When You Cannot Insert Images into WordPress

Sometimes, just sometimes, the commands on the toolbars in the WordPress post- or page-write screens decide they’re not going to work.

As frustrating as that is, particularly when you’re trying to get a post published by a deadline, the fix is usually pretty simple.

But that didn’t stop me taking 5 hours today, doing all sorts of investigations, before I was reminded of the first step in WordPress trouble shooting …

Deactivate all your plugins and see if the problem still exists.

A friend I was helping had a problem: every time she tried to insert an image using the ‘Add Image’ button in the Visual View, she was presented with a question: ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’

When she clicked ‘Yes’ she got taken straight back to the post-write screen. No insert image dialogue, no other error messages, nothing.


I went everywhere in my search for the problem.

The theme she’s using is Thesis, and Thesis has some image insertion and customization capabilities. So I went through all those to eliminate any possible clashes.

I inserted a database management plugin and searched for problems there. I updated a whole bunch of plugins which had available upgrades, verified she was using the latest version of WordPress and even re-installed WordPress.


Inserting and positioning images manually, through the HTML view, worked fine. So I started to write out step by step instructions.

But that wasn’t going to fix the problem. It was just avoiding it.

So I turned to Google. And half way through the first thread I pulled up were the magic words: ‘Deactivate all your plugins and re-activate them one by one until you find the problem’

The 9th plugin I reactivated was the culprit. It was a contact form plugin so I installed a different one, activated it and everything immediately worked like a charm.

Boy did I kick myself 🙂

That should have been my first step and I’d wasted nearly 5 hours with all that other messing around.

Good thing I wasn’t busy today – not!

What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Fatih Sep 1, 2009 @ 22:10

    Thanks Martin for the clue. Just found out your article from Google for the same problem: cannot insert image in post-write toolbar.

    I try this tip.
    .-= Fatih´s last blog ..Malaysia Claims Jemur Island =-.

    • WealthyDragon Sep 1, 2009 @ 22:25

      You’re welcome, Fatih,

      Hope it solves your problem 🙂



  • Fatih Sep 3, 2009 @ 6:33

    Hi Martin,

    It turns out it hasn’t solved the problem. In my case, it happens after I move into another hosting services.

    I give up now. And ask webhosting provider to solve the problem.
    .-= Fatih´s last blog ..Malaysia Claims Jemur Island =-.

    • WealthyDragon Sep 3, 2009 @ 7:10

      Fatih, hi,

      Yes – that’s a good idea. Often you have to keep digging away at a problem – there are so many things that can cause them!



  • Dru Bloomfield Nov 7, 2009 @ 20:32

    You saved me hours! Your post was the first I found with a solution. I removed my most recent plugin, and I’m back in business. Thank you!

    • Martin Nov 8, 2009 @ 7:44

      You’re very welcome – happy to help!



  • Kwin Mar 17, 2010 @ 12:20

    Thanks Martin,
    I disabled the Contact Form plugin first and that fixed it!
    This article saved me much frustration and worry.
    So, do you have suggestion for a different contact form plugin?
    Thanks again Martin.

    • Martin Mar 17, 2010 @ 13:42

      You’re welcome – glad it worked 🙂

      You may want to try Contact Form 7 – see how that goes. I’ve also used cforms11 but that’s a bit fiddly, especially with upgrades.