Optimizing Images for WordPress: 5 Popular Plugins To Compress Your Images

7 Min.
Image optimization for WordPress

Optimizing graphics and images for WordPress is an easy and important step to improve your websites' loading time. Isn't it more astonishing how many WordPress users still upload their original images without any optimization measures? To prevent you from making the same mistake, I will show you 5 popular WordPress plugins that do all the compression of your images for you.

As a website operator you should check the loading time of your WordPress site always have in mind. After all, a faster load time has a positive effect on the user experience of your potential customers, your search engine ranking and ideally your conversions.

Why image optimization is so important in WordPress

The use of caching plugins, the compression of data with gzip or Brotlithe removal of superfluous plugins ones, the Changeover to HTTPS and switching to a faster hoster are popular steps to reduce the loading time of your WordPress site to improve. Especially with WooCommerce Shopswhich require many product images, is often first turned on other screws to improve the loading time.

An important measure that site operators tend to neglect is image optimization. What many people don't know is that as soon as you upload an image to your library, three additional formats are automatically created in WordPress: One large (feature image), one medium and one small format (thumbnail).

WordPress  Image sizes

So if you think that you're just a image, there are actually four new files including meta information that the server has to process. There are even Themessome that automatically generate 10 or more image sizes.

Have a guess about these different formats and the number of all your used pictures in total. Optimizing your pictures for WordPress is worth it, isn't it?

Saving images smaller is only the first step

Shrinking your original images before uploading them with Photoshop or a similar program is a first optimization measure. However, to get the best possible results in terms of loading time, you should compress all images on yours site - including those from WordPress automatically generated image files.

Optimizing Images for WordPress: 5 Popular Plugins To Compress Your Images

The difference between "lossy" and "lossless"

When compressing images, there is a difference between lossy and lossless compression, which in principle is explained by the terms themselves:

With a lossless Compression, the difference in quality between the image before and after compression is almost invisible. Often, this process mainly removes superfluous meta information from the image file to save unnecessary kilobytes. With a lossy Compression may degrade image quality by reducing the colors and resolution. On the other hand, lossy compression can save significantly more file size.

Image compression becomes a breeze with the right plugin one

By uploading your original pictures to your WordPress site you are already one step ahead of many site operators. However plugins, the most obvious solution is to retroactively optimize your existing media library and automate the compression of new images. That's why today I'd like to show you five popular ones WordPress plugins that will help you optimize your images. 

No. 1: WordPress optimize images with WP Smush

Optimize images with WP Smush

Active installations: in excess of 1 million
Evaluation: 4.8 stars (4,133 reviews)
Supported formats: JPG, PNG, GIF
Free of charge: Image size max. 1 MB, bulk compression of max. 50 images
Compression: lossless (Free) and lossy (Pro)

As shown by over one million installations and more than 4,500 reviews, WPMU DEV's WP Smush is one of the most popular image plugins enhancement tools. WP Smush is available in a free and a paid Pro version. Unfortunately, for $49 per month you are forced to become a WPMU DEV member to use WP Smush Pro. A separate purchase option is not offered.

What does the free version of WP Smush offer?

As with most plugins, the free version of WP Smush has some limitations. For example, you can only compress images up to 1 MB in the free version, compared to 32 MB in WP Smush Pro. In addition, according to WPMU DEV, image optimization in the Pro version is up to 200 percent faster.

This is what the colleagues from WPMU DEV even about the free image optimization with WP Smush:

It's ideal for people with minimal smushing needs, but since it's limited to 1 MB it's not so great for those who have some serious smushing to do, such as photographers.

In addition, you can only compress losslessly in the free version. The highest compression level "Super Smush", which uses a lossy algorithm, is only available in the Pro version. Bulk compressions are currently limited to 50 images in the free version.

No. 2: Optimize images with the EWWW Image Optimizer

Optimize images with EWWW Image Optimizer

Active installations: over 700,000
Rating: 4.5 stars (341 reviews)
Supported formats: JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF
Free of charge: only on own server (without API)
Compressing: lossless (Free) and lossy (Pro) possible

What does the free version of the EWWW Image Optimizer offer?

Unlike the others plugins in this list, image compression in the free version of the EWWW Image Optimizer takes place on your server. For this to plugin work, you need the exec() function, which many hosters do not release for security reasons. This also applies to RAIDBOXES.

