Book Blogging Tips

Running Out Of Space in Your Blog’s Media Library? How To Fix The Problem

Ever had this situation?

You’re ready to publish your latest blog post. You’ve written the content, you’ve run a spell check and have added in hyperlinks, categories and tags.

Only one task remains before you hit the “publish” button — inserting a few images to create some visual appeal.

Normally that’s an easy task. But today WordPress won’t let you upload the images to your media library. Instead you get. a message that you’re out of capacity in your media library. That storage space which came as part of your WordPress package has all been used.

Blogging tips on how to save on space in the photo library

This became a problem for many bloggers last year when WordPress announced significant changes to their fee structure. One major change was the storage space allocated to people on the free plan, was reduced from 3GB to 1GB. If you’ve been running your blog a few years and have used images on every post, it’s likely you’re almost at capacity.

So what can you do?

You could of course publish posts and pages without any graphics. Not ideal though because the blog won’t look appealing to visitors.

You could upgrade your plan to move to a higher level of storage. If you upgraded to the Personal plan, you’d get 6GB of space while the Premium plan would give you 13GB. But that comes at a cost ( £37 and £84 annually at 2023 rates) and maybe you don’t want to make that kind of investment in your blog.

Don’t despair. Here are some simple fixes that will free up space.

1. Clean Up Your Library

This might seem obvious but it’s an important first step. It’s like decluttering your home. Go through your library and remove any images that are duplications. If you regularly publish recap posts or list posts for example you may have uploaded an image, forgetting that you’d already used it several months or even years ago.

2. Reduce The Size of Your Images

How big are the file sizes of the images you are uploading? High resolution/ high quality images and large scale images result in big file sizes, meaning you’ll burn through your storage very quickly.

Web and blog pages don’t require high resolution/high quality images. They won’t make your blog look any more attractive and in fact will cause the page to load more slowly causing frustration for your readers. They have to wait longer for the whole image to appear. If they have slow internet connection or bandwidth issues that can be enough of a frustration to make them click off and you lose a reader.

So get into the habit now of checking your file size before you add it to the media library.

Aim to get it down to 100Kb for images you want to go across the whole page; 30kb for smaller images. I’ve seen many blogs using huge images of book covers – 400Kb each post.

Users of IPads and IPhones need to be particularly careful. Photos from their camera rolls will easily be 1MB in size.

3. Edit Before Uploading

Within WordPress there are tools that enable you to edit the dimensions of your image once you’ve added it to the page. You might think this is the right approach but it will not have any impact on the size of your file

The image will look smaller to you and to people reading that post. But all you’re doing is changing the visual dimensions — the size of the file won’t have changed. So it’s still taking up the same amount of space in your media library.

Say you added a 400Kb image file to the media library. It measured 904 x 1393 pixels (px) but it looked too big on the page so you scaled it down to say 619 x 954 px. Visually this is an improvement, but it’s done nothing for efficiently using your library storage space — that file is still 400Kb. At least four times the optimum size.

Here’s another habit I encourage you to adopt: edit your image before you upload it to the media library.

4. Compress Files To Save Even More Storage

There’s another step you can take that will squeeze even more juice from your media storage: file compression.

After you’ve done your image editing and reduced the size of your image, you can get the file size down further by using a compression tool before you add that image to your library. It’s quick, easy and usually free.

There are a number of these tools available. If you have a WordPress plan, there are special plug-ins you can use. But there are also image optimization tools widely available online. Some are paid plans, some restrict the number of images you can add but there are also a couple that are unrestricted. Some will work only with JPEG files, others with JPEG, PNG and PDF.

How Much Space Can You Save?

It will depend on the size of your original image but here’s an example of what happened when I used compression for the images on one of my posts,

This was the featured image used across the width of the screen.

example of an image within a WordPress book blog where file compresion has been used to save image storage space

The original image measured 800 x 400 pixels and used 106Kb of space. When I applied the compression tool, it went down 9% to a file size of 96Kb.

