This plugin was originally built to allow users of the Datafeedr plugin to build huge affiliate stores without downloading all of the affiliate images to their website.
It prevents Datafeedr from downloading the images and it overrides the featured image and thumbnail functions to use the external images.
It’s also compatible with any import plugins, including WP All Import, so you can massively speed up your imports by importing images to a custom meta field (called external_image_url) instead of as featured images. This keeps images off your server and on the CDN source.
You additionally get a new field in the post/product editor below the featured image area where you can view and edit the external image URL, so it can be used without import plugins if you wish.
The following features are included in the External Images plugin:
- Provides new ‘external image url’ field on WooCommerce product pages which will overrule ‘featured image’
- Uses external image URL (e.g. from third-party CDN or affiliate CDN) on archive pages (thumbnails) and product pages
- Prevents Datafeedr from downloading images when users browse your site – speeds up Datafeedr sites as a result
- Works with product variations as well as simple and external products
- Avoids the need for your server to download images and resize them. Saves disk and CPU and massively speeds up imports involving images.
- Automatically proxies HTTP images (insecure images) through your server if you are running HTTPS.
- Integrates perfectly with Datafeedr Product Comparison plugin allowing those images to be external images and proxying them through your SSL/HTTPS if required.
Upload the plugin zip file using wp-admin->Plugins->Add New->Upload. Activate the plugin.
Now either visit your product pages and enter the external URLs manually, or using your preferred import tool you can import the image URLs to the ‘external_image_url’ field.
If you are using Datafeedr, External Images will automatically handle importing images to the correct field and avoid downloading images.
Install and activate and now datafeedr will not download images. If you’ve already downloaded a whole bunch of images, you will have to delete these somehow. The easiest way is to temporarily move the product sets to the trash, wait for the products to be deleted and then restore the product sets from the trash and Datafeedr will re-import the product details, this time without the images.
Visit any archive/shop/product/post page where there is no featured image, and if you look at the image source you will find it’s coming from the affiliate CDN, and not from your server.
WP All Import Users
Install and activate and then in your import, import image url(s) to a custom field called external_image_url. Select the option “Don’t import images” and then run your import. Your import will run far more quickly since WordPress is not downloading and creating multiple sizes of your images. Instead, it’s simply populating the external_image_url field.
Visit any archive/shop/product/post page, inspect the images and you’ll find they’re coming from your external source.
Visit the post/product editor page and below the featured image you will find an external image URL field you can edit. If you place an image URL in here, WordPress will display that image for your thumbnails and featured image instead of storing images locally.
Support & Known Issues
You can view requested and upcoming developments for the External Images plugin here:
Some key known issues:
- Because the images are hosted externally, resizing & cropping of images is restricted to what you can do with CSS (upgrade coming soon to help with this)
- Does not yet support image galleries (upgrade coming soon)
- Only pulls images from 2 fields (upgrade coming soon to figure out which of multiple fields contains the largest image and will use that image URL)
- OG tags not yet included (upgrade coming soon)