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Download WordPress media library

How to Download the WordPress Media Library 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Do you want to download the WordPress media library?

By downloading your WordPress site’s media library, you can save your images, videos, and other important files. This media-only backup can also be useful for transferring these images to another site without manually uploading them one at a time. 

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to download the WordPress media library!

Why You Might Want to Download Your WordPress Media Library

As a website owner, you’ll regularly upload lots of images, videos, and other media files to your site. In WordPress, these are stored in the media library. 

Sometimes, you might want to download these files. By exporting the media library to your computer, you’ll have a saved backup of all your images and videos.

Here are a few reasons why it can be helpful to back up your WordPress media library.

Easy Backup Recovery

Occasionally, accidents happen. You might accidentally delete something or your website might face technical issues.

After downloading the media library, you’ll have a copy of all your files stored safely on your computer. This way, even if something goes wrong on your website, you can easily restore your media files later.

Website Migration

When you migrate your WordPress website to a new host or domain, it’s essential to have a copy of all your media files. This way, your new site is set up with all its old files. With a media backup, you’ll ensure nothing gets lost during the transfer.

Offline Availability

You might want to access your media files when you don’t have an internet connection. By downloading the media library, you can have all your files stored locally on your computer. This allows you to view, edit, or use your media files even when you’re not connected to WiFi.

How to Download the WordPress Media Library

Now that you’ve decided to download your WordPress media library, let’s show you how to do it!

Method 1: Use a WordPress Backup Plugin

To download the media library, you can use a WordPress backup plugin that supports media-only backups. The right tool will make it easy for you to select your media files and then package them into a single zip file.

Step 1: Install Duplicator Pro

Not many backup plugins allow you to create media-only backups. Often, they package your entire website, without much more customization.

You could manually download your media library using cPanel or a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. Keep in mind that this requires some technical expertise and can be time-consuming.

Fortunately, Duplicator Pro is a powerful WordPress backup plugin with flexible customization options. Using Duplicator, you can back up your whole website, or choose the specific data that is saved.

Duplicator Pro plugin

Along with media-only backups, here are some additional helpful features that come with Duplicator Pro:

  • Automatic backup schedules
  • Cloud storage to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and more
  • One-click backup restores
  • Disaster recovery
  • Drag-and-drop migrations
  • Supports large sites and WordPress Multisite networks
  • Custom search and replace
  • Step-by-step migration wizard

To start downloading your media library, select either the Pro or Elite subscription. Although Duplicator offers a free version and other payment options, the higher plans will enable you to fully customize your backups.

After your purchase, copy your license key. You’ll need to use this later to activate Duplicator Pro. 

Then, sign into WordPress and install Duplicator Pro.

Now you’ll need to find the Settings page and click on the Licensing tab. Here, paste your license key and activate it:

Activate Duplicator Pro license key

If you already have Duplicator Lite, you can upgrade to the Pro version with just one click. Simply paste your license key and you’ll instantly access premium features:

One-click upgrade to Duplicator Pro

At this point, you’ll have everything you need to download your WordPress media library!

Step 2: Create a Media-Only Backup

Duplicator works by packaging all of your website’s files, plugins, themes, and database tables into a single zip file.

However, you can easily pick and choose exactly what information is saved in this backup. This way, you can download just the WordPress media library and save all your important media files.

First, go to Duplicator Pro » Packages » Create New:

Create Duplicator package

On this page, you’ll see that Duplicator automatically assigned your backup a name. However, you can change this if you’d like:

New media backup

Next, choose a storage location. Here are all of the different storage integration options available:

If you already connected your third-party storage location, you’ll see it listed under Storage. Alternatively, hit Add Storage to connect a new one:

Duplicator backup storage

After this, expand the Archive section. You’ll see options to back up different site data:

Duplicator media backup

To download the media library, click on the Media Only tab. Duplicator will automatically filter out everything except the uploads in your wp-content folder.

Then, hit Next. You’ll see a full scan of your website. If there are any notices, you’ll need to verify that you want to continue with the build:

Media backup scan

Now, Duplicator will download your WordPress media library and store it on your local server or your preferred cloud storage location. 

Step 3: Download Your Backup

If you chose to save your media library locally, you’ll see your backup on the Packages page of your WordPress dashboard:

Download media library backup

To make sure you can always access your media library files, it’s a good idea to download this backup. Once you hit Download, you’ll have the option of saving the archive file, the installer.php script, or both.

