In today’s online world, images have become an absolute must for every website. They play a vital role in creating an exceptional user experience and have the power to captivate visitors, making them stay longer on your pages. Ultimately, this leads to increased engagement and, depending on your WordPress website’s goals, a higher chance of boosting sales or achieving your desired outcomes.
However, it is not enough to overload your website with visually attractive and interactive content. Every image you upload must be of high quality and not too large in file size. Otherwise, you risk slowing down the page loading speed, which will result in poor website performance, a high bounce rate, and consequently a failure of SEO efforts.
If you want a better website loading speed, we strongly recommend using one of the most popular and efficient WordPress image optimization plugins. Since there are several image optimization plugins, in this article we will introduce you to the best of them and help you make the right choice.
Why is image optimization important for your WordPress website?
We all know that images help attract and keep visitors to a website. The most popular websites provide dynamic and attractive visual content that piques our curiosity and captures our attention instantly. We also know that users don’t like pages that load slowly and poor-quality images that sometimes don’t fit the size of the screen they’re using.
If you’ve run website performance tests like GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights and scored poorly due to unoptimized images, it’s time to choose a plugin that will do the job for you and save you the time-consuming task of optimizing every image you display on your website by automatically compressing and reducing the file size. In the end. you’ll notice an improvement in key performance metrics as page load time is reduced and website speed is increased.
Optimizing images will help you reduce the bounce rate because even a few milliseconds of page loading time can influence a visitor’s decision to stay on or leave your website. Remember that we live in an age of speed and that user experience is crucial to achieving your goals in terms of traffic, conversions, and sales.
You have full control over the images you display, so use this to your advantage. Here are the reasons why you should use one of the best WordPress image optimization plugins right now:
- Reduce image size without compromising quality;
- Compress images;
- Convert the image to a better format;
- Enhance the user experience;
- Improve SEO;
- Increase conversions;
- Higher ranking on search engine results page;
- Faster backups.
What is an image optimization plugin?
Before we dive into a more detailed analysis of the best WordPress image optimization plugins in 2023, we will try to briefly explain what such a tool does.
In order not to affect website loading speed and user experience, images must meet certain criteria in terms of dimension, size, and format – all without compromising image quality. That’s what an image optimization plugin for WordPress does: it includes features that allow website owners to show visitors the best images (in terms of size and quality) and ensure that they can smoothly navigate the page.
While WordPress provides basic image optimization functionality, using a dedicated image optimization plugin can offer more advanced features and greater control over the optimization process.
Note that most image optimization plugins allow you to choose between two compression categories: lossy and lossless. What do these two mean? As you probably guessed, “lossless” means that the quality of your image is not changed at all, while “lossy” means some loss of quality, but kept at the highest possible level (most of the time the change is not even noticeable).
Best image optimization plugins for WordPress in 2023
If you want to choose the best image optimization plugin for WordPress in 2023, you have come to the right place. Below, we will present the most popular plugins you can choose from. Once you install them you will notice a difference in the speed of your website:
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
The top-ranking WordPress image optimization plugin is ShortPixel Image Optimizer. It is a user-friendly plugin that offers both free and premium options. With the free version, you can optimize up to 100 images per month. The plugin works seamlessly in the background, efficiently optimizing all images and PDF documents uploaded to your WordPress website.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer, a cloud-based plugin using SmartCompress™ technology, includes a range of advanced features, benefits over other competitors, and offers three distinct compression levels: lossless, lossy, and glossy. While we already understand the concepts of lossless and lossy compression, let’s delve into the meaning of glossy compression. Glossy compression, available exclusively in ShortPixel, serves as a middle ground between high-quality and lossy optimization techniques. It provides a balance where the image size is reduced while maintaining a visually pleasing appearance. ShortPixel is the sole plugin that offers this specific compression option.
- Optimizes existing images with one click and automatically optimizes new uploads;
- Three levels of image compression;
- Supports various file formats, including PNG, JPG, GIF, HEIC, and PDF;
- WEBP & AVIF generation and conversion;
- Bulk optimization (compressing multiple images at once);
- Smart cropping;
- PNG to JPG conversion;
- Provides the option to keep or remove EXIF data from images;
- Permanent support from developers;
✅ Intuitive interface
✅ Affordable plugin
✅ No file size limit
✅ Backup copy of the original images
✅ Suitable for photographers
✅ Can be used on multiple websites with a single API key
❌ WebP and AVIF involve the use of an additional credit
❌ For the optimization process to occur in the background, it requires an open tab in your browser
ShortPixel is an affordable plugin that provides competitive pricing plans. You can optimize 100 images per month for free, and additional costs start at $4,99 per month for 7,000 credits. Alternatively, you can opt for unlimited credits for a single domain at only $9.99 per month.
