WordPress has become a favorite for millions of webmasters across the globe because of certain features that facilitate easy search engine optimization and ultimately an increase in ROI. One way you can achieve this is by boosting user experience via image compression.
Images make web content more interactive and engaging. Research shows that web content with captivating images has 94% more views than those with boring images. But large images can slow down your website and affect the experience of your site visitors.
In fact, 53% of mobile visitors will abandon a page if it takes over three seconds to load.
A slow-loading website will have a high bounce rate and will not rank high on search engine result pages. As troubling as this may sound, there is a way out. You can still use quality images and have a fast loading website.
Optimizing images for your WordPress website will improve the speed of the website. And while you can compress images by editing them using image editing software like Photoshop, doing so with WordPress image compression plugins is more effective because editing one picture at a go consumes a lot of time.
The plugins we’ll be looking at compress the images to smaller sized versions suitable for WordPress websites.
Imagify is an advanced tool that you can use to optimize your images and speed up your website. This plugin enables you to reduce the size of the images for your website without compromising the quality of the images. It is compatible with WordPress and it also works well with WP Rocket as it is from the developers of WP Rocket caching/performance plugin.
With Imagify, you do not have to waste time resizing visuals before optimizing them. The plugin compresses the images and thumbnails and can also convert WebP images for free.
Imagify offers three levels of compression:
- Normal: This is a lossless compression algorithm, and it doesn’t affect the quality of the image being compressed.
- Aggressive: This level uses a lossy compression algorithm, and it is stronger than the normal level. The quality of the image reduces a little, but the reduction is negligible.
- Ultra: This compression method is the strongest of all and it uses a lossy algorithm.
An outstanding thing about Imagify is that no matter the level of compression you do, there is the backup option which enables you to optimize the image to another compression level or to restore it to its original form.
Imagify Main Features
- Imagify also optimizes custom folders outside your media library.
- It allows you to choose which thumbnail size you want to optimize.
- It resizes the dimensions of the image.
- It stores up the original image and can restore it at will.
- You can optimize individual images or bulk optimize older images.
- Optimizes images at three different compression levels
- It creates WebP images and serves them to browsers compatible with WebP
Imagify gives you a free allotment of 25mb per month. This is perfect for people that have lots of light images to optimize.
Besides the free 25mb allotment, Imagify has 30 days or one time plans. The cheapest onetime plan is $9.99 for 1 GB, while the cheapest monthly plan is $4.99 for 1 GB of images every month.
- It has three different compression levels
- Flexible payment plans
- You can save images, restore, and re-optimize them at will.
- It supports various file formats like GIF, PNG and JPEG.
- The compressed files must be 2MB or less.
Smush is an award-winning WordPress image compression plugin. It is active on over one million websites.
Using Smush’s servers, you can optimize an unlimited number of images for free. Smush can process PNG, GIF, and JPEG files. Unlike some image compressors.
Smush doesn’t destroy the quality of the image. It compresses visuals by removing hidden bulky and unnecessary information from the images and reduces the size of the image before adding it to your media library.
Smush Main Features
- The plugin is compatible with both global and individual multi-site settings.
- It can back original images up on the Pro version.
- It features a lossless compression method which removes unused information without damaging the image quality.
- It has an incorrect size image detector which enables it to identify any image that is slowing down your website.
- It can optimize images located outside the media library.
- You can optimize up to 50 images at once.
- The upgraded version can convert and serve WebP images. It can also optimize all old images and convert PNGs to JPEGs.
- It can defer offscreen images with just a click.
- The user can set a maximum height and width, which makes the resizing of enormous images easy while being compressed.
The free version of Smush allows you to optimize unlimited images up to 5mb each in size. There is no need for you to subscribe every month. This is most suitable for lossless compression.
For access to advanced features and lossy compression, you can subscribe to either the monthly plan or yearly plan. Both plans offer a free trial to check out the service, 7 days for the monthly subscription, and 2 months for the yearly subscription.
The monthly subscription starts at $7 recurring and the yearly plan starts at $70.
It is this expensive because for you to access this version you will need a WPMU DEV membership, which will grant you access to all WPMU DEV plugins.
- Smush is easy to use for beginners
- This plugin works well with Google Page Speed Insights tools
- It can optimize and reduce the size of 50 images at once
- It limits the file size on the free version to 1 MB.
- The free version of the plugin offers only lossless compression
ShortPixel is a comprehensive and easy-to-use image compression plugin that you can use to optimize images and pdf documents on your website. It resizes and optimizes new images. Shortpixel is compatible with any slider, gallery, or e-commerce plugin. It also works well with shared VPS, cloud, or any other web hosting.
Asides optimizing images in the media library, ShortPixel also optimizes images in other galleries like Modula and NextGen.
Lossless and lossy image compression of popular image formats such as GIF, JPG, WebP, and PNG are available and lossy JPEG compression.
There are two versions of ShortPixel:
- ShortPixel Image Optimizer: This version is for resizing and compressing images.
- ShortPixel Adaptive Images: This is an advanced form of ShortPixel. It doesn’t just resize and compress images; it serves the images from a CDN and resizes them to suit the user’s device. The user’s device will determine the resolution of the image.
ShortPixel Main Features
- It can resize images before being optimized with no additional plugins.
- ShortPixel is compatible with HTTP and HTTPS websites.
- There is no limit to the size of the file being compressed.
- you do not wish to optimize from the optimization.
- It can compress still or animated images in JPG, GIF, PNG format, and pdf documents.
- With a single API key, you can run it on multiple websites.
- It can optimize all existing images in a media library at once.
- It optimizes thumbnails and featured images. It can exclude individual thumbnails that
- ShortPixel gives you the optimization report for the last 30 days. This report contains the overall statistics, and details of the images optimized.
