Total Synchronization

So now, what about all those hundreds of thousands photos in your WordPress that are not linked with your Lightroom? Well, you can link them using the “Total Synchronization” features! Let’s do it: this module is accessible under the menu “Library > Plug-in Extras”.


There are two ways of linking your WP photos and with your LR’s ones. I suggest you to start with the automatic matching first, then finish-up with the manual matching if you have any not-linked photos left.

Automatic Matching

The automatic matching attempts to match the photos between WordPress and Lightroom. This matching is done by comparing the metadata, and, if not available, by using perceptual hashing. This hashing is slower and generally less accurate but provide perfect results if the photos are actually similar in your WP and LR.

The module is accessible through Library Menu > Plug-In Extra > Total Synchronization.

Starting the process is very easy. Make sure the WordPress website is selected (on the left) and that enough photos are selected on the Lightroom (on the right, you can work with a selection of photos or all of them). Click Start! Then you might want to go to bed. Depending on the number of photos and the need of hashes, that will take some time.

Many requests will be performed to your WordPress server. This is usually fine, however, a few hosting services might terminate those requests abruptly. If you get the “Got an error from WP” message, please check the FAQ.

As new matches are found, they are added to the screen. When the whole process ends, you will be able to use the actions at the bottom.

  • CLEAR. Remove this match from the screen. It does nothing to your LR or WP. Basically that is just to clear your dashboard from the matches you are done with.
  • LINK. The actual linking is done through this button. The LR image will be moved to the Publish Service (as a “New Photo to Publish”) and the image on WordPress will be marked as linked.
  • LINK + NEXT. Same as above. Then it moves to the next match! You might especially want to use that button since it is convenient. If you make a mistake, the “Unlink” button will rescue you.
  • UNLINK. Did you link two images by mistake? No worries. You can use this button to un-link them.
  • IGNORE. You might have external images, logos, icons and so on in your WordPress. By ignoring them, you will never see them again in WP/LR Sync.

Once you are done with all your matches, you can Publish the changes. Fresh images will be applied to your WP Media Library.

Manual Matching

The same photo might sometimes looks very different between your WP and LR because of post-processing, cropping, rotation, etc. In that case, the automatic matching might not work and you will need to do it manually. That’s where the “Advanced” tab comes in.


Start with Get / Refresh Statistics. The number of Hashes and IDs will be updated. We don’t care about the hashes here but we do need all your photos to have IDs.

The ID is an unique reference to a photo in your LR. Since those IDs are not accessible normally, you need to click on Create LR IDs  (very fast) then it will be available in the Metadata, like below, in LR ID. I suggest you to switch to the “WP/LR Sync” preset that shows all the information you might need.


The manual matching has to be done on Lightroom and WordPress. When the photo is not yet linked to LR, its status (in the Media Library) is marked as “Unknown” and a text box can be found below. You can copy/paste the LR ID you got from LR in here and click Link.


Then, immediately, you need to drag & drop the photo in the Publish Service’s folder Photos.


Those two photos are now linked! During the next “Publish”, the photo will be replaced with a fresh one using your export settings.

You can also check your Settings -> Media to enable the WP/LR Tools then you will get a WP/LR Dashboard in the Media menu. With this dashboard, you can directly see and work with the Unlinked Photos and Duplicates.


I would love to make this tutorial better so if you have any remarks, corrections or questions please contact me. Thank you 🙂

  • Andreas Sebald

    Hi Jordy, yesterday I installed the WP/LR-Plugin trial and started the Total Synchronization. This morning I did part of the the matching and closed the dialog box afterwards. Unfortunately, I didn’t do the manual matching in the advanced part.
    When opening the Total Synchronization dialog box in LR again, everything is greyed out and I have no idea how to create the LR IDs and complete the work.
    Is this because of the trial version or did I do something wrong?


    • Hello Andreas 🙂 I am not sure; did you try to login/logout in the settings of the plugin? That will tell you if something is wrong with the trial. Also, maybe an error happened, but in both case, normally, you would get a message.

      • Andreas Sebald

        Hi Jordy, the logout/login actually helped. Thanks a lot!
        Is there any chance to have an overview of all the images that I marked with “ignore” after completing the total synchronization? That could be helpful to find out if I did something wrong or to be able to change this status afterwards.
        Apart from that, great and very helpful plugin! Within the next days, I will come back for a license 🙂

        • You mean filter by “ignored”? No, I mean, you can see that information in the Media Library but you can’t get the list, though I could add that in the Media Tools (in WP/LR Sync menu).

