Protect Thousands of WordPress Media Files At Once

As the world becomes increasingly digital, running a website and showcasing your products online is crucial to your business. More and more companies have chosen to build a whole product catalog which aims to generate more revenue. Oftentimes, there will be hundreds or thousands media files of all types that need to be protected from the risks of digital piracy.

Run an Image-based Website

You could be a photographer who wants to build your online photography portfolio to attract more potential customers or to get a valuable photography gig. Your portfolio is a collection of your best work. It contains a lot of pictures that were taken on different occasions, from private ones like pre-wedding shoots or birthdays to public ones like social gatherings.

You could also run your business online where you need to showcase the product catalog images so that your customers can visit the website and make the purchases.

There will be a lot more occasions where you have to run a heavily image-based website. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an artist, you certainly do not want your images to be copied, shared, and re-uploaded by unwanted users, your competitors for example. It’s not easy to control your precious work online, while it’s exposed to the public.

If you find yourself worrying about protecting your image galleries from being accessed without your permission, fortunately, our Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold plugin is right here to help.

Our Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold allows you to protect your premium image galleries, enabling only logged-in users to access them. What’s more, unauthorized users will be blocked from direct access and files download as well.


By default, all protected images need to go through our scripts for permission checking. This process will filter all users and decide if a user is allowed to view the images or not. That’s why they will load slightly slower than unprotected ones, even under admin access.


There are a few solutions to this challenge:

  • If your image files are for sale, then you should combine all the original heavy images (5 MB and above) into a ZIP file, then protect the zip files instead of individual ones. This will also help bring a better user experience.
  • If you just want to demo or show users some sample images on your site, you should use a smaller-size and watermarked version of your original images instead.
  • Additionally, our PDA Gold offers a custom caching solution that would speed up the protected image loading significantly. Please contact us for more information on this method.
  • Alternatively, you can use lazy loading for all images so it doesn’t feel like “abrupt” loading and helps increase user experience as well.

Note: To bring better loading speed and experience in the backend, for admins, in particular, you should use List view instead of the default WordPress Grid view.

“What if I have more than 5,000 files?”

Our PDA Gold and its extensions can handle the job well even if you have thousands of files included but not limited to images.

Files are already embedded into content

As you already know, once your files are protected, their original URLs will be changed to protected URLs.

So if you have thousands of files already embedded into content, do you have to change each of their URLs? The answer is no. There’re different ways to protect all your files according to certain situations.

Search & Replace Feature

The Search & Replace feature of our PDA Gold will come in handy if you have only a few pages or posts to protect. It doesn’t matter if there are thousands of files or less embedded in your content as long as you can type in all of the files’ parent pages into the box.

It helps replace all existing unprotected file URLs with protected ones. You’d only need to update all the parent pages or posts accordingly for the file protection to work properly.

Protect all WordPress media files at once: search & replace

As this method will change your file URLs, you might want to consider using Folder Protection method instead, in order to keep the URLs unchanged.

Protect (Almost) All Media Files at Once

Imagine if you have more than 1,000 pages or posts containing thousands of unprotected links that need to be protected. Then the Search & Replace feature will be out of the question.

Instead, you will need to use the Folder Protection feature provided by our Access Restriction (AR) extension in order to quickly protect a large number, or almost all existing media files.

Folder Protection Feature

Once the Folder Protection is on, you can select to protect either a few existing folders or all files uploaded in the 2020 folder as below. All new files uploaded to these chosen folders will be automatically protected as well.

Protect all WordPress media files at once: Folder protection

This method proves useful as it will keep your file URLs unchanged.

Unlike the Search & Replace method, you cannot manage file protection right under the Media library with this one. Instead, you’d need to use a file manager plugin or cPanel of your hosting server.

Folder Protection vs Individual File Protection

Here’s a quick overview of the advanced Folder Protection provided by the AR extension vs the default Individual File Protection come with PDA Gold.

Folder Protection Individual File Protection
  • Protect all files under a folder at once
  • Protect big files uploads via sFTP
  • File URLs remain unchanged – convenient to protect existing files
  • Protect selective files individually
  • Manage file protection right under Media Library
  • Easy to unprotect or set different FAP for each file
  • Move files out of the folder to unprotect or set different FAP

In short, each method surely has its pros and cons. Depending on the circumstances you’re in, you can choose the one that suits you better than the other.

Get our Prevent Direct Access Gold plugin and its extensions now to protect all your media files at once!

Lasted updated on November 5, 2020