Images can slow down your site. But images are still needed for other reasons, so you can’t ignore them just to speed up your website. To get the best of both worlds, you can use a WordPress image optimization plugin to optimize images so they take up way less space. You still get to use images for your readers and your site still loads fast.
When it comes to WordPress image optimization plugins, we have several options. To make it simple for you, we are going to list and compare the best 5 and you can choose the one you want.
EWWW WordPress Image Optimization
After installing and setting up EWWW Image Optimizer, it’ll automatically optimize any images you upload to your blog as long as they’re either JPG, PNG, or GIF files. It also includes a function to optimize your entire media catalog, in case you already have lots of images on your site.
One of the advantages of EWWW Image Optimizer is that the optimization process takes place within your own servers by default, instead of connecting to a third party service. This means your optimization tasks will require less time, which can come in handy when tackling large media libraries, since regular-sized files (<1mb) should ideally load in a few seconds.
Image Optimization by Shortpixel
ShortPixel not only scores well when it comes to compression, it also packs a nice interface. After installing and activating the plugin, every JPG, PNG, and GIF you upload will be automatically optimized, and this plugin doesn’t enable you to turn off this option at all, as most others do.
A bulk optimization tool is included, and individual images can be compressed by opening your Media Library in the List View format, where each file will appear with an individual Optimize Now button alongside it.
ShortPixel enables you to choose between lossy and lossless compression methods, using the former by default. It optimizes all of the image thumbnails created by WordPress during the upload process, is capable of removing EXIF data (or preserve it you prefer), can establish a maximum resolution for your images, and best of all, it automatically saves a backup of every image you upload to a new folder.
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WP Smush is WPMU DEV’s image optimization plugin, available in both free and premium formats. As is common with this sort of plugin, any images you upload to your WordPress site will be automatically optimized.
The plugin also packs a bulk optimization option, which as its name implies, enables you to tackle multiple tasks at once – perfect if you’re looking to compress your image archive after installing the plugin. This bulk option is limited to 50 files at a time in the free version of the plugin.
You can also optimize images individually by heading over to your Media Library, clicking on whichever file you want to compress, and clicking on the Smush option on the Attachment Details window. This option can come in handy if for some reason you’d prefer not to use the bulk optimization option and have only a few images you’d like to compress.
Imagify is a newer go-to in the image optimization plugin scene, but it’s made a name for itself because of how useful and simple the whole process is, as well as how many options you get from a free plugin.
You can choose from three different settings for the optimization — Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra. Generally, Aggressive is a good spot where you can keep file size down without a noticeable dip in visual quality. As you move into Ultra compression, there may be blurring, slight pixelization, color ratio loss, and minor artifacts in the images. However, that lossy compression is incredibly effective at reducing file size.
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Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG
The TinyPNG plugin sticks to the basics, with a simple, clean Settings page. It takes maybe 20 seconds to understand what’s going on and activate your automated optimization process.
TinyPNG automatically compresses and resizes images upon upload. It also has options for optimizing previously uploaded images. Along with no file size limits and WooCommerce support, this is a pretty appealing plugin.
Wrapping it up!
While optimizing your images won’t make your site magically load in milliseconds, it’s one of those things that show you take every detail into consideration. Even if the resources you save aren’t substantial to you as far as bandwidth goes (and let’s face it, bandwidth is pretty cheap), visitors with slow connections will definitely be thankful for it.
Just keep in mind that while we may have tested all of these plugins with different images, you will find that the results vary depending on the image you use. If you want to tackle image optimization seriously for your own projects, we recommend that you take the time to individually test some of our frontrunners to see for yourself just which plugin you prefer.
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