We all aware of the fact that WordPress is not so well-known for speed. One should put some efforts to boost the performance of a WordPress site. One of the most popular ways to do so is to optimize images in WordPress. According to a research, your website has only 7 seconds to grab the visitors’ attention. If got, there is a chance that he will be the recurring visitor. If not, he might not visit the site ever again! In this article, I’ll show you the benefits of image optimization and how one can speed up a WordPress site just by optimizing images.

Advantages of Image Optimization

  • Consume less bandwidth and storage space
  • Reduces page size
  • Faster loading times
  • Boost SEO because of the fast loading pages
  • Saves mobile data plan for you and your visitors

Use Correct File Format for Images

There are three image file formats used widely.

  1. JPG: JPG or JPEG images are used for realistic images and photographs.
  2. PNG: PNG images come in handy for line-art, text-heavy images, and images with few colors.
  3. GIF: GIF is a good choice for storing line drawings, text, and iconic graphics.

Optimize Image Before Uploading

Creating images is the first step we need to work on. Optimizing images before uploading them to a WordPress site is always recommended. You can use tools such as: Photoshop, RIOT, TinyPNG, Kraken, Optimizilla and Compressor.

From our own experience, Optimizilla works best in both term of quality and file size. It produces the best optimization, outputs minimum file sizes. One disadvantage of Optimizilla is it has only lossy compression.

Kraken and Compressor have similar output. Both of them offers lossy and lossless compression. The output file size is not as good as Optimizilla, but still good.

TinyPNG maybe the worst in the list as it produce larger file sizes.

Optimize Images on WordPress

33.1% of the webs now are on WordPress platform and thanks to its contributors and developers, they can offer solution for almost every need. There are a number of image optimization plugins available on the Internet. We are about to compare 4 different free image optimization plugins for WordPress.

  1. WP Smush
  2. EWWW Image Optimizer
  3. TP Image Optimizer
  4. ShortPixel

WP Smush

WP Smush is a popular WordPress image compression plugin. It automatically compresses images on upload and can also be used to compress and optimize your older image files. You can also set maximum image resolution, and your images will scale down to more reasonable sizes while being compressed.

The free version of plugin doesn’t require you to create an account to use their API key. The bulk optimization feature allows you to optimize up to 50 images at a time, and you can rerun the bulk optimizer to compress more images.

EWWW Image Optimizer

EWWW Image Optimizer is also a great option for WordPress image compression plugin. It is easy to use and can automatically optimize images you upload on the fly. It can also compress and optimize your previously uploaded images in bulk.

It performs all compression on your own servers which means you don’t need to sign up for an account to get an API key. It can also optimize images generated by other WordPress plugins and stored outside your media library folders. It doesn’t require an account to use the plugin, but you can sign up for their API to get more features.

TP Image Optimizer

TP Optimizer is another favorite image optimizer plugin for WordPress. It have advance settings which allow you to choose image types for optimizing. For example you want to optimize all images with JPG format but keep the PNG files as it is. You may select only JPG format to optimize images with this Plugin. It also have intelligent compression mode which will keep image quality and compress between 2x to 5x. Specially all JPG images will compress without losing quality at all.

TP Optimizer is totally free plugin with no limitations to optimize and compress images. It also have an Optimize page where you can view image stats such as the original size and compressed one.

ShortPixel

This is very simple, powerful and easy to use image optimizer plugin for WordPress. All images have to be optimized as long as the plugin is activated. It force to optimize images when you upload them. It also have feature which allow you to optimize existing images and each image separately in media library. This plugin requires an API to work. You may get this API for free by signing up on website.

WordPress Image Optimization Plugins Comparison

To compare how exactly these plugins are in practical, I will be using an image in both JPG and PNG format. Optimize them, and then compare above-mentioned optimization plugins.

Here is the testing image we took to compare and the original dimensions.

File Type: JPG
Dimensions: 1920×1279 pixels
Size: 246,198 bytes
Source: Pexels (download the original image)

Result

Plugin WP Smush EWWW (Lossless) TP (Lossy) ShortPixel (Lossless) ShortPixel (Glossy) ShortPixel (Lossy)
File Size 227,038 227,038 135,401 226,121 122,726 81,145

Looks like ShortPixel is the best WordPress image optimization plugin, in both lossless and lossy test.

I Don’t Want to Compromise Quality, What Should I Do?

Well, it is always suggested to optimize images. But, if you still want to keep the original image, Lazy Load in which images will only be displayed when they are visible in the browser should be your choice. This will cut the initial page size as images will be loaded when the user scrolls down the page.

Choose Theme Wisely

There are many free and paid beautiful themes available but are coded badly. One way to speed up a WordPress site is optimizing the images but it is always suggested to use a lightweight and nicely coded themes like our themes.

Wrapping Up!

It is always recommended to optimize images before uploading them to a WordPress site. Later on, use an optimization plugin like WP Smush, that clearly beats the other plugins in our tests. You can also integrate a CDN with a WordPress site that will cache static content like CSS, JS and images that will help to boost the performance.

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