Uploading Large Media Files in WordPress is a Deadend

I was browsing through the Trac garden and came across this ticket by Ryan Boren https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/28367 The ticket indicates that uploading video in WordPress leads to a dead end thanks to the lack of a clear and concise error message.

That’s an issue, but it’s an error message that’s all too common to so many people uploading large images, audio files, and video through the WordPress media library. It’s the primary reason I use the Add To Server plugin to import mp3 files into the media library after uploading them via SFTP.

This is one of those problems that if I were a developer of WordPress, I’d be furious because it’s a situation I can’t control. I’d be able to give a better error message, but I wouldn’t be able to convince webhosts across the internet to increase the upload_max_filesize and post_max_size to avoid seeing it.

With the default being 2Mb in most places which is tiny, how do you folks suppose we help WordPress deal with this issue so less user’s see that error when uploading things to the media library? I’ve seen a suggestion of using a script to do split file uploading but how would that work? Would WordPress and the webserver need to support it in order to function?

Oh, WordPress uses Plupload to power most of the file upload interfaces in WordPress.

This does become an issue on occasion, but it’s not something that we’ve had a ton of problems with at AudioTheme.

It really just requires friendlier error messages and good documentation. WordPress knows what the settings are and when a file is too big, so like the ticket recommends, it’s just a matter of giving the user more information so they know how to move forward. There are a few support threads and articles when you do a search on the issue, but it’d be nice to have something more authoritative.

The most frustrating thing is that hosts aren’t always familiar with WordPress despite automatically installing it for their clients, so they tend to blame a plugin or theme instead.

Multisite also has a setting that allows for limiting the upload size in subsites, which adds another layer of complexity, but again, that’s not really something that WordPress couldn’t make a little more clear depending on the user’s capabilities.

Plupload has a bit more information on when chunking should be attempted, but it’s not without its own pitfalls. Getting hosts to bump the limits is the ideal route in most circumstances.

I’m sure it comes with the territory of having dealt with this on multiple occasions, but it’s easy to test. Big image gives error? Try a 200kb image upload. Works? Need to increase max_upload_size. 200kb doesn’t work? Probably a permissions issue.

I do certainly agree that it could use an actual error message though. However, it’s generally an easy fix if it’s max_upload_size, as nearly any hosts on Apache allow .htaccess rules, and most will allow you to set the php_value max_upload_size 25mb or whatever you need.

Three thoughts:

  1. We should all use our voices to advocate a higher PHP upload limit to hosting providers, inform them that it’s 2014 and that image file sizes only get larger with technological improvements.

  2. A link to the Codex page as Ryan suggests would be a perfect quick solution.

  3. Perhaps more app-specific, but the iOS app could probably make use of the share sheet in iOS 8 to suggest alternatives if the file is too big. For those who haven’t experience the share sheet, it’s essentially a pop-up filled with all of the installed apps which have some sort of sharing capacity, like Droplr or CloudApp.