How to Rename Images in WordPress (Simple Tutorial)

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Are you wondering how to rename images and media files in WordPress? Changing your image file names is great for SEO, so here's a tutorial on how you can do just that with one simple tool.
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Learning how to rename images in WordPress is one of the most valuable ways to boost your technical SEO strategy. After all, Google and other search engines don’t just assess the alt tags and descriptions of your images when assessing your site. They also dive deeper into the file name structure, and the keywords contained within.

In general, WordPress will allow users to change an image’s alt tag and caption. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in way of changing the image file name from the admin area. The good news is that WordPress plugins are available to simplify this process for you. 

By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll have a full step-by-step guide on how to rename images in WordPress to boost your SEO strategy.

Why rename images in WordPress?

Images form an important part of any website design. Whether you’re creating responsive images for your landing and product pages, or uploading content to a blog post, visuals make a huge impact. 

Not only do the right visuals break up text for rapid and simple consumption, but they’re also excellent for boosting your search engine visibility. Users can enhance their images in WordPress with alt tags, descriptions, and titles featuring keywords.

However, if you really want to get the most out of your images for SEO purposes, you need to take file naming into account. Search engines and users both need your help to identify the content of any visuals you upload to your site. One of the best ways to make your images more accessible and descriptive is to give them the right file name.

A name like “Miami-beach” is much more helpful than “DSC00234.jpg”. Unfortunately, many of us upload images to our sites directly from a phone or camera. You might even download images from other sites and forget to rename them before uploading them to your WordPress website. 

Once your images are located in your WordPress directory, there’s no default option to rename the file. This means you need to either upload the image again with a new name or try a workaround.

How to rename your images in WordPress

Fortunately for WordPress users, there are always plugins available for these kinds of jobs. With these plugins, you can unlock the ability to rename your files with minimal effort. Today, we’re going to be looking at the Media File Renamer plugin for exactly this purpose.

The Media File Renamer plugin.

This is a simple and convenient plugin that allows you to either manually or automatically change the names of your media files within WordPress. The user-friendly service also comes with lock and unlock capabilities to avoid further renaming from other users on your site.

The first thing you’ll need to do to use this feature is to download the Media File Renamer plugin. You can do this directly from the MeowApps website or get the free version from within the WordPress “Plugins” section.

Click on “Plugins” on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard and search for “Media File Renamer”.


Click on the “Install Now” button, then “Activate”. 

You can then find the File Renamer within your Installed plugins. As soon as the plugin is installed, it will add a new option to your “Media” section in the dashboard menu on the left. 

Hover over the “Media”  toolbar, and you’ll see the “Renamer” tab. 


Changing your image file name

Clicking on the “Renamer” option will bring you to the Media File Renamer dashboard. Here, you’ll see a Tutorial button if you need help learning how to use the service. You can also click on “Settings” to change the functionality of the app. 

For instance, you can select to have your files automatically renamed by the app as soon as you upload an image to WordPress. 

Media File Renamer settings page

Let’s start by manually changing a file name. 

You’ll need to have the images you want to name already uploaded into your WordPress media library to get started, of course. Click on the “Analyze library” button in Renamer and this will allow the plugin to search through your images and pull them into your Media File Renamer dashboard. 

Renaming an image file in WordPress

Once the image is in the dashboard, you’ll see where it’s used on your site, its current title, and a “filename” section, where you can lock or unlock your title. Click on the little pencil icon next to your file’s title to change the name. 

Setting a new image file name.

We’d recommend sticking to lowercase letters and keeping your name as short as possible to make it more searchable. It’s also worth adding some keywords if possible. For instance, if your keyword for the post where the image is used is “wedding budget”, you can make the file name similar as long as it’s relevant to the image itself.

Once you’re happy with the new name, click “OK”. 

You can also click the “Rename all” button to automatically rename all of the files in your media library at the same time. This uses the “automatic” function in the File Renamer which uses information from an EXIF file within the image to determine what the new title should be. 

The plugin automatically updates the file name everywhere, including if you’ve used the image in a post or page throughout your website. 

Media File Renamed side update settings

Using advanced renaming features

There are two versions of the Media File Renamer available today. The Basic option will allow you to rename your files automatically or manually. You can also update the references to renamed files in the content of all post types, excerpts, and custom fields.

In the “Basic” package, you’ll be able to automatically update names based on the Attached post ACF field, or the media title. If you upgrade to the Pro version, there are a few more options.

With Media File Renamer Pro can update file names automatically based on:

  • The Attached Post Title
  • Alternative Text
  • Or MD5 anonymization
Media File Renamer automatic settings

There are also a host of advanced extra features in the Pro package, such as the ability to unlock transliteration, enable numbered files, and synchronize ALT text and media titles across all sources using the same file. This speeds up the process of updating your content after you rename files.

You can also implement SQL logging with the premium version, which means every SQL request performed by a Renamer on your site will be logged, as well as rollback requests. 

Renaming your WordPress image files

Renaming WordPress image files can be an important stage in any SEO strategy, but it’s not something you can do automatically with WordPress on its own.

Fortunately, a powerful tool like Media File Renamer can save you a lot of time on optimization. 

Hopefully, this tutorial has given you everything you need to know to rename your files quickly on your WordPress site and boost your online rankings. 

Media File Renamer logo.

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Rebekah Carter

Rebekah is an experienced freelance copywriter and content producer with years of background in the Technology, Social Media, and Business Development fields. Her skills are deeply entwined with the power of the written word and what it can do to transform the perception and potential of a brand.

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