbnails are proportional)” checkbox.
Make Dimensions Zero
Make Dimensions Zero
  • Save your changes.

This will prevent unnecessary thumbnails on your website. If you want, you can disable only one type (small for example) or two types.

Verify Thumbnails Not Generated

In order to verify the desired thumbnails are not generated, first upload a new image in your site from “Media > Add New” section. After that login to hosting server and check the “/wp-content/uploads” folder. It should not show images with 150, 300 or 1024 pixel dimensions.

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Article last updated on November 1, 2020

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