2nd June, 2017 | Tutorials |

WordPress – How to set Featured Images in Bulk Posts

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WordPress introduced the Post Thumbnails feature in version 2.9. In version 3.0, it was swiftly changed to Featured Image and has remained that way since then. A featured image is an image that is associated with a particular post. Imagine reading an online news magazine that has no image at all. You would be wondering, is it some holy scripture?

Images help convey the message being passed through in posts in a flash. I just see an image of Paul Pogba carrying a Europa league trophy and I immediately know Manchester United has just won that competition. I don’t have to read the article. It’s instant. I can read just for details like who scored or how did the game fare, but not for who won. I see you laughing in an image and I instantly know you were happy. I don’t have to ask if you were really happy. I may ask why you were happy. But whether your were happy or not isn’t a question any more.

Featured images help us get the gist of a post in an instant. However, if you have hundreds of posts that don’t have these images already, it’s very painful trying to set them one by one. It’s the situation I found myself in some years back. I had hundreds of technical posts, I wanted to show some thumbnails along with the post excerpts in either a grid or list. I thought about trying to edit them one by one and it wasn’t very wise for me. Given they were technical posts, I didn’t have to really set some particular image for only some particular post. It was okay to assign them relevant images according to category. Or even an easier but acceptable manner was just assign them random images.

This is what we will do in this lesson: How to set featured images randomly to bulk posts, or how to set featured images according to taxonomies. Let’s go.


In this lesson we aim to:

Advantages of WP Random Post Thumbnails Plugin

We are using ‘WP Random Post Thumbnails’ plugin because:


To install our WP Random Post Thumbnails plugin:

  1. Head over to Wordpress plugins’ portal. Search ‘Random featured Images’. HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/962395443.png" alt="Install Plugin" />
  2. Click ‘Install Now’ button to install our plugin.
  3. Once it’s installed, click ‘Activate’ button to activate the plugin.

Setting Featured Images

Once the plugin is installed and activated, let’s configure it:

HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/1491979228.png" alt="Settings" />

HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/2072937587.png" alt="Global Options" />

HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/1306961197.png" alt="Post Type Options" />

HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/724976042.png" alt="Category Images" />


Let us see some results:

Random Images in List Posts

Here images are set for posts but not limited to any category or tag.

HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/150215171.png" alt="Featured Images" />

Featured Images According to Categories

Here is the result for setting featured images according to categpries. Take note of the categories and the images we had assigned to them earlier.

HP_NO_IMG/data/uploads/users/a4c0adcd-8650-4b65-9b01-9dd628e70757/1110279954.png" alt="Category feature Image results" />

And that’s it.


Look, just as I had said earlier, I came to recognise the importance of this type of ability to set featured images randomly in one of my blogs some years back. It saved me time editing hundreds of posts. Those who had read my post ealier right here about mysql database optimization can see why editing so many posts isn’t a wise idea. Every revision you make in your posts get stored in the database as well. This bloats your database making it inefficient.

The best thing about this plugin is that you can also set images based on taxonomies like category and tags. The group of images you choose for a given taxonomy shall be set randomly of course. Images are an important visual aspect of a site design. Hence most posts should always have some images. This is not only for aesthetics but is also an important part of SEO(Search Engine Optimization). Images can improve search engine ranking of a given page.

WP Random Featured images makes assigning features images very easy. We therefore have no excuses of not setting featured images. Because not only do we humans like them but search engines do too.

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