I tried the compression tool on a different image, this time one that is only part of the width of the page.

Reduce the size of images of book covers to make your book blog load faster.

The original measured 300 by 375 pixels and took up just 35Kb of space. When I compressed it, it shrunk by 16% to 29Kb.

It took seconds to do this but saved me 18Kb in total. Not a vast saving but every little counts if you are a blogger who likes to offer content with a high visual appeal. If you went through your image library and just did the compression on the largest files, your savings could certainly mount up.

Over To You

I never paid much attention to image sizes when I first started blogging but I now make it part of my publishing process to edit the file to the required size and only then upload it to WordPress. My little experiment with compression has had interesting results so I’ll be adding that to my routine.

Is this something you have tried yourself? I’m curious to hear about your experience.

This is an updated version of a post created in 2021. I’ve simplified it and edited to reflect the latest changes in WordPress pricing plans.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

39 thoughts on “Running Out Of Space in Your Blog’s Media Library? How To Fix The Problem

    • Even if you have plenty of library space it’s still good practice `i think to keep the file sizes slow

  • This is helpful – thank you! I still somehow have 3GB despite having a free account (no-one tell WordPress) but if they ever twig and downgrade me, I will know what to do. (And I will pay more attention to file size in the future when uploading images).

    • I think there was such a backlash to the change of the pricing plans that they had to come up with something to pacify existing users. So they decided to continue giving them the 3GB they had previously included in the free plan – new users get only 1GB though

  • I honestly don’t understand how anyone could run out of space. I have 20 years’ worth of content and used up less than 5 per cent of my storage.

    • I suspect you know how to manage your images so they don;t take up much space Kim. One blog I follow regularly does book reviews where the main image is over 280KB. I’ve also seen people who regularly do list posts like Top Ten Tuesday where they have 10 images and all of them big.

  • Pingback: Bloggers See Red Over New WordPress Fees : BookerTalk

  • Thanks for giving me this link. I use the mspowertoys Image Resizer for all my book covers (I get them to 194px by X) which gets them down to the 20-35kb size. I’ll have to check out that image compressor though. If it can save me even a little bit, I’d be wicked happy.

    • I was quite excited to see mention of an image resizer tool but sadly on further investigation I can’t use it – I use a Mac and this is for Windows/word only.

      • That’s a bummer. I have no idea if there is a comparable version for the mac. I rather doubt it since it was part of the “MS” powertoys bunch.
        Sorry to have gotten your hopes up!

  • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    This is a good post to bookmark! I think I’ll need to do a media library clear-out at some stage. Way back in the very early days, as a baby blogger, I didn’t realise you could re-use images you had already uploaded for other posts (it seems SO obvious in retrospect, but it just didn’t click at the time!). Naturally, I ended up with a whole bunch of duplicates that are just sitting there taking up space.

    • Oh dear, I can see how easily that would happen though. I do wish WordPress would come out with a tool to help us better manage the library – being able to find duplicates for example or very large file sizes. Would be more helpful than some of the stuff they are working on

  • This is an issue I have sometimes wondered about, but after 5 years WP tells me I’ve only used about 10% (from memory) of my image allowance. My problem I guess is that I create my work blog on my phone, using a couple of unedited photos for each post, and I’ve noticed how slowly they load. I’ll have to pay more attention to what I’m doing, though it suits me to be quick and dirty more or less in real time.

    • If you want to use photos taken on the road then yes, the images will be big – not much you can do about that at the time. Maybe when you return home or at a place where you can use a laptop, you could re-size the image and then upload that new version.

  • Very useful – thank you! Is there a way to reduce the size of gifs that you know of? I don’t use them all the time but I suspect they take up quite a lot of storage space.

    • Actually, scrap that. I decided not to be so lazy and look for myself, and indeed there is – which is clearly a sister version of Image Compressor, since they look and work in exactly the same way. Great stuff – that will make a big difference to my storage space over time. Thanks again!

