According to recent statistics, 26% of websites worldwide are developed using a very popular CMS called WordPress. We build WordPress websites ourselves, as we find it the most advanced and affordable option out there. Sometimes things in WordPress are not very straightforward though: if you are the administrator of a WordPress website and you experienced issues uploading large media files through WordPress (eg. images, ZIP Files, PDFs) this article is for you.

You might be wondering “why is there a file upload limit in the first place?”. Without getting too technical, it has to do with protecting the performance of the server where your WordPress website is hosted. To remove this limit altogether would put the server (and your website) at risk of slowing down to a halt.

Now here’s a few quick tips that could save your day

Reduce file size

You want a quick fix? Then go and reduce the size of the file you want to upload in the first place. Image editing software like Photoshop and Acrobat Pro allow you to do that quickly. Free options include TinyJPG and ILovePDF.

Slightly increase WordPress PHP memory limit

If the file size can’t be reduced any further, what about increasing the upload limit itself? There’s plenty of advice online on how to do this, but I recommend getting your web developer involved since it can be a tricky business to the uninitiated.

Contact your hosting provider

If you tried increasing the PHP memory limit but you still can’t upload large files, it’s time to get in touch with your hosting provider and ask if there’s a PHP memory limit setup at their end.

FTP access

Still no dice? Here’s my favourite option: let’s rule out using WordPress altogether. Get yourself FTP access to the server where your website is hosted, all you need is

  • a free FTP Client like Filezilla or Transmit
  • FTP access to a dedicated folder on the server (ask your web developer or try asking your hosting provider for help).

Give yourself some time to learn how to set up and use a FTP client: I know, it’s not the prettiest piece of software out there, but it’s very useful.

Once you figure out how to upload a large file, right click on it and copy the URL path, then head over to WordPress and paste it into a link (just double check the path is correct, it’s meant to look like this:

Simply use a separate file hosting service

You can’t be bothered to follow any of these instructions and you just need a patch up job? Upload your large file to your Dropbox/Google Drive account, then jump onto your WordPress post and add a link to the file. Not the most elegant of ways but hey, it will do the job.

With these 5 simple tips I managed to help a few of our clients with the pesky issue of file upload limit on their WordPress website. Please feel free to share any other handy tips in the comments below.

Paolo Tami

Paolo studied Graphic Design in a small historic town in Italy called Urbino. After moving to Australia he completed his Masters in Animation and Interactive Media in Melbourne. His skills include Animation, Video Editing and Web Design.