- It can resize images without cropping out important visuals.
- It can convert PNG images to JPG and there is an option to convert both still and animated PNG, GIF, or JPEG images to WebP.
ShortPixel allows you to optimize up to 100 images every month placing no restrictions on the size of the images. If you reach the maximum number of images, it requires payment for you to optimize more.
There is also a one-off image optimization credit or monthly subscription. The cheapest plan for this onetime package costs $9.99 for 10,000 images. The cheapest monthly subscription costs $4.99, this allows you to compress up to five thousand images every month:
You can also purchase dedicated servers for voluminous image optimizations starting at a recurring $350 monthly.
- ShortPixel has a lot of unique features that most WordPress image compression plugins do not have.
- This plugin compresses images without damaging quality.
- It gives a comprehensive report of images optimized in the last 30 days.
- Backups consume space in the server. The plugin removes backups manually even when the plugin is disabled.
- Setting up the API key is complicated
4. WP Compress
WP Compress is a WordPress Image optimization plugin that helps to boost the load time of your website by shrinking file sizes. It has Agency features like bulk website linking, detailed client reporting, remote configuration and optimization, monthly client quotas, and a centralized management portal.
WP Compress optimizes images with no visible reduction in the image’s quality. It also converts and serves WebP images to other compatible browsers. This plugin adjusts the images to suit the device or screen size that the website visitors use.
WP Compress has two types of optimization modes:
Local Image Optimization: This mode of optimization is the regular method that allows you to compress both image thumbnails and media library. It also enables you to generate additional image formats like Next-Gen.
Live Image Optimization: This is an advanced form of image compression. Besides regular image compression, it also pairs real-time compression with retina device support, adaptive images, and image lazy loading. You can use this optimization mode at the same time as the local mode.
WP Compress Main Features
- It optimizes thumbnails and featured images.
- It offers real-time image optimization and local image optimization for the media library.
- It compresses the images to adapt to different mobile devices.
- The plugin resizes the dimensions of images.
- It can store a backup of the original image in the cloud, this helps to conserve server space.
- It has two lossy compression levels and one lossless compression
With WP Compress, you can optimize your first 100 images for free. This is about 100mb. Once this finishes, you will need to pay a fee every month. WP Compress doesn’t count each thumbnail as a separate image, instead, it takes only one credit to optimize all the thumbnails.
Here are their plans and pricing. For up to 10 websites, the packages start at $49.99 annually. For between 11-50 websites the packages start at $25 monthly and for over 50 websites their packages start at $149 monthly.
- You can use a single API key for multi-site optimization.
- It resizes large images easily.
- There is no limit to the size of a file you can compress.
- It offers only lossy image compression.
- It does not support GIF images.
EWWW Image Optimizer is a WordPress image compression plugin that uses your server to optimize images. You need not use an API to connect to an external server to optimize the images. There is still the option of connecting with an API if you do not want to use your server resources, but you will have to pay to use this feature.
The EWWW Image Optimizer doesn’t just optimize new images you upload, it also optimizes old images and can convert them to various file formats.
EWWW Image Optimizer Main Features
- EWWW Image Optimizer backs up original images for free for 30 days.
- The plugin stores already optimized images in the database and can skip them when another optimization starts. It can also re-optimize them.
- It compresses and scales images to fit the page or size of the device being used.
- The bulk scanner can also optimize buddy press avatars, meta slider slides, Pro avatars, and other folders specified by the user.
- It can schedule optimization to run at certain times of the day.
- The plugin has four different compression levels, but not all are available on the free version.
- EWWW Image Optimizer compresses all images created by the inbuilt WP image editor.
- It goes beyond the WordPress media library and optimizes all the images on the site.
- The tool has a bulk scanner that can scan all the images on a single page.
The basics of EWWW Image Optimizer are free and there are no restrictions on the usage. If however, you want to connect with the cloud optimization service for compression or unlock all the compression levels plus additional features; they require payment.
The compression cost per image is $0.002, this means that with only $6 you can compress 3000 images.
If you want a plan with CDN, they require you to pay between $5 – $15 every month.
- It supports CDN.
- EWWW Image Optimizer backs up images for 30 days
- It skips already optimized images
- The free version offers only lossless compression for JPEG images.
Performance Comparison Test
Using the same PNG and JPEG images with each plugin, I’ll run a comparison test on all the image optimization WordPress plugins we’ve just seen.
To make your decision, check out the full performance results:
|Plugin||PNG Lossless||PNG Lossy||JPG Lossless||JPG Lossy|
|Imagify||212 KB||38 KB||276 KB||178 KB|
|Smush||272 KB||N/A||289 KB||N/A|
|ShortPixel||215 KB||80 KB||276 KB||80 KB|
|WP Compress||50 KB||34 KB||240 KB||125 KB|
|EWWW Image Optimizer||215 KB||80 KB||276 KB||N/A|
While there are a lot of identical numbers because these plugins are running on similar compression algorithms, there are still some obvious differences.
ShortPixel, for example, did excellently for the below reasons:
- No meaningful drop in image quality even for lossy compression
- Good compression numbers
Imagify also did great but the PNG compression was quite lossy, however, the file size was reduced more.
So what’s the winner? I’d have to say ShortPixel under these parameters, but it all depends on what you’re looking for.
The WordPress image compression plugins reviewed in this post are easy to use, you do not need any professional help to install them on your websites.
Emmanuel Egeonu is a tech enthusiast and digital marketing consultant. He specializes in crafting engaging content in multiple niches like SEO, Marketing, Technology etc. He has consulted with leading tech influencers, a number of A-List tech brands and thought leaders.