Post thumbnails, which are also called “featured images,” are an important part of any WordPress site. They make your site look professional and give important visual context. With thumbnail plugins for WordPress, it’s easy and simple to take care of the featured images.
Your WordPress theme decides how these images look, but WordPress’ built-in system for making thumbnails isn’t always good. You can use a WordPress plugin to make high-quality image thumbnails in the right size without having to use functions or change your theme’s functions.php file.
In this post, we’ve put together a list of some of the best image thumbnail plugins for WordPress that will take care of all your featured image thumbnail needs. First, let’s look at why you might want to use a plugin instead of the post thumbnail system that comes with WordPress.
Why Should You Use a WordPress Thumbnail Plugin?
Setting a featured image for a post or page is easy in WordPress. In fact, the featured image function is already built into the Gutenberg block editor.
Once you’ve set these options, WordPress’s built-in resizing feature will automatically change the size of every image you upload to match the image sizes set by your theme.
Even though this process is simple, it has two major flaws.
The first is that you can’t make custom image sizes of different sizes. Add the following line of code to the functions.php file of your theme to set your own image sizes.
Editing core theme files can break your site, so this can be risky for people who aren’t very tech-savvy.
The second problem is that if you ever want to change your media settings or switch your theme to one that lets you choose different image sizes, you’ll have to resize the featured images on your existing posts and pages. Depending on how many posts and pages you have on your site, this could take a while.
Both of these problems can be fixed with a WordPress thumbnail plugin. Depending on the plugin, you might be able to set custom image sizes without having to add code to your theme files. Or, it can make new thumbnails with the right sizes for images already used in posts and pages or uploaded to your media library, so you can change your media settings or theme without worrying about the images.
It might also have advanced features that WordPress doesn’t have by default, like the ability to set multiple featured images in a single post or page or to show image thumbnails in a list of recent posts.
Best WordPress plugins for thumbnails
- Regenerate Thumbnails
Regenerate Thumbnails is the most-used thumbnail plugin for WordPress, with more than a million installations. It lets you change the thumbnail sizes of all the images you’ve uploaded to your Media Library, either one at a time or in a group.
You can also quickly delete old or unused thumbnails with this plugin to free up space on your server.
Tip: This plugin is great if you want to change your WordPress theme but the images you already have are the wrong size. There is no easy built-in way to resize all your previously uploaded images, so this plugin is great for beginners who want a fix without having to get into the code.
- Dynamic Featured Image
Dynamic Featured Image is a plugin for WordPress that is a unique thumbnail. This free plugin lets you add more than one featured image to a single post or page without having to write any code. The default featured image function in WordPress only lets you add one thumbnail. This is especially important if you use post thumbnails, sliders, or other plugins that use featured images.
With this plugin, you can choose more than one picture as your “featured image.” But you will need to run a bit of code to make those images show up on your site. Here are step-by-step instructions that explain the process in detail.
- Quick Featured Images
With this plugin, you can set, replace, or remove featured images from hundreds of posts and pages at once. Or, if you want a bit more control, you can use the plugin’s filters to only change, add, or remove featured images from posts and pages of a certain post type, category, or tag. You can also set up presets that tell the plugin how to set the featured images of new posts and pages automatically in the future.
Tip: Quick Featured Images is great for people who run large, image-heavy websites and need to manage a lot of featured images quickly.
Thumbnails is a free plugin that improves the way thumbnails are made by default in WordPress. Since WordPress doesn’t re-generate post thumbnails when new sizes are registered, the Thumbnails plugin intercepts requests from themes or plugins and makes the thumbnail itself. Then it caches it and saves it to a folder in your root directory.
So, your visitors will see images that are perfectly cropped and won’t have to wait for them to load or deal with any other website problems.
Pro-Tip: Thumbnails doesn’t change your blog or media library directly. This means you can use (and later remove) the plugin without worrying about how your website works.
- Recent Posts Widget with Thumbnails
With the default Recent Posts widget, you can quickly and easily create a list of the most recent posts. The problem is that this native widget doesn’t show post thumbnails, which can make the display look boring. You can use this plugin if you want your list of recent posts to stand out.
The Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails plugin improves the built-in Recent Posts widget so that you can show the featured images of your most recent posts. This plugin also lets you add things like post excerpts and categories to this display to make it better.
Tip: This plugin just adds to the default widget that comes with WordPress. If you know how to use the Recent Posts widget, this plugin will be easy to use as well.
Putting a thumbnail plugin for WP on your site
When you use a WordPress thumbnail plugin, you can have more control over your site’s featured images. With the above plugins, you can set custom image sizes without adding code to your theme files. You can also regenerate the correct thumbnail sizes for images already used in posts and pages or uploaded to your media library, and you can set multiple featured images in a single post or page (or all of the above!). If you choose one of these plugins, you won’t have to worry when you change your site’s media settings, theme, or completely redesign it. These were some of the best thumbnail wordpress plugins, hope you enjoyed!