Almost every website experience out there begins with WordPress. The most popular content management system hosts over 35% of all websites on the Internet, with a staggering market share of more than 60%.
The platform is very simple and user-friendly, which helps even first-time administrators to master the majority of functions quickly. But there is one thing that stands out from the crowd of useful features and it comes in the form of WordPress plugins.
WordPress currently offers you more than 55 thousand tools. A well-chosen plugin can help you to drastically improve website performance and take care of many functions such as search engine optimization, security, contact forms, image optimization, and many more.
Today we want to talk about file management, so keep reading to see the basics of the process as well as the top 10 WordPress file management plugins that you should test in 2020. Let’s take a look!
Where Are Your WordPress Files Located?
In order to access WordPress files, you need to use a web application called File Manager. Another (more difficult) solution is to do it via FTP client.
Using one of these two channels, you can see an entire list of core WordPress files. Core files are not to be altered because they represent the essence of your website. The list of core files is long, but some of the main items include:
- [dir] wp-admin
- [dir] wp-includes
Besides that, you can also access three types of WordPress configuration files. They control permalinks, redirects, database connections, initializations, requests, and many more.
There is also a wp-content folder that contains all the website themes, plugins, and uploads. You can edit these files manually, but do it with extreme caution because even the smallest mistake can completely ruin a theme/plugin or even make the site dysfunctional.
With everything we’ve stated so far, it is clear that the majority of webmasters are not so passionate about messing with WordPress files manually. This is exactly why file management plugins play such an important role in website administration.
The Best File Management Plugins for WordPress Websites
Now that you understand the essentials of WordPress file management and know that you don’t have to take care of it manually, it is time to focus on top-performing plugins. Here are our top 10 picks:
1. File Manager
The first entry on our list is File Manager, a popular WordPress plugin with more than 500 thousand active installations. Webmasters love File Manager because of its simplicity and unprecedented flexibility.
With this plugin at your disposal, you are free to create, download, edit, delete, copy, paste, and upload all sorts of files and folders. The best thing about it is that File Manager doesn’t force you to use FTP, but rather lets you work from the WordPress backend directly.
We also appreciate the ability of File Manager to create different filters. The basic version of the plugin is free, but you can also go for the paid package. In case you opt for the full package, you can get bonus features such as:
- A built-in integrated development environment (IDE)
- Automated code reviews before saving files to make sure that your site will not go down when updating code
- Multiple file manager themes
- Simple navigation through icon and list views
- Easily preview common file types including media (video, audio, mp3, thumbnails, etc.)
- Automatic file resizes after uploading
- File and folders browsing history
- Toolbar for rich context menu and file manager functions
2. Frontend File Manager Plugin
Frontend File Manager Plugin is a convenient WordPress tool with a broad scope of user-friendly features. It comes in a well-designed user interface that makes it easy to find the targeted option and rearrange your files in no time.
Experience taught us that Frontend File Manager Plugin worked very efficiently when creating a special segment in which users could upload external documents in their own private archive. It’s a very useful feature, but we couldn’t really get any help from developers and had to discover everything single-handedly because customer service is non-existent.
Functions such as secure uploader script, file detail popup, labels, image thumbs, and similar are part of the free version. But if you are willing to pay for the pro version, you can enjoy the following benefits as well:
- Set limits to file uploads and the number of files per user
- Create directories
- Email notifications
- Unlimited download areas
3. WP Media Manager Lite
WP Media Manager Lite is a practical tool for webmasters who want to control files quickly and effortlessly. Thanks to its “drag and drop” function, the plugin enables users to manage media files and folders without a hassle.
It comes with comprehensive filtering solutions, while you can also choose between many different themes from the inbuilt gallery. WP Media Manager Lite allows you to customize files based on size/weight, display media number, remove all folders if needed, and many more.
The plugin is free of charge if you don’t need more than a handful of elementary features, but you can opt for a premium plan. Such a solution guarantees many functions that will augment the overall file management experience:
- Import all server folders and media
- Lightbox extension
- Compatibility with numerous extensions
- Optional language translations
- Responsive, touch, and retina ready
- Full documentation and user support
Related: How To Fix WordPress Plugin Errors?
4. File Bird
File Bird is a WordPress plugin developed with one particular purpose and that is to organize thousands of WordPress media files into folders and categories at ease. This plugin is also based on “drag and drop” functions that help you to get the job done quickly and save precious time.
Besides that, File Bird functions flawlessly regardless of the file type, including image and video formats. The tool is compatible with many libraries outside of WordPress, including commonly-used builders like Visual Composer, Elementor, and Beaver Builder.
