In WordPress virtually every theme uses a popular function named “Post Thumbnails” or “Featured Image” which is a way to assign a specific image in your WordPress media library to a post or page. While some people call them post thumbnails others call them featured images but it’s referring to the same thing. If you are new to WordPress and are having trouble getting images displayed on your blog/site have a look at our guide below so you can learn how to properly define these photos.
Step 1: Edit the post or page you want to add an image to
The first step, of course, is to log into WordPress and click to edit the post or page you want to assign an image to.
Step 2: Click on “Set Featured Image”
Next you want to click on the “Set Featured Image” link on the left side of your post editor. If you do not see this option check under the “Screen Options” tab in the top right corner. If you still do not see the option then most likely the theme you are using doesn’t actually support the Featured Image/Post Thumbnail functionality.
Step 3: Choose an Image from Your Media Library
After clicking the Set featured image link a popup will appear which will display all the images currently uploaded to your website via WordPress. Here you can click on the image you want to use or you can simply drag and drop any image from your computer into the window and it will be uploaded to your site so you can then select it.
Step 4: Click on “Set featured image” blue button
Once you select your image simply click on the blue “Set featured image” button in the popup window and it will be assigned to the post or page. Just be sure to click update or save as draft to make sure the image is correctly assigned as the featured image otherwise if exit the site or refresh it may not have been assigned correctly.
Next Steps…Resizing Your Featured Images
Now that you know how to properly set your featured images the next step is to learn how image resizing is handled in WordPress so you can display them at the right dimensions on your live site. For this, it’s important to note that every theme is a bit different and while most themes use the native WordPress resizing function which only crops images based on theme defined sizes on upload (each time you upload an image it is resized to every custom defined image size in your theme)
Other themes, much like our premium “Total Theme“, have their own built-in resizing functions that are more optimized and allow greater user control. If you are a developer you may want to checkout the core add_image_size function to learn how to define custom sizes in your theme and if you are a user then you should check out the documentation for your theme or contact the theme developer and ask how you can manage your featured image sizes.
But generally speaking most themes will work with the WordPress image resizing function (not really because it’s better but because it’s easier) so be sure to see if your theme has any custom options to select your custom sizes either in their theme panel or in the Customizer under Appearance > Customize. If you locate settings and you can tweak them accordinly and if not, most likely the theme has preset sizes, but in either case if your theme is using the native WordPress sizing function simply go to Plugins > Add New and search for and install a popular and high rated “Regenerate Thumbnails” plugin than visit it’s settings and run the script so that images on your site can pass through the correct functions and get resized either according to your custom settings or the theme’s default settings.