By clicking Archive (zip), just your media library will be downloaded. However, you’ll need the installer if you plan to unpack the archive on a different server.

If you ever need to restore your media backup, you can simply open Duplicator’s Import page. Then, drag and drop the archive file into it:

Import website archive

Duplicator will then walk you through the restoration process.

If you ever need to migrate your media library to another WordPress site, you can follow these same steps. Your media library will be automatically unpacked on the new location, avoiding the need to manually upload files one by one. 

Step 4: Set Up Automatic Backups

Backups are an important part of keeping your website data secure. If you don’t regularly save copies of your site (including the media library), you may lose important information to server crashes, bugs, or cyber attacks.

Fortunately, Duplicator Pro can function as a WordPress maintenance service. Since it allows you to set up automatic backups, you can sit back and know your data is always safe.

To create your first backup schedule, find Duplicator Pro » Schedules » Add New:

Create website backup schedule

By default, Duplicator will run a full backup of your site. However, you may want to add a separate backup schedule to save just your media library. In this case, you’ll need to create a new package template:

Create new backup template

Name the new template. Then, choose Media Only under the Archive section:

Media backup template

Lastly, save the template and go back to the new schedule page. Use the Package Template dropdown menu to find the template you just created:

Select media backup template

Next, select a storage location for your automatic backups:

Automatic backup storage

You can also set a start time and interval for the schedule. Duplicator supports hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly automatic backups:

Backup schedule

Enable the schedule at the bottom of the page. Then, save it. The media files in your uploads folder will now be automatically backed up!

Method 2. Use the Export Media Library Plugin

If you don’t mind installing a new plugin, you can use the Export Media Library plugin. This tool is designed to compile all of your media library files into a zip file.

We’d recommend optimizing your plugin usage so that you don’t impact your site’s performance. A plugin like Duplicator can download your media library, and you probably already have it installed for your basic backup and migration needs.

But, Export Media Library offers a simple way to download images on your site. After installation, go to Media » Export.

Export media library

For the Folder Structure, select Single folder with all files. You don’t have to enable compression.

Hit Download Zip. You’ll then get a zip file with all of your media files.

Method 3. Use the WordPress Exporter

WordPress has a built-in way to export your media library. To use this, head over to Tools » Export.

Choose the Media option. If you only want a limited number of images, specify the time frame when you uploaded them.

WordPress media export

Finally, click on Download Export File.

WordPress will download your media library as an XML file. So, this method is only useful when you need to migrate images to another WordPress site using the built-in importer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I download an entire WordPress media library?

You can download your entire WordPress media library by creating a media-only backup with Duplicator Pro. Using this backup plugin, simply specify that you only want to download media files in your backup.  

To do this without a plugin, you can go to Tools » Export in the WordPress sidebar and export your media library as an XML file.

You can also connect your site to an FTP client like FileZilla and navigate through this folder structure: public_html » wp-content » uploads. Right-click on the uploads folder and download it. 

Alternative: The Export Media Library plugin specializes in exporting the WordPress media library. However, it doesn’t have any additional functionality like creating full site backups or automatic backups.

How do I download my WordPress site locally?

You can download your WordPress site locally by installing Duplicator Pro and creating a package of your live site. Then, build your local site and drag and drop your archive file into it. Duplicator will automatically replace your default local WordPress installation with a copy of your production site.  

When this local staging site is ready to go live, check out our guide on moving a local WordPress site to a live server!

Can I bulk download media from WordPress?

Yes, you can bulk download media from WordPress. Rather than using your hosting account’s control panel or FileZilla to manually download every media file in your root directory, you can install a plugin like Duplicator. This tool allows even beginners to easily create media-only backups. 

Is it possible to clone an entire website?

Yes, you can clone an entire website. Using the Duplicator plugin, create a zip archive of your current site. Then, use the drag-and-drop migration feature to easily clone your site to a staging area, another server, or a new domain name. Since there’s no downtime, Duplicator can move a copy of your website to another WordPress installation, all without impacting your SEO

How do I get to the media library in WordPress?

To get to the media library, open your WordPress dashboard and find the Media tab. Here, you can view all of the media files uploaded to your site. You can also add new ones.

WordPress media library

Conclusion

You’ve just downloaded your WordPress media library!

While you’re here, you may also like these WordPress tutorials and plugin reviews:

Do you want to start backing up your WordPress media library? Download Duplicator Pro to instantly save copies of your media files!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

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