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How to Add External URLs to Featured Images on WordPress

Featured images in WordPress tell what’s the concept or theme of your Posts, and Pages to your readers. You can add featured images whenever you create a new post or change them if you edit the existing post on your WordPress site. But it only allows adding images available in the media library. Luckily, you can find another straightforward way to add external URL images as your WordPress Posts, and Pages featured images. To know more about this, read the article.

How to Add External URL Links to WordPress Posts & Pages

As you know this feature is not inbuilt into WordPress, so you need a plugin to apply External URL links to your Featured image. FIFU or Featured Image from URL is a plugin for WordPress that makes this possible.

As the title itself explains to us clearly, the images are loaded from external URLs which are from other websites and not needed to store in your media library. This could save most of your time, storage, and money.

Install Featured Image from URL plugin(FIFU)

The Featured Image from the URL plugin is accessible for free in WordPress. The plugin is easy to use and set up from your admin dashboard. Visit your dashboard >> Plugins >> Add new. Search for ‘fifu’ or ‘featured image from URL’ in the search box. The plugin will be listed. You can see that in the below screenshot.

install featured image from url plugin 1

Install and activate the FIFU plugin.

With this plugin, it’s easy to add external images as the featured images for Posts, Pages, and Custom Posts. The plugin offers features like image search from Unsplash, default, and external featured images, the option to hide featured images, image title automatically setting, and more.

How to Get and Add Featured Image URLs for WordPress Posts/Pages

Getting featured image URLs is easy whether it’s your website or other websites. Before you use any images from other websites just make sure you have permission to use them on your website. Go to the website where you found an image. Right-click the desired image and select ‘copy image address’ to copy the image URL. The URL is saved on your clipboard so you can paste it anywhere you want. Only one image can be copied at a time. So if you want to add external images as featured images for all your posts then you need to copy and paste the URL one by one in all posts’ featured images.

To add featured images for WordPress Posts, Pages, or Custom Posts, visit any one post type and go to its create or edit view of the existing records. There select the setting icon and post section.

post edit view settings tab 2

By default, if you click on settings it will land on the post section. Scroll down and find the ‘Featured Image’ as shown in the below picture.

add url in featured image wordpress posts 1

Paste the copied image URL inside the text box of the featured image. Inside the text box, you can either provide the image URL or its keyword. Click preview once you add the link to know how it looks. Then a new text box will appear like the below image.

add alt text for featured image in post 1

The text box is to add an alt text for the image. Add it and finally click save/update to save the changes. Also, you can change the featured image by removing the pasted URL and including a new URL. Then click update. Or click the remove external featured image link to get back to the initial stage and undergo the steps explained.

How to hide Featured Images in WordPress Posts, and Pages

For any reason, you may want to hide the featured image from your WordPress Posts/Pages and also custom posts. You can now do that by configuring a single option in Featured Image from URL plugin settings. Go to the FIFU menu and settings.

settings page fifu plugin 1

The Featured Image from URL plugin has various settings each with specific functionality. For now, visit the featured image tab and in the Hide Featured Media section, enable the toggle button for page, post, and custom post to apply the image hiding feature.

hide featured image in post page 1

This will remove the featured image section from the Post, Page, and Custom Post based on your configuration.

Importing bulk External URLs to featured Images in WordPress Posts, Pages & Custom Posts

Adding one by one is not always a great way to do it when you have hundreds and thousands of records. To save your day, the importer plugin comes to the rescue. WP Ultimate CSV Importer Free supports importing the external URLs to featured images of WordPress Posts, Pages, Custom Posts, and WooCommerce Products along with their alt texts. Let’s see the steps to import the external URLs to featured images for WordPress posts. The same method should be followed for the rest.

1. Prepare a CSV file like the below screenshot that includes the FIFU featured image URL and image alt text fields.

post csv with fifu image fields 10

2. Visit the CSV Importer Free plugin page in the dashboard.

3. Browse and open the CSV file. You can also use other methods to upload your file.

4. Choose the post type next.

5. In mapping fields, ensure to map all the fields mentioned in your file along with the FIFU fields.

map fifu post fields 9

6. Move to the next step and skip the media handling section with the continue button.

7. Click Start Import to process and run the import. After the import finishes, verify the import log results in the admin and web view.

How to extract FIFU featured images and alt text data from WordPress

WP Ultimate CSV Importer free provides an export add-on to extract your FIFU plugin field data from WordPress for the post types: page, post, custom post, and WooCommerce product.

Move to the Export tab. The export page tells you to install the Ultimate Exporter plugin by providing a button link to install. The export plugin is also free to use.

install export plugin 6

It takes you to the manage add-ons page where you can see all the supported add-ons listed.

manage addons page csv importer free 8

You can install and activate all the addons or specific add-ons you need.

When you activate the exporter addon, the export page will be seen like this.

csv importer free export page 4

Select the post type here. Note that you can only export FIFU featured image fields assigned to post types like Posts, Pages, Custom Posts, and WooCommerce Products.

Select one module or post type and next include an export file name then choose a file type.

configure export file type filename 3

Next, configure filters like export for specific periods and export records of specific authors. If you don’t require and want to export all records of the chosen post type, just click Export without configuring the filters.

At last, download the export file and verify the exported fields data to confirm the successful export.

Wrapping Up

Featured images are important to get the attention of the readers. Using external images as the featured image is helpful to save your web server’s space. Importing and exporting external URL images to featured images of WordPress Posts, Pages, and Custom Posts are quicker and easier to do with the WP Ultimate CSV Importer plugin. Tell us what you think about this feature by writing to us at [email protected]. For more tutorials on the Ultimate CSV Importer plugin, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.