The modern IT world is all about speed and performance. Users on the internet these days don’t have enough time to sit back and wait for your WordPress website to show them the content. According to a Caltech Survey, more than 90% users close a website if it doesn’t load properly in under 7 seconds. Thus, speed optimization of your website is very crucial if you want to keep your website fastest in the market!
Why Image Optimization is so Important for speed?
Image optimization is given utmost importance by experts whenever a website is considered for speed optimization. Images often make up most of the downloaded bytes on a web page and also often occupy a significant amount of visual space. As a result, image optimization can result in largest byte saving and speed/performance improvements for your website.
Image optimization is a complete field of research now and scientists are constantly trying to develop techniques and algorithms that can significantly reduce the size of an image. Image optimization algorithms consider many important factors like format capabilities, the content of image data, quality, and pixel dimensions for optimization.
There are two types of algorithms which are used for optimization:
- Loseless: In Lossless optimization, the image is compressed in such a way that it can be restored to original image after decompression. All of the information can be completely restored if we use this algorithm for compression. The Graphics Interchange File (GIF) is an image format used on the Web that provides lossless compression.
- In Lossy optimization, algorithm removes redundant information by permanently deleting some information and thus original image can’t be restored in this type of optimization. The JPEG image file, commonly used for photographs and other complex still images on the Web, is an image that has lossy compression. Using JPEG compression, algorithms decide how much to lose and provide an image with the best size and quality.
Image optimization in WordPress is fast and easy because many efficient plugins are available which run compression algorithms on all images of your website and keep it optimized and faster.
Let’s have a look on best WordPress image optimization plugins:
Image Optimization WordPress Plugins
1) WP Smush
WP Smush is an image optimization plugin developed by WPMU Dev. It is available in both free and premium formats. The free version of this plugin uses lossless optimization techniques but its premium version has a super-smush option as well. Super-smush optimizes each image multiple times using lossy compression techniques and keeping the quality as best as possible.
WP Smush has great features. Like it automatically optimizes all images uploaded to your website after its installation. You can also optimize previously uploaded images by using its bulk-optimize feature. Moreover, you can individually optimize images as well by going into the Media Library and clicking on whichever file you want to compress, and clicking on the Smush option on the Attachment Details window. This option is useful when you want to optimize only few images and not everything in your library.
WP Smush is very popular and right now it has 400,000+ active installs. The plugin has 4.8/5 rating with a lot of good reviews. The plugin is best for sites which use a lot of images and images are uploaded to them on a regular basis.
EWWW Image Optimizer is another popular WordPress image optimizer for compressing PNG, JPG, and GIF image formats. Just like WP Smush, it also optimizes all images uploaded on the website and you can also bulk optimize images on your website.
EWWW is different from WP Smush in a sense that it runs optimization process on your own server instead of running it on third party servers. This makes the process easy and faster and you receive results within seconds. However, cloud optimization option is also available for those who don’t want to run it into their own servers because of hardware constraints.
The EWWW image optimizer plugin uses lossless compression methods by default but it also has the ability to use lossy compression, and you can enable that method easily by changing some settings. We recommend the use of lossless compression if most of the images uploaded on your site are in jpg format and lossy method if mostly images are in PNG data format.
EWWW Image Optimizer is the second popular image on WordPress with 300,000+ active installs. The plugin has 4.5/5 rating with many great reviews. This plugin is best for large and medium scale websites.
Shortpixel Image optimizer is different from above two discussed plugins in a way that it automatically optimizes all previously uploaded images on your site right after installation. This is a built-in feature and you can’t change it. Also, it keeps on optimizing newly uploaded images as well. It also gives your freedom to further optimize an image by going into the Media Library in the List View format, where each file will appear with an individual “Optimize Now” button alongside it.
Unlike WP Smush and EWWW, ShortPixel uses lossy optimization technique, but you can change it to lossless from settings as well. This is a light weight plugin which also optimizes PDF files available on your site. ShortPixel is compatible with Woocommerce making it a popular choice for e-commerce websites. By optimizing site images with this plugin, you can significantly improve site performance and reduce page load time.
The shortpixal plugin has gained popularity on wordpress and it has 20,000+ active installs with good reviews. The plugin is recommended for medium and small scale e-commerce websites.
The Kraken Image Optimizer uses its own API to optimize JPG, PNG and GIF image files. For making the plugin functional, users need to sign up for a free account at Kraken.io’s homepage in order to get API and secret keys.
Once the plugin is functional, it will use the lossy method to optimize your images which can be changed to lossless as well. In addition to these two methods, you can also give a specific value for the quality of your JPG images if you want. We recommend the use of the lossy method as this works best with this plugin.
The plugin is going good on WordPress with 10,000+ active installs and good reviews. It is recommended for small and medium scale websites.
Imagify image optimizer is another best WordPress image optimization plugins which use following three different types of algorithms for optimizing images:
Normal: A lossless compression algorithm.
Aggressive: A lossy compression algorithm.
Ultra: the strongest compression method using the lossy algorithm.
The plugin also provides a backup option so you can also restore your images to better quality in case you change your mind later.
Just like other plugins, imagify also helps you to optimize previously uploaded images on your site after installation. It automatically optimized newly uploaded images as well and helps webmasters ensure that their WordPress site loads faster, has improved SEO, and saves them some money on bandwidth.
Imagify has 10,000+ active wordpress installs with good reviews. It is recommended for medium and small scale websites.
Comparison Table for Speed Optimization Plugins
JPG Optimization %
PNG Optimization %
BONUS: 4 Tips For SEO Related to Images
In addition to the use of plugins, here are few more tips which can help you make your site lightning fast and SEO friendly.
- Name your images descriptively and in plain English. This will not only increase speed but will also help you in SEO.
- Always add alt tags to your images. This text appears when browser is unable to render your image properly.
- Use images wisely. Do not add redundant images of large sizes.
- Make sure that your plugin is optimizing image thumbnails as well.
Following all these tips and making sure that your plugin is working well, you can speed up your website by many times. This will also help you retaining your website viewers and increasing your revenues.
According to all these results and discussion, we can conclude that WP Smush and EWWW are best for large websites while other plugins should be used for medium/small websites. For E-commerce websites, ShortPixel is the best option.
Image Optimization has a very significant impact on WordPress websites load times and with a right plugin, you can do wonders. These plugins are crucial for those who have image-intensive websites. All these plugins which we discussed in the post are best ones in the market. Now it depends on you that which one you choose for your website.