How to Manage WordPress Media Access Control

Managing WordPress Media Access Control is one of the most important features of WordPress. When you have multiple users using your WordPress site and you don’t want users to modify or delete the media files, you can restrict the users to upload, modify, or delete their files. You can also hide the files uploaded by other users to protect the files in the WordPress Media Library.

Restricting the media access control can help you protect your files from being deleted by any other user on the website.

What is WordPress Media Library?

WordPress Media Library is a collection of files uploaded by the users. You can manage all your files in the Media Library. After uploading the files to your Media Library you can use these files across your website and share the link with the audience as well. To access the media library, go to your WordPress Admin Dashboard and click on Media in the left sidebar.

WordPress media library

How to Upload Files to WordPress Media Library

There are different methods to control media access in your WordPress Media Library. They help in managing your files. There are two ways to upload files in the media library of your WordPress.

  • To add a new media item to your library, click on the Add New button from the left sidebar. If you want to go with GridView you have to drag and drop the files to the media uploader area and your file will be uploaded.
  • When you are viewing the media library in ListView, you can click on the Add New button or simply drag your images from your computer into the area marked Drop files here.

Why Do We Need to Control the WordPress Media Library?

Protection of Files from Direct Access

The main function of media access control is to protect files from direct access. When someone has a direct link to a file/document, it can be copy-pasted to a browser.

Multiple Users on WordPress Website

You can have multiple users on your website (e.g. Authors, Editors, Content Writers, Admin). You would not like any author or any content writer to delete the files uploaded by admin or other users.

Restrict the Users on Website

WordPress Media Access Control helps to manage media files by restricting other users and making it your way. To protect the files, you will need to restrict user capabilities. You can do it easily with the help of a plugin.

How To Manage Access To WordPress Media Library

WordPress by default has the feature that allows its users to access all files in WordPress Media Library. It can cause problems for multi-user sites and the sites having more than one administrators, editors, and authors working together.

There is a strong need for something that can control user interference in the media library. WordPress Media Access Control is helpful when you want to manage the things on your library by your choice. It also helps when you don’t want to allow authors and editors to interfere in administrative roles.

By Installing and Activating Plugins

The Media Library in WordPress is the major source of getting audience engagement. If the media library is not protected properly, there is a chance of losing important files. To protect your files and manage them the way you want, installing plugins helps you a lot.

Restricting Media Library Manually

WordPress Media Library Access can be managed by installing plugins. This is the simplest and easiest way of protecting files. However, you can restrict your WordPress Media manually.

Why Restrict WordPress Media Library to User’s Uploads

The most important thing in getting audience engagement is the images that you upload in the Media Library. If an author deletes an image from someone else’s post by mistake then it can cause so many internal issues. It can decrease interpersonal engagement as well.

Protection against External Harms

The files you upload to the WordPress Media library are your valuable assets. The biggest challenge of Media Access Control is to protect your physical files from any external harm.

Save Media Files as per Your Command

User Access Control is the only way to keep your files secure and you can give access to whoever you want. There are different ways to restrict media library access to specific users.

Methods to Manage WordPress Media Access Control

Unfortunately, WordPress does not provide default functionality to handle this. But you can easily enable this feature by installing a plugin or adding code manually.

Method 1: Using a plugin to restrict media access

This is the easiest way for all users. All you need is to install the plugin and activate it.

Go to Plugins and add Restrict Media Library Access. Once you install the plugin, authors and contributors will only be able to see their uploads (files).

Restrict media library access

Only the Administrator will be able to see all uploaded files and manage them.

Advanced Access Manager (AAM)

This plugin is a powerful robust WordPress plugin in managing WordPress Media Access Control. It helps you in controlling each aspect of your website. It is used to give complete freedom of granular access (who can have access to each part of a system, and what they can do with that access) to any feature of your website.

Advanced access manager

Features of Advance Access Manager – WordPress User Access Control:

  • Most of the features of the Advance Access Manager are free.
  • AAM is a developer-oriented plugin.
  • It enables you to manage access to any of your website roles.
  • Includes dozens of hooks and configurations.

Note: Some of the AAM features are restricted and some are available with Premium adds-on. However, its functionality is flexible and you will know easily when you need to get a premium version.

Content Control – User Access Restriction Plugin

There is another plugin “Content Control User Access Restriction” that helps in restricting media files. It is a lightweight powerful plugin that enables you to control your websites’ media access (pages, posts) for logged in and logged out users.

The best thing about this plugin is that it helps to control only certain parts of your page/post by using shortcodes. These shortcodes can be “content control” or “logged in content control.

Content Control – User Access Restriction Plugin

Features of Content Control plugin – WordPress User Access Control:

  • It provides you signup/login features. You can assign different user roles to the users and grant them limited access.
  • If the logged-in user has not been granted permissions for Media Library, it auto-generates a popup message showing an error message.

Method 2: Manually Restricting the Media Access Control

The plugin method is the most commonly used and easiest method to manage WordPress media library access. Using extra plugins can increase your website’s loading time sometimes, so you might be interested in doing it programmatically.

Copy-paste the following code into your theme’s function file:

// Limit media library access Control  

add_filter( 'ajax_query_attachments_args', 'wpAttachmentstoUser' );
function wpAttachmentstoUser( $query ) {
    $user_id = get_current_user_id();
    if ( $user_id && !current_user_can('activate_plugins') && !current_user_can('edit_others_posts
') ) {
        $query['author'] = $user_id;
    return $query;

This piece of code simply checks if the current logged in user has the capabilities to activate the plugin and edit the user’s posts. If yes, then it will allow the user to edit all files. If a user does not have any capability, it will only allow the user to modify his uploaded files.


If you are running a blog, a property listing website, or a multi-vendor website, these above methods can help you a lot in restricting the media access control to each user.

The plugins mentioned in this article will not only save you time but also help you in managing different media files on your site. You can easily drag and drop files into different folders and manage them separately. Managing your important files is an essential part of any website. Nobody wants his files to be invaded by external competitors, so it is great to go with these methods to manage and restrict files from external harm.