Did you know that images might be the culprit behind your slow WordPress site? When you upload too many of them or they are too large in size, they can gradually eat up your storage and eventually decrease the speed of a page.
Thankfully WordPress image optimizer plugin can help you with that problem. It will reduce the size of your pictures while maintaining their quality so your website is able to work normally again.
However, there are too many tools of this kind on the market already. So, I am going to show you the five best options you can have right now!
Your Image Size Matters
Images are important elements of your website. They help you visualize your idea and make content more attractive. However, you should always pay attention to their size or otherwise, they can pose technical issues for your WordPress site.
First of all, having too many photos hosted on your page will slow it down. You are literally putting too much weight on your website and is why it’s not able to run smoothly. Consequently, this problem leads to poor SEO performance since speed is one of the more crucial aspects of the ranking algorithm.
Secondly, you will run out of server storage if you just keep uploading all the desired images carelessly. In the end, you might have to spend more money to get more storage space.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this – you can use an image optimizer plugin to compress all the photos. That way, you will be able to keep all of the content in their highest quality possible without worrying about speed and storage usage. Sounds like an amazing deal, right?
Lossy and Lossless Image Compression
There are two types of compression that an image optimizer plugin commonly uses — lossy and lossless. Let’s have a quick glimpse at these before we dive deeper into the list.
Lossy image compression is a method of optimizing images by reducing their data size permanently. The end result will be smaller files, but you have to be content with their decreased quality. A more well-known example of this format is JPEG.
On the other hand, lossless compression keeps the data as close to the original. However, while you can maintain the picture quality, the reduced file size will still be larger in size than lossy images.
Most people associate this method with PNG and GIF images.
Lossy pictures will be suitable for those who have less storage to spare. On the other hand, if you want to prioritize quality above all else, lossless compression will be a much better choice.
Here are five WordPress image optimizer plugins I have chosen so see whether they support both or only one type of compression. Shall we begin?
Top 5 WordPress Image Compression Plugins
To help you get a better overview, I am going to point out the pros and cons of each plugin, and then provide the final verdict at the end.
- WebP and PDF support. Shortpixel is one of the few WordPress image optimizers that is compatible with WebP and PDF formats, with the addition of more well-known ones such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
- Glossy compression. This signature method from ShortPixel helps you achieve a smaller file size than lossless images and get a better-looking photo than lossy ones.
- Helpful features. Automated optimization, one-click backup, and image protection are only a handful of useful tools that make managing your photos easier.
- Dedicated servers. Shortpixel offers dedicated server support for companies that need to constantly optimize thousands of images.
- High-priced. When compared to other plugins, Shortpixel can become quite an expensive investment.
- Limited free plan. If you sign up for a free account, you are only allowed to make 100 image optimizations per month.
If you are looking for an image optimizer plugin that supports a wide range of formats and has a lot of convenient features, Shortpixel might very well be your best option. Sadly, the free plan gives you a very small amount of space to optimize your pictures.
Having said that, there are premium packages that you buy ranging from $4.99 (for 5,000 images per month) to $29.99 (55,000 images per month). There are also one-time payment plans ranging from $9.99 (10,000 images) to $99.00 (170,000 images).
- Resize images. Besides reducing the file size, you can modify an image by its height, width, or adjust it by its percentage.
- User-friendly interface. Designed for people who are overwhelmed by an overflow of customization options. Basically, the only thing you need to do is choose your compression method and leave the plugin to do the rest.
- Flexible API. Imagify is able to integrate itself with a website or an app that you’re working on.
- Limited free account. Apart from premium plans, you are limited to uploading files that are only 2 MB in size.
Imagify gives you intuitive user experience and indulges you with its modern design. Any beginner who doesn’t want to be overwhelmed with all the different configuration options will find Imagify very useful.
You only need to pick one out of three available compression presets when using Imagify – normal (uses lossless optimization), aggressive (lossy), or ultra. Though keep in mind that the last two options will significantly reduce your image quality.
Instead of limiting your optimization count by the number of photos, Imagify will give you monthly storage options instead. There are five monthly plans available. starting from $4.99 per month for 1 GB of storage (Lite plan) and all the way to $69.99 per month for 50 GB of data per month (Enterprise plan).
You can use premium plans on multiple websites, but only if a new API will be generated every time you have to integrate the service to another project.
3. WP Smush Pro
- Generous free plan. It doesn’t cost you anything and there is no daily, monthly, or annual limit. However, the file size limit of one image is 5 MB for both lossy and lossless compression.
- Exceptional speed. This WordPress image optimizer employs over 40 CDN (Content Delivery Network) locations from the around the globe so your images can be uploaded faster.
- Complete directory coverage. WP Smush Pro will not only optimize every image from your media library but also any directory of your WordPress site.
- Not a stand-alone plugin. WP Smush Pro doesn’t come separately. You will need to get a membership plan for $49 per month that includes multiple plugins and services from WPMU DEV team – plugins such as Hummingbird Pro, Hustle Pro or SmartCrawl Pro.
I must say that WP Smush Pro offers the best freemium service out of all WordPress image optimizers on this list. You will have unlimited storage space and will be able to optimize images in PNG, JPEG, GIF, and even WebP format.