      • Great, glad to know you found a solution.
        One of the tools I mentioned – – will do jpeg and gif compression.

  • thought I’d entered a comment – Thank you so much for this. I learned something – that when you resize in WP, it doesn’t resize the file. I’m using jpeg optimiser or using the resize tool on my mac now before uploading.

    I’m also very conscious that the larger the data – the more electricity it uses for storage, uploading and viewing – and am very keen to make my blog more energy efficient – resizing images is a much greener way to go – and I’d love this green message to be more widely seen and acknowledged and acted upon.

    • You did leave a comment – not sure why it didn’t show up more quickly. But rest assured it is there!

      How would you feel about doing a guest post on my blog to talk about the sustainability message and what book bloggers could do to reduce energy usage? I bet its something very few of us have thought about…..

      • I’ll have a think about that, yes in principle. I’ll get back to you! Reading a book about how the internet works last summer gave me a dawning realisation about how much data we waste and data = electricity. 😀

  • So glad you posted this – thank you! I’m using the jpegoptimiser now – it’s so easy. Although I have unlimited storage on my own blog and Shiny, I am aware that storage uses electricity and I need to green my blog a bit. I never realised that resizing images inside WP didn’t reduce the storage size – so I’ve slapped my own wrist and am going to redo some of the bigger original sized images.

    While I don’t want to minimise traffic to my blog or stop likes etc, I am interested in making it generally more energy efficient, and this will help a lot.

    • I’ve never thought about the sustainability profile of a website/blog site but now you’ve set the brain cells fluttering and wondering what steps can be taken. Any suggestions?

  • I think I’ve been doing the right thing for a long time without realising there was an advantage to it.
    Because I’d realised from holidays here in Australia that there were places with terrible internet speeds, (don’t get me started), I knew that big images on my own blog were enough to stop it (the whole blog) loading altogether. Phone images are about 1MB, camera images much more and I’d been using them, though mainly on my travel blog.
    So I routinely reduce image sizes to load quickly. I just use the resize tool Paint that comes free with Windows.

    • Doing a resize isn’t difficult but it can make a big difference.
      I can sympathise with that Internet speed issue having run into it so many times and not always in remote places. Even hotels in city centres don’t seem to have invested well yet they charge a ridiculous amount for daily usage.

      By the way, I’d be interested to know what your system tells you is the file size of the image on your review of The Kindness of Birds. I have a browser extension which gives me the image properties of any website and according to this your image is 145Kb. I’m wondering how accurate this tool actually is

      • Yes, that’s what it is if I copy it too. But according to WP it’s 857 KB. So who knows?!

        • there appears to be a difference between the file info I find when I use the browser extension to give me the properties of an image and when i look at the same image within WordPress library. The big image I used on this post is 96Kb according to the wordpress library info but the browser tells me its 75Kb. Oh well, I’mnot going to lose sleep over 20kb. As long as its below 100Kb it will be good enough

  • You’re building up a very useful set of blogging resources, Karen. Thank you.

    • I’m learning so much by doing these articles – still so much yet to discover though

    • I’d be curious what file size your book cover collage photos are.

      • Honestly, I have no idea! Your post was very convicting! I make sure all my images are jpeg (not png)….but that’s about it. I need to investigate! 😱

        • I have a browser extension which enables me to examine image properties on any website. According to this, your main image for the ThrowbackThursday post on Backman was 162.06 KB so its definitely a candidate for compression 🙂

        • I figured! 😂 Thanks for the info!

      • Thank you so much for all of these ideas. Much better than deleting all my old posts to make room for more! Actually, for all the old images it’s too late, right, once they’re uploaded in the media library? Unless i delete and re-upload…

        • Unfortunately the images already in your library would need to be replaced by a smaller version. A tedious job especially since there is no way of sorting the library according to file size

        • I feared so… Grrrr… But at least I can watch out in the future, so thank you for the tips!

        • It’s something you could do when very bored one day…

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