Beginner's Guide: Everything you need to know about featured images in WordPress

In this multi-part article series, I want to cover everything you need to know about WordPress featured images. The series is intended as a beginner's guide to featured images, but should also have one or two tips for advanced WordPress users.

Why a series on featured images?

I get a lot of support inquiries that revolve around the topic of featured images. While WordPress beginners often ask themselves why there are no images on archive pages or in the slider as in the theme demo, even experienced WordPress users often have questions - including:

  • Why are featured images cut off or distorted?
  • How can I change the size of the featured images?
  • How can I adjust the image section of the featured image?
  • Why do my pictures no longer fit the new layout after changing the theme?
  • Why is my post picture not sent to Facebook when sharing social media?
  • How can I replace featured images with videos?

I would like to clarify all these questions as well as additional tips, tricks and plugin recommendations in this beginner's guide.

The basics: what is a featured image?

Featured images are basically a feature for WordPress theme authors and are therefore only available if the theme used also supports featured images. It feels like 99% of all themes. In addition to themes, plugins can also support featured images, for example in newly registered custom post types.

With the support of featured images in the theme, a single , representative image can be assigned to each contribution or static page. In English, the featured image is therefore often called a post thumbnail, but the official English term in WordPress is Featured Image . The feature was introduced with WordPress 2.9.

Important to know for the beginning: The display of the featured image is completely controlled by the theme. The theme decides in which size, orientation, format and position the featured image appears. It also specifies on which templates (blog index, archive pages, individual posts) the post image is actually displayed. Featured images can therefore be used very differently in different themes.

In contrast to normally added images in the editor, WordPress initially offers few options for adapting the featured image without the use of extra plugins. As a WordPress beginner without knowledge of how the featured images work, this fact can be a bit confusing at first.

Content of the article series via WordPress featured images

So far there is only a rough planning of the article series, which is why the articles may still change slightly. In addition to the basics, I would like to show how WordPress featured images can be adapted and which practical plugins exist for this. I would like to address the following topics in the article series over the next few weeks.

Table of Contents:

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If you have any questions or requests about featured images, please write a comment.