Unfortunately, there are no available premium plan options other than the single one. If you’re thinking about using other plugins and services from WPMU DEV package, then getting their membership plan might just be a solution for you.
- ExactCDN. EWWW Image Optimizer uses a special method of optimization that uses a separate server to compress your images and store them. Your original images will not be altered. Instead, optimized versions will be transferred from the closest CDN to your visitor’s web browser.
- Customer support. The support team will try to answer all of your questions regardless of what plan you’re using.
- Fair billing system. Even if you subscribe to a premium plan, no payment bill will be issued if you don’t exhaust monthly quota.
- Complicated settings. You have to go through a lot of configuration options to get your results, instead of simply choosing your compression algorithm. Additionally, the interface is not exactly user-friendly.
With EWWW I.O., you need to pay $0.003 for every image you optimize. However, you only have to pay once the minimum credit is reached – $0.99 for 330 files or $9 for 3000 files, for example. When optimizing more than that, the price per picture remains the same. For more information on pricing check their plans page.
EWWW Image Optimizer is an alternative for anyone who needs a cheaper plugin that also features free customer support. Unfortunately, you will have to deal with many configuration settings before you can begin using it efficiently.
- Fully automated. The great thing about Optimole is that you simply have to install it and the plugin will do the rest for you. Just decide whether you want to have lossless or lossy images and Optimole automatically optimizes all of them in the background.
- Free CDN. It has over 130 worldwide data centers and will send your images from the closest one to your visitors. What’s more, the free plan allows you to use seven of those locations.
- Compatible with popular page builders. It easily integrates with such page builders as Elementor and WordPress 5.0 for better picture customizations on your site.
- Watermark features. You can create a signature for your images to prevent them from being used elsewhere.
- Lack of optimization options. Unfortunately, Optimole doesn’t give you the option to optimize images individually.
Optimole is priced at $9 per month for 10 GB of images and $29 per month for 50 GB of images, but there is also a free plan available that offers you 1 GB of image optimization per month.
However, I would still recommend using the premium version for the additional functionalities that it can bring, such as a global and wide network of CDN and a watermark feature.
In addition, its beautiful design and easy-to-use optimization make Optimole as one of the best WordPress image optimizers out there.
Testing Them Out
Added features and price aside, we should mainly judge an image optimizer by its ability to optimize your images. By using two of the most popular formats, JPEG and PNG, I am going to put these five plugins to the test and see how much size reduction you can get.
I will use the JPEG picture below and will compress the image using the default settings of each plugin.
|Imagify||650 KB||192 KB||70.4 %||Lossy|
|WP Smush||650 KB||530 KB||18.4 %||Lossy|
|EWWW Image Optimizer||650 KB||523.9 KB||20.6 %||Lossy|
|Optimole||650 KB||86.5 KB||86.7 %||Lossy|
As you can see, in terms of gained space, Optimole will give you the most satisfying result while WP Smush and EWWW I.O. are struggling to offer significant optimization even while using the lossy compression method.
This time, I will test each plugin to see how well they can compress a PNG image. Here are the results:
|Shortpixel||1.07 MB||1 MB||6.9%||Lossless|
|Imagify||1.07 MB||115 KB||89.5%||Lossless|
|WP Smush||1.07 MB||0.94 KB||6.4%||Lossless|
|EWWW Image Optimizer||1.07 MB||0.99 MB||5.4%||Lossless|
|Optimole||1.07 MB||198.3 KB||80.3%||Lossless|
Surprisingly, Imagify results in a greatly reduced picture size even though I used the lossless compression method. It makes this plugin compelling for those who really are really desperate for smaller files.
That said, it is common to see minor differences in saved space when you try to preserve the quality of an image. For example, Shortpixel, WP Smush and EWWW IO, who only cut under 10% of the original size.
Things to Look Out for from WordPress Image Compression Plugins
When looking for the perfect WordPress image optimizer, you need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a plugin:
- Ease of use. Check whether it is easy to operate and ensure there are no complicated settings that might confuse you.
- Features. It must have lossless and lossy compression options as a minimum. It should also have additional features that make it stand out from the crowd.
- Quota. Does it give you a fixed number for image optimization? And what will happen if you run out of the monthly limit?
- Compatibility. Make sure that it integrates itself well with other plugins and themes that you use.
- Pricing. Pay attention if the price justifies the plugin’s price tag.
- Support. How reliable is their customer support service, especially if you plan to use a premium plan?
Which One Is the Best for You?
One way to resolve a slow WordPress website is by optimizing images that you use throughout the site. The best tool for such a task is using a WordPress image optimizer plugin.
Here’s a recap of what we have learned so far:
- Shortpixel – a reliable WordPress image optimizer that supports most file formats.
- Imagify – a simple plugin that allows you to reduce your image’s file size quite drastically.
- WP Smush – WP Smush is perfect for those who are looking for a great image optimizer plugin free of charge.
- EWWW Image Optimizer – with EWWW I.O., you will get an affordable price-per-image service and receive great customer support.
- Optimole – a complete image optimizer plugin that has useful features like creating watermarks and is compatible with popular page builders.
Never let your website slow down due to an overload of images. Good luck!