Since the most recent version update, WordPress 5.3 now won’t let you upload large images and automatically scales them down.
” WordPress 5.3 introduces a new way to manage these images by detecting big images and generating a “web-optimized maximum size” of them. If an image height or width is above this threshold, it will be scaled down, with the threshold being used as max-height and max-width value. The scaled-down image will be used as the largest available size. “via WordPress. org
This means every time you try to upload an image that’s bigger than WP thinks is necessary, it scales it down and only shows a smaller version.
This can be problematic if you’re trying to embed infographics or large-scale graphics on your website.
To help you get around this problem, here are a couple of quick solutions.
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Solution 1. Use the Image Resize Plugin
You can use Resize Image After Upload WP plugin to automatically resizes images (JPEG, GIF, and PNG) when they are uploaded. It’s a good solution if you don’t want to mess with the code.
However, too many plugins slow down your website so you might want to think twice before installing a bunch of WP plugins if you want to keep your website fast. So there is another easy solution
Solution 2. Turn off the Scaling Feature
This solution worked perfectly on my website so I want to share it here. Simply add this line of code to your function.php file inside the child theme and it will stop WP from scaling the images when you upload them to your website.
// keep WP from resizing images
add_filter( 'big_image_size_threshold', '__return_false' );
I’m sure the developers at WP had good intentions and this might be a good feature for novice users who try to upload huge images, but for more advanced users it only causes more frustrations than helps.
Taking away control from users without giving you an easy way to opt-out is never a good solution.
Since there are many free image optimization tools you can use to optimize and resize your images before uploading, turning this feature makes much more sense.
If you’re struggling with image sizes and can’t figure out why your images show up much smaller when you upload them to your WP media library, this might be the solution you need.