          • Andreas Sebald

            That would be great! Particularly if paired with a function to unignore”. This would provide the chance to undo markings that were unintended.Just in case that I want to link an image that I marked as “ignore” earlier. What do you think?

          • I added that feature in the latest version of the plugin, did you see? 🙂

          • Andreas Sebald

            Salut Jordy, I did see it, yes! And I love it, as it provides me an good overview and also the possibility to link later on. Thanks for your great work! As you might have seen, I do have a license now 😉

          • Thank you so much! 🙂 And also don’t hesitate to write a little review here: It always helps a lot 🙂 Cheers! Enjoy the plugin.

  • Andrew Rowell

    Just tried to buy WPLRSync an I get a Bad request error on the store page

  • Barrie Spence

    First impressions on the total sync … updating the running count of EXIF LR xxxxx / 131787 is probably just as much work as the necessary internals … and at this point I’m matching 1/75 images on my first site (hoping this isn’t repeated for each match). If displaying that count costs .5ms per update (wild guess), that’s still an extra minute elapsed on my catalog.

    I’m very please to see that the hashing restarts … though I think I need to find a way to work on a subset of images for the matches rather than the whole catalog (130k hashes are going to take too long).

    I’m so looking forward to being able to use this!

    • You can work on a subset on images on the Lightroom side, by making a selection of photos before starting Total Sync 🙂 On the WordPress side, it would be too tricky to do.

      • Barrie Spence

        Yeah, unfortunately, I suspect that in the end I’ll need to let it hash the whole catalogue (e.g. almost everything I publish has been a PS edit so that’s an obvious selection to start … but it’s not 100% so it’s probably back to a whole catalogue match to get all of them).

  • Jörg Wartini

    Hi Jordy, I just installed WP/LR Sync and basic sync is working fine! Really looks good, But when I try Total Synchronization according to the tutorial, I don’t find ” Library Menu > Plug-In Extra > Total Synchronization” for Automatic Sync of the existing pictures in the WP Library. There is no Plu-In Extra. Any idea what is wrong with my installation or my doing? Thanks a lot, Jörg

  • Hello! Are you using Windows? Actually I am not sure but LR choose the menu where this is added. On OSX, it’s definitely there, like on this screenshot.
    You can also have a look in the File > Plug-In Extra. It’s definitely somewhere 🙂

    • Jörg Wartini

      Hi Jordy, thanks a lot for your hint! I don’t know where I had my eyes, but I was looking in the WP Media-Library not in the LR Library! Maybe because I’m using the german frontend of LR, where library is “Bibliothek”. Everthing is now working excellent, I like the WP/LR Sync very much! Thanks again and sorry for my misunderstanding and my stupid question!
      Cheers, Jörg

  • Barrie Spence

    Scaleability is definitely an issue. 275 images to match from WP, 134k images in the catalog (and all the hashes pre-generated). 5 hours later it has worked through 32 images in the match screen (this is the stage before I can hit match/ignore/etc).

    Matching against a smaller set of images isn’t really feasible (because there is no specific subset that would cover them all) and maybe the web host could be faster, but this is the real world we’re in (and it’s far from ideal).

    I’d be happy to help optimize this.

    • Hi Barrie. Unfortunately, that’s a time-consuming process, so there is no way to speed it. 275 photos is not much though and you could go for manual linking, that might be faster (maybe it would take you 3 to 4 hours), that’s what I would personally do.

      134,000 is a huge number of photos to analyze, creating the hashes for all those will take time – the alternative is to use a local web server to generate the hashes, the hashes and store in the Lightroom DB, then switch to your normal server, and start the matching process. You can actually do this too. But to be honest, for 275 photos, I wouldn’t bother, I would just go for manual.

      • The Crystal Focus

        Could you please provide a tutorial for this? I found a beginner’s guide to installing WordPress locally, but I want my local install to be a clone of my wordpress on my server right? Is that a tricky process?

        • It’s a bit complicated; the process will be obvious for those who really have control over their WordPress, database, and other technical aspects, but if you don’t it might be too complicated. Writing a tutorial might not be enough :/

          If you want to have a local install simply to generate your hashes for your photos in LR, then you don’t need to clone an install, you just need an install of WordPress with nothing. Then you can add a WP/LR Publish Service to your LR to that local install (or you can re-use the previous one by changing the URL), and use the button “Create Hashes” and “Create LR IDs”.

