WordPress: Disable automatic image thumbnail resizing

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If you’re one of the more typical power users of WordPress who cares a lot about their theme and post appearance (and who doesn’t), then you probably already know exactly what size your post images widths are – even if you are using a fluid width layout, you may still want some uniformity.

Enter the WordPress feature that automatically resizes image into smaller dimensions. It’s great in theory, and really, most people may use the hell out of it, either in their posts or their themes. But what if you don’t? You may want to have WordPress disable automatic creation of images.

If you already knowingly and thoughtfully crop your images, then you may not need to have WordPress automatically create thumbnails or resize the images at all. Plus, every time you upload a new image, there are two or three more created from the resizing!

How to disable the automatic image resizing

It’s simple:

  • Go to your Dashboard
  • Go to Settings
  • Go to Media
  • Clear any entries under the Image Sizes menu (see screenshot below)
  • Press Save Changes

Take a look at this screenshot to see exactly what page we are talking about:

wordpress automatic image resizing

Disable WordPress automatic image resizing

Now when you add a new image into your WordPress post, you will presented with only the single original image dimension that you uploaded. Also, your /wp-content/uploads folder will only show the original size image that you imported into your new post!

You now have the WordPress image resize disabled – you can reverse this at any time by adding back in image dimensions into the same menu settings page.

This will work on all versions of WordPress from 2.8 up to present, including version 2.9, WordPress 3.05, and 3.1, 3.2, 3.4 and the current latest version.

Good job! Now you are on your way to becoming a WordPress guru!

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  • tony

    hi! This was a really excellent post!
    I was fortunate to find this!

  • Jason

    Unfortunately this solution doesn’t work for WordPress 3.0.5.
    Any ideas?

    • http://electrokami.com Metawriter

      Are you using any plugins that use the thumbnail or perhaps a theme that does something with them?

      Ours still functions correctly.

      We can investigate though!

      • Jason

        I guess so. Perhaps I didn’t realise this with the theme I’m currently using. My bad. Sorry =(

  • goldi

    Really helpful!

  • Karl

    Thanks, didn’t know it was so simple!

  • http://www.jasonitos.com Jason

    It didnt work on mine :( I am having the latest version of WP 3.4
    It’s so depressing. My images are so sharp but once uploaded they look horrible arrgg

    • http://electrokami.com/author/camsjams/ Cameron

      Hmm, still works with mine – I am using the latest (at the moment it’s WordPress 3.4.1) and mine do not create crops.

      Are you using any plugins and do you have the selected image on “full size”?

      It will always provide the full size dimension version regardless of the above settings – what format of image are you uploading?

  • http://www.save2save.com/ kevin

    thank you for this article. I have been considering how to reduce the size of the image files.

  • http://moscow.recikl.ru/ ZexEvesee

    Забавно читать :)

  • http://www.wpshouter.com Arafin Shaon

    Tnx mate :) its pretty simple but shame i didn’t know that :@

  • http://www.tesser.in.th/ เทสเซอร์

    i speak eng little bit. i want to say thank you very much.

    • camsjams

      You’re welcome!

  • Dara

    i try not work. wordpress version 3.5.1

    • camsjams

      Still works on our side with 3.5.1 – do you have a special theme installed?

  • zangeed

    thzz a loott . Explained sooo simply

  • pp

    I don’t want WordPress to generate Large size image automatically only. So I set 0 for Large size in Media Settings, but I still see it’s generated in uploads folder, not sure why it is not working :'(

    • camsjams

      It is still being generated on new photo uploads?

      What is the name of the theme you are using?

      • pp

        WordPress 3.5.2, twentyten theme, Media settings Thumbnail size 50 x 50, Medium size 300 x 300,
        Large size 0 x 0.
        I uploaded a photo 1349 x 1216, but uploads folder
        generates 4 photos 300 x 270, 50 x 50, 940 x 198 and original_photo.jpg

        why 940 x 198 is still generated?

      • camsjams

        This is a feature of the Twenty Ten theme called ‘custom-header’. It is actually available in many themes out there.

        If you really don’t want any extra images, one way to prevent this from happening is to go into the functions.php file and find the line that looks something like this:

        set_post_thumbnail_size( $custom_header_support['width'], $custom_header_support['height'], true );

        You can either delete that line or put a comment in front of it by simply putting “//” at the front of the line.

        If you plan on going this route, you might consider making this a child theme of twenty ten, see
        Child Themes.

      • pp

        Thank you very much, the method above works :)

      • http://saidulhassan.com/ Saidul Hassan

        what about 3.6.1 with 2013 theme? Media setting id working as perfectly as you described but can’t find any similar code in functions.php to comment it out.
        Spoiler alert: I am noob in this :)

      • camsjams

        Hi Saidul,

        If you look inside the functions.php file for the Twenty Thirteen theme, you will see some lines of PHP that look like:

        add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );
        set_post_thumbnail_size( 604, 270, true );

        You can remove the automatic image generation for this theme by commenting out the line:

        //set_post_thumbnail_size( 604, 270, true );

        As this is a modification to the theme directly, use at your own risk.

      • http://saidulhassan.com/ Saidul Hassan

        Thanks @camsjams:disqus! I actually noticed this set_post_thumbnail_size when I searched for the 2012 code but I am too noob to figure it myself. Thank you for your help. And speaking of modification of the theme directly, I understand functions.php in child theme doesn’t work as it works for css but I am wondering if it can be done somehow from the child theme w/o touching the default theme?

  • MYordanova

    Thank you so much !

    • camsjams

      No problem!

  • http://www.themesrefinery.net/ Rehman Ali

    Nice post get some good idea.I have also added some good tips for users check below.
    WordPress Image Resize and Crop

  • Nico

    Thanks it was useful but i have 1 question, how do you removed all the image sizes you don’t need that were created already? (i mean automatically)