Export Media Library is our latest WordPress plugin recommendation. On two recent projects, we needed to export the content of the WordPress Media Library. We needed just the original images, not all the generated thumbnails. This meant that just using FTP to download the images or using the standard WordPress export utility would not work. One of the great things about the WordPress platform is that it is easy to extend. Someone in the large global developer community has probably encountered and developed a solution to almost every need you may have.
After some searching, we found the Export Media Library plugin developed by Canadian Andrej Pavlovic. The plugin is in its fourth major version. It has over 40,000 active installations. It has less than 50 reviews, but they are overwhelmingly positive. The plugin author is responsive to support requests.
The plugin adds an option to the Media section of the WordPress admin. It will extract all of the primary images in the Media Library. You have the option of extracting them in a single folder or in nested folders. You can also compress the images.
The export is pretty fast. We had one site with over 25,000 original images and it exported in about 5 minutes. The plugin creates a zip file which you can download.
We ran several tests when we were evaluating the plugin. We did notice that occasionally the number of files in the zip file would not match the number of entries in the Media Library. This didn’t impact what we needed to do for the projects we were working on, so we didn’t research the issue to identify what was causing images not to be included.
This is a very useful single-purpose plugin. We recommend it if you need to export the original content in your Media Library.