File Bird is free to use with up to 10 folders or categories, but you will have to pay for additional support. In this case, you will get a variety of additional functions such as:
- Supporting RTL languages like Hebrew, Arabic, etc.
- Multiple third-party integrations, including Divi Builder, Polylang, and many more
- Both the classic and new WordPress editor (Gutenberg)
- A super-efficient user support team
5. Advanced File Manager
Just like the name suggests, Advanced File Manager is a highly comprehensive WordPress plugin with all of the file management functions a webmaster may need. It is impossible for us to mention each feature in this post, but we can point out the essentials.
First of all, you get the basics such as file uploads, downloads, edits, removals, and similar. The plugin enables simple root directory path editing, while you can also enjoy an easy file access that allows you to control documents from inside and outside of WordPress root directory.
Advanced File Manager comes with a clear PDF preview feature, while it enables users to hide a file’s real path. Most of the functions can be used freely, but the pro version of the plugin is paid and comes with additional benefits:
- Setting a theme for file manager in shortcode
- Grid and list view for file manager
- Allow non-logged users or visitors to access and manage files on your website’s front end
- Multi-device responsiveness
6. Easy Updates Manager
Updates are quite a big deal in website administration, which is why every webmaster could use a WordPress plugin called Easy Updates Manager. What do you get from it?
The list of features is long, but the most important solutions include automatic updates, various configuration settings, and many more. Our favorite tricks include highly customizable file settings, the option of hiding different elements if needed, disabling core, plugin, theme, and translation updates, etc.
Of course, the paid version of the same tool gives you additional functions like:
- Updates in safe mode that ensure updates are compatible with your WordPress version and your server’s PHP version
- External logging to get alerts when new updates have been logged
- Anonymization that allows you to control what is sent to the WordPress API
- Delayed updates in the case of hotfixes and frequent releases
- Auto backups
7. Enable Media Replace
If you are looking for a lightweight plugin that makes media management super-easy, then you might as well try a tool called Enable Media Replace. What can it do for you? The answer is easy – this plugin helps you to replace an image or file in the Media Library with a completely new file.
All you have to do is to select the old file and upload a new one. As you can see, Enable Media Replace eliminates unnecessary functions such as file renaming, deleting, and re-uploading. You get a shortcode in it that selects the file modification date and displays it in a post or a page.
If you want more control over the format used to display the time, you can use the format option. The best thing about Enable Media Replace is that you can use the plugin free of charge.
8. File Away
With over 10 thousand active installations, File Away represents yet another very popular WordPress file management plugin. The platform enables you to handle WordPress files any way you want it, including the standard features like uploads, deletion, removals, and so on. You can also create stylized lists and tables while accumulating download records.
The only thing we don’t really like about File Away is customer service since users usually have to wait for a while before learning solutions to the plugin issues. However, keep in mind that it is essentially a one-man team, so it’s hard to expect him to be available around the clock. The plugin is rarely dysfunctional, so be patient if a problem really occurs.
9. WordPress Download Manager
WordPress Download Manager is a document management plugin that you can use to control and administer file downloads from the WordPress website. The platform covers it all and satisfies the expectations of even the most demanding webmasters.
With it, you can craft tailored post types and taxonomies, override upload limits, enable file protection, and do take many other actions simultaneously. The pro version of WordPress Download Manager is paid and it offers you a broad scope of valuable functions like:
- Sales tax and coupon management
- Product and price variations
- Promotional pricing for digital products
- PayPal integration
- Sell digital products securely
- Auto-renew order option
- Sales notifications via email
- Easy implementation of license API for license system integration
10. Simple Download Monitor
The last entry on our list is Simple Download Monitor, a WordPress plugin that helps administrators to keep track of file downloads taking place on their sites. This is a very useful solution if you are eager to find out the number of downloads and identify users who show interest in the website content.
There is also a file protection feature that you can use to prevent downloads if needed. Simple Download Monitor offers you a wide range of additional functions, but it’s an open-source platform and hence comes free of charge. Check below some other functions which might be useful:
- Specify version number info for the download item to display it to your visitors
- Restrict downloads to logged-in users only
- Ignore download count from bots
- Add Google reCAPTCHA to your download buttons
- Add Terms and Conditions to your download buttons
The Bottom Line
WordPress is by far the most commonly used content management system in the world because it gives administrators so many ways to improve websites and boost performance in the long run. In this article, we analyzed the top 10 WordPress file management plugins that you should check out in 2020.
Have you already tested any of these tools? Which one did you like the most? Let us know in comments – we would love to see what you think about WordPress file management plugins!