          Once it’s done, you can change the URL of your Publish Service to your live website and run Find Matches. The process will be much faster since all the hashes for your local images in LR have been created.

          If you wish to fo the whole process on the local, then it’s a bit easier; the tricky part is to actually replicate your install on your local, then to replicate it back on your remote server (there are infinite ways of doing this and it really depends on your hosting service mainly, better to ask them to do it the best way, there might be plugins too but in that case make sure the IDs are kept the same). If you replicate your install in local, then you simply switch the URL to your local and click “Start”, and follow the usual process.

          • The Crystal Focus

            THANKS! In the meantime between when I asked and when I finally noticed your immediate response, I discovered that Updraft Plus has a clone/migrate tool for $30 – I ended up buying the $70 premium version of Updraft that includes the migrate tool as well as a bunch of other goodies. I figured it’s money well spent since it will make the process easier to clone and migrate between local and server.

          • The Crystal Focus

            What’s nice about using the Updraft tools is that I will create a backup before I try the clone/migrate and then if something goes wrong I can restore from my backup.

          • The Crystal Focus

            Finally, here’s the link I found to the simple steps for installing wordpress locally for anyone else coming across this:

          • So this tutorial + Updraft helped you to do this? Please come back to me/us when you did it, it would be interesting to know if this process works well 🙂

          • The Crystal Focus

            So far so good. Here’s the migrate process once you install the plugin on both the server and the local version:

          • The Crystal Focus

            Everything is going fine – I managed to clone the site locally (the Updraft process worked flawlessly) – except I am still running into the same issue. My hash process stops working at 1117/82479, regardless of if I use the “start” or the “create hashes” button. Is it a corrupt image file perhaps?

          • The Crystal Focus

            I figured it out… I selected all my folders in LR and then navigated to image 1117 – sure enough, image 1118 was missing from my lightroom. And since computer code starts counting from 0, that would be image 1117, right? I deleted about 15 more from that same photoshoot that were missing (but I don’t care about anymore), and Total Synch started hashing again like a champ!

          • The Crystal Focus

            Perhaps you could work out an affiliate link with Updraft to offer your customers a discount code for that $30 clone/migrate plugin to make the Total Synchronize work fast, and it’s probably the easiest method of cloning locally. (I didn’t NEED the full $70 suite to accomplish this, but clone/migrate was included. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ )

          • I checked but there is no affiliation program it seems and I don’t think many of my users are actually using Total Synchronization 🙂 You are a very rare user of this function (which I actually love). It’s basically used if you start using WP/LR Sync on a website full of images, but if you start fresh then you don’t need to do the process.

          • The Crystal Focus

            With week 327 of my weekly photo series coming up, called – I definitely have a website FULL of images. Thank you so much for transforming the way I work with WordPress!! This tool will shave hours off of my workflow every week, and although I could just start using WP/LR moving forward, Total Synchronization is going to help fix all the past uploads! I upgraded my theme to the Photography theme from another that required 800px uploads. Without your tools, my older pages would look a lot more blah than the new ones.

          • I am so happy you enjoy it so much! Indeed, this plugin should be a life-changer, I originally made it because I badly needed it, and it went way beyond my original specifications 🙂 Don’t hesitate to post a little review here: (and maybe mention your website there). It helps me a lot to find potential new users 🙂 Thanks a ton!

  • vmala

    I love the concept and the idea of being able to upload and change the pictures directly from Lightroom, BUT, no matter what I do it doesn’t work after I uploaded all the pictures. When I make a modification to a file and try to publish I get this message in Lightroom.
    Any help is appreciated.
    Thank you!

  • Angela Bombangela

    Hi, I’m just trying this out now but thought that I could use it to sync the photos from my existing WP website to edit in Lightroom before syncing back to WordPress. So far it goes through the matching process but doesn’t download anything. Am I misunderstanding what this plugin does or am I doing something wrong please? I was very excited to find it 🙂

    • Hi Angela. I am sorry if the tutorial here is not clear but the Total Sync means that the plugin will match the photos between your WP and your LR to add them properly into your WP/LR Sync Publish Service. So they need to already be part of your LR. They will not be downloaded from your WordPress.

