Improved attachment management and protection in WordPress

Last updated December 6th, 2023 00:00

Are you writing articles that include attachments? You’re probably interested in better attachment management and protection in WordPress. You can achieve basic improvements in attachment protection and management by using a snippet that you insert into your website’s content. Let’s take a look at one.

Improved Attachment Management and Protection in WordPress

This snippet performs basic attachment management and protection through redirection. Let me give you an example of what the snippet does. This code primarily checks if the attachment is associated with an existing article. Based on whether the article containing the attachment exists or not, it performs the following actions.

Each attachment in an article has its own URL address. Under normal circumstances, if a user enters the file’s URL address in their browser, they would download the attachment. However, with this snippet, that won’t be possible. There are two possible situations.

If the attachment is still associated with an active article on the website, this snippet redirects the user to the article after entering the attachment’s URL in the browser. The user won’t immediately download the attachment but will first see the article in which the attachment is included as part of the text. Here, they can download the attachment in the usual way or read the accompanying text.

In the situation where the attachment is no longer associated with such an article or has been moved to the trash, the user will be redirected to the home page. Therefore, if the attachment is linked to an article that has been deleted from the website, the user won’t have the option to download such an attachment. The snippet only redirects them to the main page of the website.

This approach covers two scenarios. First, it redirects users to the article related to the attachment, allowing them to read it. Second, it prevents users from downloading attachments when neither the article nor the associated text exists.

Inserting the Snippet into the Website using WPCode

To insert short PHP code snippets into your website, you’ll need a plugin. There are several available in the official repository. Personally, I recommend using the WPCode plugin. It is also available at this address:

With this plugin, you can easily add code to your system that will execute and perform the actions and functions you define. For a detailed guide, if you have never worked with such a plugin before, you can find it here: How to Insert Custom Code in WordPress.

If you have read the article, you probably have an idea of how to add such a snippet to your website. The code for attachment protection in WordPress looks like this:

	function () {
		global $post;
		if ( ! is_attachment() || ! isset( $post->post_parent ) || ! is_numeric( $post->post_parent ) ) {

		// Does the attachment have a parent post?
		// If the post is trashed, fallback to redirect to homepage.
		if ( 0 !== $post->post_parent && 'trash' !== get_post_status( $post->post_parent ) ) {
			// Redirect to the attachment parent.
			wp_safe_redirect( get_permalink( $post->post_parent ), 301 );
		} else {
			// For attachment without a parent redirect to homepage.
			wp_safe_redirect( get_bloginfo( 'wpurl' ), 302 );

Improved Attachment Management and Protection in WordPress

Once you insert and activate the code on your website, users will only be able to download attachments if there is relevant content associated with them. Additionally, they will be redirected directly to this content, allowing them to read the context related to the respective attachment.

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