road in forest

OMG! My images are gone

Fotor applause collageJust imagine what it would be like to log into your blog and find your pictures are missing.  What to do?

WordPress.com provides free blogs and hosts them free of charge. There are no bandwidth charges. All WordPress.com blogs come with 3000 megabytes (~3 GBs) of space for storing uploaded files and images. Free features are listed wordpress.com free features. Check > Dashboard > Media Library to see if you have exhausted your free space allocation and need to purchase a space upgrade.

If that is not the case proceed as follows below.

Provided you are running a current browser version and don’t have a browser related issue, then where the images are hosted is key to finding out what happened to them.

These are the three link options for image uploading. Which one did you use?

1.   Are the images hosted on WordPress.com servers?

Any image, on any page, anywhere on the web, anywhere in the world, has to be exist somewhere on a server on the internet or it cannot be displayed.

All WordPress.com blogs come with 3000 megabytes (~3 GBs) of space for storing uploaded files and images. The Space Upgrade gives you  additional space.

If you uploaded the missing images from your computer into your  WordPress.com blog then they will be found in your Media Library as they will be hosted on WordPress.com servers.

mediaImages in your blog posts and pages are linked to the image you uploaded into the Media Library. The browser sees the image code in the post or page and then retrieves the image from the Media Library and displays it where the code is positioned within the post or page. If you open any post or page on your blog in the Text (HTML) editor that has an image in it, you will see HTML code something like this:

<img src="http://somewhere.com/image.jpg">

That code tells the browser where to find the image so that it can display it in the post or page.

TIP: Something very crucial about saving images on WordPress.com’s servers: they are automatically compressed (yes, even lossless formats like PNG are compressed). So, make sure you keep the original image file somewhere else, because once you upload them to WordPress.com’s servers, the original full-sized images are gone forever.

(a) Did you delete the missing images from your Media Library?

If you upload an image to your media library and insert it into a post or page, and then delete that image from the media library, then the browser can no longer retrieve the image to display it. The image does not exist at that location anymore, so if you deleted images from the Media Library they will have to be uploaded again.

TIP: If the deleted images were indexed by Google they will be in Google’s image cache. Type the URL for your site into the Google search field, click and then follow the “Show Google’s Cache” link. When you locate the images capture them first and and then upload them from your computer to your Media Library again. Provided you do not change the image file names, the images will reappear in your posts and/or pages.

(b) Are the missing images in your Media Library header images or featured images?

Many WordPress.com blog themes provide the options of uploading custom header images. You can use the custom image header guide to upload

  • a single custom header image of specific dimensions that will display on all posts and pages;
  • or uploading multiple custom image headers images that will display randomly on all posts and pages.

Some WordPress.com themes provide the options of uploading different feature custom header images on individual pages and posts, rather than displaying the same one that displays on the front page of the blog on every post and page in the blog.

Some WordPress.com themes provide the flexible header height option.

In all cases what’s important is to consult your theme description and know that when it comes to setting featured images, the specific image dimensions required by the theme are critical to image display.

2.   Are the images hosted on image hosting servers?

ab collageIf the missing images are hosted on a server somewhere else online  that provides image hosting services and allows hotlinking to images such as Flickr or Photobucket, then check with the appropriate support site for known issues. As the images are hosted on their servers the issue could be at their end of things.

3.  Are you hotlinking to the images without permission to do so?

colorful image collage
photovisi colorful image collage

If the missing images are hosted on a server somewhere else online that does NOT allow hotlinking, the source site can prevent the images from displaying on your blog because you are stealing bandwidth. If a site is over its monthly bandwidth limit, it will be billed for the extra data or taken offline.

A simple analogy for bandwidth theft: Imagine a random stranger plugging into your electrical outlets, using your electricity without your consent, and you paying for it.

If the missing images are not in the public domain and you do not hold copyright, and there are no Terms of Use that allow hotlinking, be aware that linking to them is a copyright violation that may result in the source preventing image display as well as a DMCA takedown notice.

Related posts found in this blog:
WordPress.com Media Makeover
Cropper or Proper Image Preparation?
Get the Most Out of Image Search
Images: Optimizing, Pre-Sizing and Resizing
How good is WordPress at resizing and resampling your images?
Image editing and preparation tips part 1
Image editing and preparation tips part 2

34 thoughts on “OMG! My images are gone

  1. Hi Time Thief,
    I hope I am not too late to post a comment/question here, but I can’t find any way to get my question into the forums – where I keep seeing you :) – and I saw this really helpful post here on your blog.
    I have an image disappearing problem. I’ve read all the advice you have given, but I’m still no further on. All images are uploaded from my computer.
    My latest post, which is in draft form, won’t show the image I have put up. Either in the draft or the preview.
    When I go to Media Library, all images in the library have blanked out, there is a white box instead for each image, and it contains only the image title.
    When I go to my reader, I can only see a few of the images from other blogs, too. Most are blanked out in the same way.
    I don’t know what to do. It was all OK yesterday as you can see from the blog link..
    Any help at all you can give me would be greatly appreciated
    Many thanks in advance, Amelia
    This is the link to my blog http://mungaiandthegoaconstrictor.me/

