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How to Add Multiple Post Thumbnails (Featured Images) in WordPress

How to Add Multiple Post Thumbnails (Featured Images) in WordPress

A featured image included in the post leaves an initial impression on readers by delivering the main idea of this post. That also sticks to respective post title shown in the category, which should be like the following example. It has been recognized as an effective way to help visitors target information and organize all content on your site. By default, WordPress allows users to add one featured image to a post via admin metabox without striking a blowing.

post thumbnails example

Since most webmasters are familiar with the method to enable one featured image for a post, we are going to introduce the way to upload multiple post thumbnails on a post and that can help you save more trouble. The solution selected in this guide is a powerful WordPress plugin designed for multiple featured images upload, named as Multiple Post Thumbnails.

Make Multiple Post Thumbnails Available for Your Site

Multiple Post Thumbnails is a solid option for bulk upload of featured images on a post. The admin box leaves an area for setting secondary image and enables you to add more than one thumbnail in WordPress only with a few clicks. Set about installing and activating this plugin via WordPress dashboard. Log into your WP admin and seek Multiple Post Thumbnails plugin out. Install this plugin upon activation.

install multiple post thumbnails plugin

Add Multiple Thumbnails to Post

Given that there is no change happening to your WP admin, you are required to take a good use of coding stuff to make way for extra featured images. Take the following lines of code as an example. That enables an area called “Secondary Thumbnail” for the second thumbnail on your post.

if (class_exists('MultiPostThumbnails')) {
    new MultiPostThumbnails(
            'label' => 'Secondary Thumbnail',
            'id' => 'secondary-thumbnail',
            'post_type' => 'post'

Here, add the intact code to your theme’s functions.php file or customize it according to personal needs. Note that, the label is where to name the post thumbnail shown in the metabox so as to make it differ from the original featured image. post-type determines which post type is selected to register this post thumbnail. Besides, a unique and relevant id is also an essential part of the code.

You are able to modify metabox priority and context by using priority and context commends. Having all modification done, click to “Update File” and make those commands into effect. Since we have defined the post_type as post, go to Posts > All Posts and “Edit” any post to check if there is a mode called “Secondary Thumbnail” shown in the admin metabox.

secondary thumbnails

If so, click to set secondary thumbnail and select a featured image via Media Library as planned. However, the newly added thumbnail cannot be displayed on the web page until you make more changes to the theme’s file.

add second thumbnails

Display Thumbnails on Website

Go to Appearance > Editor and open the single.php file. Add the following code to this file and that is used to display multiple thumbnails on your website. You should make use of $post_id argument to specify where to showcase the secondary featured image. Insert this argument into the given code and make it followed by a post ID. And then, check if the thumbnail shows on that post as expected. Note that, inserting the following code into archive.php file is also accessible.

<?php if (class_exists('MultiPostThumbnails')) :
endif; ?>

Besides the required $post_type and $id, there are more optional arguments available for you to customize the newly added thumbnails, including $size, $attr and $link_to_original. In this case, you are allowed to customize the image width and height to make it perfect for web design.

multiple thumbnails plugins recommendationMultiple Post Thumbnails plugin is worthy of the most user-friendly option for multiple featured images upload. Even for beginners, the code is easy to understand and customize. However, if you wish to get more alternatives for that powerful, we recommend Multi Image Metabox plugin for you. This plugin enables an extra area for uploading the second thumbnail after you insert the given code into functions.php file.

For some readers looking for more flexibility on thumbnail customization, it is necessary to take a good use of a thumbnail editor, like Auto Post Thumbnail, AJAX Thumbnail Rebuild, Post Thumbnail Editor, and so on. Those recommendations are designed for various purposes, such as thumbnail regenerating, editing, publishing permissions, etc. Select some of the suitable ones and make you thumbnails as unique as possible.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.