Ever wished that you could organize the WordPress Media Library with folders?
As your site grows, it can be hard to keep track of all your media files because WordPress doesn’t do a great job of organizing them with its native features. Folders let you neatly organize every file so that you can always find it when needed, which is great for everyone from bloggers to photographers, WooCommerce store owners, and lots more.
In our Mediabay review, we’re going to take a look at a simple freemium plugin that makes it easy to start using drag-and-drop folders on your WordPress site. There are no settings to configure – just install the plugin and start benefiting from Media Library folders right away.
Mediabay Review: What the Plugin Does
In a nutshell, Mediabay helps you organize your WordPress Media Library using folders.
You’ll be able to drag-and-drop files around just like you can on your desktop, which makes for a much more intuitive Media Library for both you or your clients.
You’ll also be able to create as many subfolders as needed – again, just like you can do on your desktop. You can even nest multiple subfolders inside of each other if needed.
Basically, it helps you better organize your Media Library and makes it easier to find media files in the future when you need them.
You’ll also be able to use your organization structure when inserting files in the WordPress editor or via other plugins, such as page builder. For example, if you’re using Elementor, you’ll be able to browse your organized files when you choose the media file to add to an image widget. I’ll show you how all of this works later on.
The important thing to understand is that these are virtual folders. That is, if you move a file to a new folder, it won’t change the actual URL of the file or change its location on your server. In other words, you can move files around as much as you want without having to worry about causing broken URLs on the front-end of your site.
Technically, the plugin is using a custom taxonomy to organize your media files and then using that to power the folder view. This is why it doesn’t change the actual location of the file on your server.
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But while I used the term “virtual” folders, they still feel plenty real while you’re working with them in the backend of your site.
How Mediabay Works
Now, let’s go hands-on and I’ll show you how Mediabay works on my own site.
When you first install and activate the Mediabay plugin, there’s literally nothing to set up – it just starts working right away.
To check it out, you can go to Media → Library. There, you should see the regular Media Library, but with a new folder sidebar from Mediabay. The nice thing is that you can use the toggle to adjust the size of this sidebar according to your preferences:
Another nice thing is that you can use both the native “list” view and the “grid” view to browse your files:
Some other folder plugins don’t give you the option to preserve the list view, so I think this is a nice addition from Mediabay.
To create a new folder, all you do is click the Add New button and give it a name:
As I mentioned, you can also easily create as many subfolders as needed inside parent folders. For example, below you can see that I’ve nested multiple levels of subfolders inside the parent “Food Pictures” category:
You can also easily rename any folder at any point in the future.
Moving files works just like it does on your desktop. All you need to do is drag the file into the folder where you want to move it:
If you want to move multiple files at the same time, you can easily switch to list view and use the checkbox to select multiple files. Then, all you need to do is drag-and-drop those files and it will move all of the files that you checked:
Inserting Files Into Content
While so far I’ve been working from inside the WordPress Media Library, you can also access your organization while you’re working in the WordPress editor or other plugins that need to access the Media Library (such as page builder plugins).
However, you can’t see the folder view itself, which is a little odd. What you can do, though, is use the categories drop-down to only browse files from a specific folder. This category drop-down is automatically synced with your folders and even preserves the same folder structure:
If you’re uploading files through this interface, you can also choose which folder to send the newly-uploaded files to:
If you want the technical explanation for why this happens, it’s because Mediabay is technically using a custom taxonomy to organize your media files, as I mentioned earlier. Basically, the files are assigned a category and then you see that category as a folder when you’re in the WordPress Media Library.
And that’s pretty much it for features! Mediabay keeps things quite simple and streamlined.
Mediabay comes in both a free version at WordPress.org as well as a premium version with more features (which is what I was using in our Mediabay review).
The free version works with unlimited files, however, you can only have up to 10 folders. So for a small site, that might be all you need. But if you need lots of organization, you’ll probably need to go with the Pro version.
The good news is that the Pro version is still quite affordable. It’ll cost you just $19 and that comes with lifetime updates and six months of support. It’s sold at CodeCanyon, so you get standard Envato licensing.
Final Thoughts on Mediabay
Mediabay doesn’t aim to give you a ton of features. Instead, it just gives you a lightweight, easy way to add folders to your Media Library, which is all that most people want.
I think the interface looks great and it was speedy/glitch-free in my testing. One thing some users might find odd is that you can’t access your actual media folders while working in the WordPress editor or page builders. However, you can still access your organization via the category drop-down, so I don’t think this is a drawback as it’s still pretty easy to just use the drop-down.
One of the big advantages of Mediabay is that it has a full-featured free version that works for up to 10 folders, which should be fine for smaller sites. If you want to go beyond that, the premium version is still quite affordable at just $19 with lifetime updates.
If you want to get started, I recommend trying the free version first. Again, it’s full-featured – the only limit is the 10 folder max. Then, upgrade to Pro if you need more folders.