    1. Not sure what happened there, but it all came straight back after I posted the comment. Thank you so much, as I am sure you must have done this. I have bookmarked your post “How to Get Better, Faster Support at WordPress.com” for future reference. And thanks for all the help you continuously offer ~ Amelia :) :)

  2. If you insert images using Zemanta, is that also hotlinking to the image as they don’t get uploaded to the library? Does that mean those images could potentially disappear should the hosting servers remove them? Also, what about copyright and permissions regarding those images. Zemanta automatically does the attribution, but do you still need permission to use those images?

    1. I trust Zemanata has taken care to explore the copyright aspect and always read their notations on image use prior to using images. The image sources they provide such as wikimedia commons images are not likey to disappear any time soon IMO. However, that said, it is our individual responsibility to be within the confines copyright, terms of use and/or the limitations of fair use. http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stopping-internet-plagiarism/your-copyrights-online/limitations-of-copyright/

  3. Thanks for the tips. I work for Pixar and I’m now trying to start a blog, yet was confused at first on how to do certain things on my blog…. Also, still do have a few questions. Do you have a part of your blog were other bloggers can go and post questions we need help with?

  4. Great post–though I think I’d freak out, if my images were suddenly gone. I’ve had to twice upgrade my media space. I suppose I use a lot of images–my own photos or those of my partner, however.

    Thanks for more helpful information. Sorry I’m so late getting here, but I hope you had a great weekend and your week is going well, as well.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  5. [ Smiles ] This is some great information. Now, I would know exactly what to do when such a thing arises!

  6. With video, if you are using the big upgrade, you can get HD quality if the width you upload is 1280 pixels or wider. That’s uploading to WordPress. Otherwise I was shocked at the loss of quality.

    WordPress and Facebook most certainly do compress and degrade your pictures although the larger ones I’ve posted are very good when rendered in my blog. What you could do is upload your pictures to a site that does not compress the pictures and then link to them there.

    Here’s a picture tip: Even if you want the picture smaller on the page itself you can still use a larger pic for those that want to zoom in. After uploading the larger picture, use WordPress to display it in a smaller size in your article and if the reader clicks on the picture it will appear in a separate window or tab at full size. This is something I’ve recently started doing instead of just resizing to what I want in the article before uploading.

  7. oh yes, this happened to me! the hosting site shut down :( and I went through most of my posts and replaced those now defunct links with uploaded images here on wordpress. so, be aware that the hosting site where you hotlink may not exist forever.

    1. Hi tobyo,
      I apologize for taking so long to reply. That must have been an awful experience and surely one no blogger wants to go through. We all need to backup images.

      1. oh no problem! my issue wasn’t that I lost the images themselves, rather the links to show the images in my blog posts were broken. but your post here makes me wonder about saving photos in the either anyway. I have them all on my hard drive then save to a flash drive but I guess something could happen to both? so much to think about….

        1. @tobyo
          Oh! I misunderstood you. I’m so gald to hear the images were backed up. Fixing broken links is a tedious chore but having to remove broken links, rather than uploading and restoring the images is even more tedious.

  8. I really wrestled with these topics at first but thanks to some assistance from you and application from me, I am happy with my results and confidant navigating around my library. Nothing worse than doing something but being uncertain how one achieved it. I keep the images I deem “precious” on an unsorted out USB stick. No time to sort them out but I am happy knowing they are there and accessible if necessary. Good point from Jamie, I learnt that the hard way when I initially saved my blog button at a small size! LOL!

    1. Hi there,
      Keeping your images on a USB stick is a great idea. You can the relax knowing you have them on hand should you ever need to replace them.

      Jamie’s point is a great one and I hope everyone reads it here in the comments section.

  9. Knowing all that, I’ve still had one or two images disappear from my blog. They were uploaded to WP media library, appeared in the the post, etc. And then months or even years later I happen to look at the post for some reason and the image was gone. Not in the post, not in the media library. Just gone. Never figured out what happened. Good thing I kept original.

    1. Your blog is an image rich fashion blog so I’m not surprised that you have used so much of your free media storage space.

      P.S. Though I rarely comment, I’m a clothes horse type and I’m enjoying your blog. :)

  10. You forgot to mention something very crucial about saving images on WordPress.com’s servers: they are automatically compressed (yes, even lossless formats like PNG are compressed). So, make sure you keep the original image file somewhere else, because once you upload them to WordPress.com’s servers, the original full-sized images are gone forever.

  11. I use my facebook page to store images, then use the link option in the add media dialogue, no problems so far. Although some friends wonder at the random nature of my posts sometimes.

    Jim

  12. Funnily enough, I’m about to write my first post that will include a photograph, because I’ve just learned how to do it, so this post is suddenly very interesting to me

Comments are closed.