      The advantage of this plugin is to be able to sync and re-sync, to work again on the photos, to re-sync with higher resolutions or different watermark, etc, so if we were downloaded from WP to LR there would be no much point in fact 🙂

  • MuchFun

    Hi, Jordy,
    maybe I have something overseen on your site. My question is: How do I solve the following?
    I have uploaded images to a website. Now I decided for some reason to make a new catalog. I want to upload new images to the same website but from the new catalog. Question is, how do I sync the images which are already on the website to my new catalog?
    Thanks for your help, Michael

    • MuchFun

      It was too obvious. You answered my question already as you answered Angela’s …
      Thanks anyway.

  • The Crystal Focus

    I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but once the photos are synced and linked, do I need to search each one of my LR IDs in Lightroom in order to find and group together all the pics that I’m using on my site? Is there an easier way to create a collection that just has all 900+ pics that are in use in wordpress?

    • The Crystal Focus

      Maybe put another way… I see that it’s directional from LR > WP. But I haven’t been able to successfully create a collection in WP and have it appear in LR. As well as the metadata. A lot of metadata has been added over the years to photos on the site. Will that transfer over WP > LR?

      • The synchronization is only from LR to WP. Both ways would create a huge mess 🙂 Only Flickr does it, and it is only to get the images back, but it’s not a real sync. Sorry about your first message, I feel like I replied to you already (somewhere else?) but you don’t need to do anything more if your photos are synchronized and linked, you can just use LR and WP naturally. If there are any changes, you should do everything in your LR, and push the changes.

        • The Crystal Focus

          Thanks that makes sense. Since it’s not bi-directional, what is the best method for putting together the collection of pictures in LR that are actually used on my site? Do I need to copy and paste a list of LR IDs and then manually search those out in my LR catalog? Seems like there could be an easier method.

          • That is exactly what explained on the current page 🙂 Either Total Sync (the easy method you mentioned) or Manual Sync. Let me know if this page is not clear enough on certain point, but in fact, all your current questions should be answered 🙂 Actually there can’t be any easier method, if you think of something let me know, but I have been thinking and talking about this with users for three years and those two processes are still the only ones and the best ones.

          • The Crystal Focus

            Ok… looks like something is going wrong, then.
            Because when you say that “The LR image will be moved to the Publish Service (as a “New Photo to Publish”) and the image on WordPress will be marked as linked”, nothing new is appearing in the default “photos” collection in the WP/LR publish service yet I have a “landscape” collection that is somehow being populated by the matched images, even though I didn’t notice that about the landscape collection, and I had been seeing some images get stuck in there when I first started a couple weeks ago and I thought it was a mistake so I removed them. How do I tell WP/LR that the “landscape” collection is NOT the matched folder?

          • That’s indeed a problem with the current version of the plugin. It links the new images and adds them to the last collection in your Publish Service. You can contact me directly and I will send you the latest version 🙂

  • Sloanish

    Is there a way within Lightroom to find (filter) all the pictures that are on a website that are linked using WP/LR?

    • It depends: why do you need this, and how to do you need the results? If you are just curious, you can have a look in the menu Collections & Keywords. Otherwise, in the Media Library, it’s mentioned for each media whether there are linked or not. If you want to have a clean results with everything, best is look at the database or run a simple query. If you look at the _lrsync table, you will see this:

      It’s the main table, very light, there is the LR ID (ID in Lightroom), WP ID (which is the corresponding Media in your Media Library), the original filename proposed by Lightroom and the last synchronization date.

      • Sloanish

        Thanks – I was trying to apply WPLR to an exisitng install. Some of the pics on the WP site are hard to find in LR due to the age of the site and various ways uploads were handled. I think I am going to just do a new site.

  • Sloanish

    I am not seeing instructions on how to use the Gallery. If I use the proposed short code
    Here are my photos about Lucinda ToDo:
    [gallery wplr-collection="1"]
    I can see the pictures laid out nicely in 3 colums
    I get this error when I try to Update the page and save the changes.
    Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML() expects parameter 2 to be long, string given in /home2/plattj/public_html/cmh14/wp-content/plugins/meow-gallery/mgl_run.php on line 93

    Fatal error: Call to a member function getAttribute() on null in /home2/plattj/public_html/cmh14/wp-content/plugins/meow-gallery/mgl_run.php on line 97

    • That’s a known issue, with older version of PHP. I am working on it. Did you contact me directly for this issue already? If you didn’t, please do 🙂

I recommend you to use WPEngine or SiteGround. They are both excellent hosting services and work perfectly with all my plugins.