The EWWW IO developers explain what the exec() function is about in this article. If you want to use EWWW IO anyway, you can use the API of the service. However, this variant is subject to a fee.

No. 3: Image compression with Compress JPEG & PNG Images

Optimize images with Compress jpeg & png images

Active installations: over 100,000
Rating: 4.5 stars (119 reviews)
Supported formats: JPG, PNG
Free of charge: about 100 pictures per month
Compressing: lossless

What does the Free Version of Compress JPEG & PNG Images offer?

Compress JPEG & PNG Images is the official Pluginone to the well-known online compression tools TinyPNG and TinyJPG. In the free version of the plugins you can compress about 100 images per month.

With image contingents like this one, you have to keep in mind that not only the original image, but also those of WordPress automatically generated formats will be optimized and deducted from your image credits.

According to the developers of TinyPNG and TinyJPG, the service compresses JPEG images by an average of 40-60% and PNG images by 50-80% without any visible loss of quality.

No. 4: WordPress -Optimize images with Imagify

Optimize images with Imagify

Active installations: over 100,000
Evaluation: 4.7 (489 reviews)
Supported formats: JPG, PNG
Free of charge: Image size max. 2 MB, uploads max. 25 MB per month and once 25 MB at registration
Compressing: lossy and lossless possible

What does the Free Version of Imagify offer?

Imagify is a Plugin from WP Media, the startup behind the well-known WP Rocket-Plugin. In the free version, you can compress up to 25 MB of images per month, which according to the Imagify makers is equivalent to about 250 images. With the registration you will also receive a one-time credit of 25 MB to your upload quota.

Imagify offers three different compression levels:

Normal: This is a lossless compression. The visible quality of the image is therefore not changed.

Aggressive: This level is lossy, but with only a slight loss of image quality. According to Imagify this loss is hardly noticeable in most cases.

Ultra: This is the strongest compression level of the plugins, which accordingly entails quality losses, but saves the most space.

No. 5: WordPress -Optimize images with ShortPixel

Optimize images with ShortPixelImage Optimizer

Active installations: over 100,000
Evaluation: 4.7 stars (368 reviews)
Supported formats: JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF
Free of charge: 100 images per month
Compressing: lossy and lossless possible

What does the Free Version of ShortPixel?

In the free version of ShortPixelyou can compress a maximum of 100 images per month. Images or files that Plugincannot be compressed by more than 5 percent will not be deducted from your image credits. Another advantage is the possibility to optimize not only images but also PDF files.

Another plus is that even in the free version, lossy optimization is possible and there is no limit to the size of the uploaded images.

Conclusion: Automated image optimization plugins saves time

And this even twice: On the one hand, the manual optimization effort for you and your customers is eliminated, on the other hand you save loading time through automated image compression.

So in times when your site performance depends on every millisecond, image optimization is a measure you should take to get the most out of it.

The question which image optimization plugin is the best solution for you is generally difficult to answer. Ultimately, it all depends on how many of your pictures need to be optimized afterwards and how many new ones are added.

Who uploads only a few images per month and also has PDF files on his WordPress site is well served withShortPixel. If you don't want to rely on external servers when optimizing your pictures and your hoster allows it, EWWW.IO is a good choice. For companies that regularly produce content and upload many images, WP Smush PROmay be worthwhile, together with the other features of WPMU DEV. This is the case with us, for example.

The motto for maximum optimization is: "Doubled is better".

If you want to spend as little time as possible on optimizing your images, the paid services are plugins probably the better choice. This way you don't have to constantly worry about exhausted megabytes or image contingents and the optimization runs automatically in the background.

If you can spend a little more time and want to get the most out of the compression, you should even "double optimize". This is an approach we follow RAIDBOXES as best we can. Even before we upload an image to the media library, we adjust it to the required size and export it in the lowest possible resolution.

In Photoshop, for example, there is the possibility to save images specifically for web use. You can find the command for this under "File" and "Save for Web". In addition, we use WP Smush Pro, which automatically compresses each image WordPress uploaded to us and removes unnecessary meta information.

I hope that the list includes the right plugin for your needs. If you have another plugin recommendation for image compression and optimization, I would be happy to hear your comment.

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