How to Change Featured Image Size in WordPress?

Using proper WordPress featured image size in your post or page can capture visitors’ attention, set their perception of the article, and play an essential role in brand strategy in social media and search engines.

Featured images usually appear on your website as a link to an article. For example, thumbnails on the sidebar are derived from your featured image, blog archive pages, or recommended sections, to name a few.

A good featured image paired with an engaging title increases the click-through rate for your articles.

In this article, you will explore how you can set or change featured image size in WordPress, ways to optimize your featured image, and things you need to consider while working with featured images.

What is Featured Image in WordPress?

Think of it as an introductory image for your blog post/page on your website. You have seen it on a blog archive page or a news website. When shared, it appears on different parts of your website and social media, purposed to draw readers’ attention to your content and show what your post is about.

Having a featured image helps you show the image that tells the story of your content with it to pique your reader’s interest.

Featured images can help you improve page views and user engagement. Search engines and social media websites may use these visuals to appear in search results and social media news feeds. It’s what will catch your reader’s attention, and it could be the thing that makes them click through. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may have noticed that WordPress automatically selects an image to use as the feature image for new posts.

But why do you need a featured image?

A visual image can spark interest, summarise your material, and start curious about what you’ve written. People are more likely to go on your link, look at/read the information, and share it. Remember, if your image doesn’t provide the information or grab the audience’s attention in any way, it doesn’t give much value to adding a featured image.

Things to consider while adding or changing featured images.

There are a few methods and best practices to consider when deciding what type of WP featured images you want to put on your WordPress site to get the results you want. The following are some of the WordPress featured photo best practices:

  • Use High-resolution image
  • Use relevant image
  • Use copyright-free images
  • Use a clean and simple image
  • Design Consistency

When adding or changing your featured image, check if your image lies on these five points. If it doesn’t, then rethink and upgrade your image.

How to add, change and remove the featured image size in WordPress?

When you are designing a WordPress website, you can find yourself at odds with what sizes to use for featured images within your posts. The pixel size of your image is just as significant as the file size. If the picture size is incorrect, the image will be blurred, other page elements will be out of alignment, and users don’t like that. 1200 x 628 pixels is a good starting point for your WordPress featured image size. These dimensions look well and work well across WordPress themes and page layouts when shared on social media feeds.

WordPress displays thumbnails for you when you add an image to the media library. WordPress generally displays photos in three different sizes by default. Thumbnail (150px), Medium (300px), and Large (1024px).

Elementor featured image size: 150 x150 pixels. Medium size: 300 x 300 pixels. Medium-Large size: 724 x auto pixels. Large size: 1024 x 1024 pixels.

Setting and Updating Featured Image Size using Post and Page Editor

You can set and change featured image size in WordPress individually through your post and page editor. This is the best approach to handling your featured images; you can make personalized individual featured image selections here.

  • Go to the post or page you want to set your featured image via your WordPress dashboard.
  • To add a featured image to a post or page in WordPress, scroll down to see “Set Featured Image” in the right-hand toolbar, including the Categories and Tags sections. Select “Set Featured Image” from the drop-down menu.

Set featured image in wordpress with a button on bottom right-hand toolbar

  • You can select any image from your library or upload a new one if needed. Like any other blog image in the post, you can include Alt Text and titles. Your WordPress featured image will appear in the Featured Image box on the right-side toolbar once it has been set. You have complete control over it and can update, remove, or replace it at any moment.

select image for featured image from the library

  • Click on “Set Featured Image” and hit the “publish” button. The featured image on the post is successfully set.

How to change the default featured image size WordPress?

Changing the size of the featured image is a huge adjustment to the look of your WordPress website. We also recommend testing these changes on a WordPress staging site or creating a back up of your wordpress site to ensure any formatting mistakes are hidden from the public until you go live with them. When you set a featured image, WordPress will crop your uploaded image to fit all of these sizes.

The first way to look if you want to change the size of your featured image is your theme. Many themes add their featured image dimensions to replace the defaults in WordPress. Look for options to set the featured image size within your specific theme under the Appearance tab in your WordPress admin dashboard.

By default, WordPress will only display three image sizes in Settings > Media. Thumbnail (150px), Medium (300px), and Large (1024px). You can modify these three values for your featured image without installing further plugins. This is how you do it:

  • Go to Settings > Media in WordPress
  • In the Max Width and Max Height fields, make changes to the image sizes.

changing default featured image sizes on wordpress

  • When you’re finished, click Save Changes.
  • Every new image you upload to your WordPress site will now be resized to the proportions you specified.

Customize WordPress Featured Image size with function.php

Before you start, make a backup of the file or make these changes on a staging site because we’ll be editing the code, or you can create a child theme. If you want a custom WordPress featured image size, we’ll need to add some code to the functions.php file. Follow these steps:

  • Go to Appearance > Theme Editor
  • Select the theme you want to alter from the Select theme to the edit option on the top left.
  • Then, from the menu on the right, choose the functions.php file.

choosing function.php file to insert code for custom featured image size

  • To enable the add_image_size() function. Add this general syntax:
    add_image_size( string $name, int $width, int $height, bool|array $crop = false )
  • This will help add new custom WordPress image sizes.
  • Now we need to display the custom image sizes. There are a number of options for doing so.
  • In the theme template file, you can use the_post_thumbnail() function to apply a custom image size to a post’s featured picture.
     if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) {the_post_thumbnail( 'your-custom-size' );}
  • Click on Update File when you are done.
    Also, through your WordPress admin, you can choose custom sizes by using the the_image_size_names_choose function. This makes things simpler to assign a name from your dashboard.
   add_filter( 'image_size_names_choose', 'my_custom_sizes' );
     function my_custom_sizes( $sizes ) {
     return array_merge( $sizes, array(
     'your-custom-size' => __( 'Your Custom Size Name' ),
     ) );

Now you’ll need to regenerate your existing Featured images. For this, you can use Regenerate Thumbnails or any other WordPress regenerate thumbnail plugin. This plugin allows you to resize one or more photos in your media library’s thumbnails. It also allows you to delete thumbnails that are no longer in use. You’ll be able to free up some server space this way.

using regenerate thumbnails to resize photos in your media library

Optimizing featured image

  • The featured image changes the viewer’s view of your content before they even begin reading. All of this is to imply that you must optimize the size of your featured image in WordPress. The hint of what should be considered while adding a featured image is already mentioned above. Let’s know more detail about how to optimize featured images.
  • You should have a title that is clearly optimized for your target term;
  • A decent meta description that accurately summarises the page’s content;
  • Content that is well-written and well-researched.
  • Include a featured image that is relevant to your content.
  • Add a detailed file name and descriptive alt-text.
  • If you upload an image that is too small, it may become blurry, and very large images can also be a problem because they have large file sizes and can take a long time to load. It depends on the theme of your site; however, most themes support a featured image with the following dimensions: 1,200 by 628 px. If this doesn’t work for your blog, you can check your theme documentation or use developer tools to confirm the container width.
  • Although PNG images have greater file sizes, it is the preferred format for images that contain text, such as screenshots. JPG is a good format for images that don’t have any text in them, and because it’s a lossy compression format, it results in smaller file sizes.

Wrapping Up

This article briefly described a few key aspects of featured images in WordPress. I hope this article has given you a better understanding of featured images and how to change the featured image size in WordPress.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that you should not use random image size values. The ideal featured images for WordPress will make your blog look more professional. With a compelling featured image, you may attract more visitors to your article, enhance the chance of user engagement, and gain SEO advantages.

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