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Can’t upload images in Magento 2? Here is what to do

In a web store, customers can’t touch and examine goods like they would do it at any brick-and-mortar store. This makes the use of compelling product images immensely important. However, adding or updating the existing images does not always go smoothly. Sometimes you cannot add images at all. In other cases, the image would be added but not displayed at the store-front.

There are several possible reasons why Magento 2 images are not uploading or not showing at the storefront. Here is a list of what you can check to fix the issue and import images successfully.

Run re-index and clear cache

After you complete the import, you may find that uploaded images are not visible at the storefront.

The thing is, like other bulk procedures, image upload requires reindex for the changes to be applied. So make sure you refreshed the Magento index after the upload. If Magento 2 images are still not showing, try clearing Magento cache and your browser cache.

To run these commands, go to your Magento 2 admin panel > Menu > System > Tools > Cache Management or Index management:

Magento 2 reindex and clear cache options
Reindex and clear cache options in Magento 2 admin panel

Check if image roles are assigned and images are not “Hidden from a product page”

Images need to have roles assigned to be visible at the storefront. To check the roles, open Product Information > Image Details.

Also, check if the “Hide from Product Page” option is not selected:

Magento 2 image roles
Check if image roles are assigned and images not excluded

If you are adding images via import, make sure your import file contains appropriate column titles for image roles:

  • base_image - for base image
  • small_image - for a small one
  • thumbnail_image - for thumbnail
  • additional_images - for all other images separated by a comma: 2.png,3.png,4.png

Check the article on how to import images in Magento2

Check maximum file and post sizes

By default, Magento maximum file upload size is 2M. So when trying to upload bigger pictures, you can get the message: Insufficient max file size and post file size.

Try to optimize your images to make them weigh less. If you, though, need to upload the large image, you have to increase upload_max_filesize and post_max_size in the php.ini file. Mind that some hosting companies don’t allow larger file and post size values so you should better clarify it with your host. Also, you should remember that post_max_size has to be the same or greater than upload_max_filesize.

Check your media folder permissions

To upload images, you must have login credentials and writing permissions to access the Magento folder on the server. In case there are some restrictions, most likely you won’t be able to upload images.

Wrong permission settings can cause the following error messages: "Can not create directory pub/media/tmp" (if there are not writing permissions)

"Imported resource (image) could not be downloaded from external resource due to timeout or access permissions" (if an image is not accessible publicly)

So, check if your media folder is writable and has public access (permission set as 777).

Note: permission settings can be changed after a migration, c-Panel uploads, etc. So even if they were previously correct, check them again.

Check if correct media folder is specified and not empty

During import, Magento looks for images in the pub/media/import folder. Starting from Magento 2.3.2, the correct image location for import is: Magento root folder>/var/import/images.

If the folder is empty, your CSV file contains an incorrect path to it, or the images are located in the wrong folder, then you can get this error: Imported resources (image) could not be downloaded from external resources due to timeout or access permissions.

So make sure that images are uploaded into the appropriate folder and if your CSV import file has the correct image path. First, paste the URL of the image on FTP to your browser to see if it is accessible online.

Need to upload images from external URLs? Read how to import images from links to Magento 2 with Store Manager for Magento.

Check if image path in the CSV import file is correct

To get a clue how the path in the CSV should look like, we recommend exporting a product with an image and checking how the path looks like.

Note that Magento 1 and 2 have different CSV file formats:

  • Magento 1 – field values could allocate multiple cells in a column.
  • Magento 2 – field values can allocate only one cell. To separate multiple values delimiter should be used.

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Change user password

Try to reset your admin user's password. Then login with your new credentials and import images again.

On Magento forum, Magento users mentioned this tip several times. But we didn’t test it ourselves so it’s up to you whether to use it or not.

Check PHP memory limit

An insufficient PHP memory limit can also lead to errors during Magento image upload. Try updating the limit to some larger value and repeat the import to see if it works.

Check if it’s not a bug in Magento 2.x

If you use Magento 2.3 and image upload not working, this may result in such an error:A technical problem with the server created an error. Try again to continue what you were doing. If the problem persists, try again later.

Magento 2.3 image upload not working
Error message in Magento 2.3 caused by the bug

This error might be caused by a bug in Magento. The bug was fixed in the 2.3.1 release.

Increase FTP quota

Check if there is enough space on your FTP for images upload. If you exceed the quota, you will need to delete some images that you may not use anymore. Alternatively, you can enlarge the quota with your hosting company.

Use the Store Manager for Magento store diagnostics tool to find the unused images and erase them from the server.

Quick checklist if Magento 2 image upload not working

Let’s sum up what you can do in Magento 2 if you can’t upload images:

  • Clean and flush cache.
  • Run reindex.
  • Logout from the backend and log in again.
  • Change the user password.
  • Check image roles and the “Hidden from a product page” option.
  • Increase the maximum file and post size.
  • Check if media folder permissions are set to 777.
  • Check if the correct media folder is specified in the importer and if the path to the media folder in CSV is correct.
  • Increase the FTP quota.

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