The Pro version of the Genesis Club Plugin has a thumbnail regeneration facility which is really useful if you store your images on a separate location such as Amazon S3.
With Genesis, the thumbnails of the featured images can be used automatically on archive pages to make them more visually appealing. However “real” featured images must be stored in the Media Library. What the Genesis Club Pro Plugin does is allow an alternative featured image to be used. This is a thumbnail of the first image (or a selected image) in the post. The images which can be stored anywhere.
Why Store You Images Elsewhere?
We prefer not to store images in the WordPress Media Library. The advantages of hosting images elsewhere are:
- It takes traffic and load off the server where WordPress is installed
- It significantly reduces the amount of disk space a website consumes
- It makes the site easy to move to another server as the Media Library is empty
- Amazon Cloudfront can be added to distribute copies of the images globally for better worldwide performance
- It is much more efficient: the Media Library library creates thumbnails of all images at all sizes the site might use; with our approach we only create thumbnails at the sizes we actually need.
- The Media Library negative impacts the site’s performance as it grows. This was a major factor a few years ago but is a bit less important now as WordPress has made big improvements in this area. Also you can get around some of the deficiencies with caching and use of CDNs
- We do not find the Media Library’s image editing features useful because we already pre-process, and optimize the images using Photoshop – so for us, the Media Library is light on advantages and heavy on disadvantages
Post Excerpts With Featured Image Thumbnails
With Genesis child themes you often want to show post excerpts rather than the full posts on the archive pages; such as the category, tag and author archives. Genesis allows you to show a thumbnail image alongside each excerpt which gives the page a much more appealing look.
To do this you set up the Genesis Theme options as follows:-
Choosing The Featured Image
For this to work you need to choose a featured image for each post. In the post editor you click the Set featured image link in the Featured Image section to choose an image from the Media Library that you want to use when creating the thumbnail.
This is all well and good if you are hosting all your images in the WordPress Media Library, but what if you are hosting images externally, say on Amazon S3?
Externally Hosted Images
What you woud really like is to have “Featured Image” functionality but without having to store the images in the Media Library.
With the Genesis Club Pro plugin this is indeed possible. All you need to do is enable the thumbnail generation feature as follows:
How Does It Work?
The plugin applies the following rules in selecting or generating a thumbnail to display alongside the post excerpt:
- If you have set a featured image for a post then this takes precedence and it will be used
- If you have set a custom field genesis_club_featured_image then it will use this as the source for thumbnail generation
- If no featured image is set then the plugin will choose the first image in the post for thumbnail generation and save the URL of the chosen image in a custom field genesis_club_featured_image
- The plugin copies the image and then automatically generates a thumbnail of the required size and saves this locally in the wp-content/uploads/thumbnails folder
- The plugin saves the location and size information about the thumbnail in a custom field, genesis_club_featured_thumbs
- All subsequent requests for the thumbnail can be satisfied quickly by referring to the custom field
- The plugin is inherently more secure than alternative solutions like timthumb in that it does not expose itself as an independently accessible script and hence the only external sources that it tries to access are those referred to in the contents of the post.
- The plugin will only try and generate thumbnails for png, jpg and jpeg files.