Plugins: Physical Folders in Media Library
These plugins physically manipulate the files in the Media Library, and I call those plugins Media Managers with Physical Folders.
One of the key features in this group of plugins is that the plugin should allow me to select a folder for the file to be uploaded to, a specific physical folder, manually chosen, so that there is minimal need for reorganizing files on the disk afterwards.
| Use “Organize Media Folder” as plugin for Physical Media Layout |
Organize Media Folder
One such plugin is Organize Media Folder created by my favorite Japanese minimalist, which could be my candidate as “the new default” plugin. Unusually, it is operated separately from a menu “Media > Folder Management”.
This plugin handles the physical folders within the Uploads folder but the way it works is somewhat “strange”. Nevertheless, the plugin works, and I think the author wanted to avoid a complex UI. It takes a little time to understand the concepts of the plugin, but once you do, it’s all logical. It’s best to watch the tutorial video first.
Organize Media Library by Folders (retired)
Another plugin Organize Media Library by Folders from the same Japanese author is retired and will be closed eventually with no more maintenance, and the plugin “Organize Media Folder” is the successor.
If both are active at the same time, you will see a message: “The plugin -Organize Media Library by Folders- is activated. Please stop it as it may cause unexpected errors”. So, it’s best to completely forget about the “Organize Media Library by Folders” plugin.
Real Media Library
In fact, to deal with the physical layout, this is a combination of two complementary plugins.
Real Media Library: Media Library Folder & File Manager by devowl.io (60K users) is sold via Envato Market and therefore offers a lifetime license but only for one domain. I do not like that the free version supports unlimited main folders but not subfolders, but maybe you can live with it. This is a classic plugin for categorization that uses a virtual folder structure.
Plugin is different in that it has an add-on that allows the virtual and real structures on the disk to be synchronized.
This add-on called Real Physical Media is also sold via Envato, as a lifetime, but not for an unlimited number of websites. This is a paid version of the free plugin that used to be active under the name Physical Custom Upload Folder but it now looks like the author has stopped updating and maintaining this free version of the plugin.
I should mention that the solution used is that when you move the location of the file on the physical disk, a “redirect” is created so the URL doesn’t change. On second thought, that is actually the only safe solution so you don’t have to “run” through all the content and hope that nothing is forgotten with the changes.
The same author offers a free Real Thumbnail Generator which can regenerate unlimited thumbnails. Unlimited? Well, I’m glad author obviously changed his principle because he was probably threatened with delistment from wp.org. The paid version of this plugin can place thumbnails separately into their own folder, and supports custom upload structure among other things.
X4 Media Library
X4 Media Library by x4wp works with physical folders. I couldn’t obtain the Pro version to test it and it is quite crippled without it. It works, slowly. It doesn’t sync with FTP created files, but I can do that using some other plugins. In 2020 it was delisted from wp.org and it also disappeared from Envato, so you can definitely forget about it.
WP Media Folder by JoomUnited
Once upon a time, this was also a combination of two complementary plugins, but I think now it’s all in one, premium plugin. There is no more a free version, only the old version that was free, under the name WP Media folders. That free version is not maintained anymore and all features have been integrated into the main paid plugin.
WP Media Folder by JoomUnited doesn’t really “do” physical folders, but has some form of similar functionality via synchronization of server folders and Media Folders. It has mostly raving reviews but I no longer trust them. Through add-ons it supports Amazon S3 but also other cloud storage providers.
I remember I was not impressed with the interface, but also with something I called a “strange” folder Sync/Import that is simply not logical. I think, the plugin does what I need but in an ugly way.