Smush is the most popular image optimization plugin for WordPress and allows free compression of images up to a size of 5 MB. The action can be performed for each image individually or in bulk, with no limit on the number of images per day or month.
Users receive valuable insights on image details and the space saved through optimization. Additionally, Smush includes features like lazy loading and image resizing to enhance website performance. It caters to beginners and provides the option of upgrading to Smush Pro, a paid version that comes with multiple benefits, such as eliminating the size limit, further reduces file sizes, convert images to WebP format, and so on.
- Optimizes background images;
- Compresses up to 50 images at a time;
- Detects images that are incorrectly sized;
- Enable lazy-loading;
- Compresses images without affecting quality;
- Processes PNG, JPEG, and GIF files;
✅ User-friendly interface
✅ Good for beginners
✅ Free to use
✅ No monthly limit
❌ Many fundamental features, including image optimization for files larger than 5 MB, backup creation, WebP file generation, and PNG to JPG conversion, require upgrading to the Pro version.
❌ No AVIF support
Smush is free, but if you opt for the premium version, you can choose a plan starting at $7.50 per month.
One of the best plugins for WordPress image optimization that effectively increases loading speed is Imagify. It comes with one optimization mode (“smart”) and can optimize images with one click without affecting their quality, both new and old images. The upper limit is 20 MB of images per month.
Users also have the option to create and deliver WebP format for their WordPress website images, ensuring maximum flexibility and control over compression levels and image quality. Imagify seamlessly supports various popular file formats, and if needed, you can effortlessly restore the original versions of your optimized images.
- Bulk optimization option;
- WebP support;
- Compatible with many image formats (JPG, PNG, PDG, GIF);
- Different levels of compression;
- Improves Core Web Vitals metrics;
- Backup of original images;
✅ Three different compression levels
✅ Compatible with NextGen Gallery
✅ Images can be re-optimized with a different level of compression
❌ The monthly limit for image optimization is quite restrictive, allowing only up to 20 MB of image size for free.
❌ The free plan does not allow optimizing images bigger than 2 MB
❌ The ease of use can be might be overwhelming for certain customers.
With the free version of this plugin, users have the opportunity to optimize up to 20 MB of images per month. If you find yourself needing to optimize up to approximately 5,000 images on a monthly basis, you can opt for the $4.99 pricing plan. Alternatively, there is an unlimited plan offered at a monthly rate of $9.99, providing you with the freedom to optimize as many images as you need without any limitations.
EWWW Image Optimizer
Upon activation, this tool, recognized as one of the top WordPress image optimization plugins, will automatically optimize both new and existing images, contributing to enhanced website performance and faster loading times.
One notable advantage is that EWWW allows unlimited file size optimization while utilizing lossless compression. Additionally, users have the option to employ server-based optimization tools and can avail themselves of free one-on-one email support for any inquiries regarding the plugin’s features or usage.
- Friendly support team;
- Support for WebP image format;
- Support for JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF & SVG;
- Compatible with many plugins and themes;
✅ Affordable unlimited plan at only $7 per month for one domain
✅ Image watermarking
✅ Easy to use
❌ Upgrade to the pro version required for higher compression ratios and optimization levels
❌ The free version does not offer image resizing capabilities
❌ No AVIF support
The plugin is primarily available for free, while the premium version offers pricing plans starting at $7 per month for unlimited optimizations for a single domain.
A notable plugin for WordPress image optimization is reSmush.it, available for free. It can be a suitable choice for those who don’t work with images larger than 5 MB. The plugin operates silently in the background and offers users an extensive range of settings, allowing them to adjust image quality and decide whether to keep backups.
This plugin automatically optimizes newly uploaded images on your WordPress website and offers the convenience of bulk optimization for previously uploaded images. While it doesn’t provide multiple compression levels, it compensates by offering users a sliding scale to control the level of optimization.
- Bulk optimization of images;
- Support for PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, and TIF file formats;
- Reduces images by up to 80%;
- Create backups for images;
✅ It is free
✅ User friendly
✅ Optimize all photos in a few clicks
❌ Can’t optimize files larger than 5MB
❌ Lack many fundamental features
This plugin is free, but the images must be smaller than 5 MB.
How to choose the best image optimization plugin for your WordPress website
While the plugins above share similarities, such as the ability to adjust compression levels and user-friendliness, they also have notable distinctions, such as pricing and the convenience of generating and serving WebP and AVIF formats effortlessly.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the extensive selection, these factors can help you make an informed decision about which plugin to select:
1. Supported image file formats: make sure that the plugin you will use is compatible with the image formats you intend to upload to your WordPress website;
2. Ability to convert images to the next-gen WebP/AVIF format: the plugins should possess the capability to convert images into the next-gen WebP and/or AVIF formats. These formats are highly desirable due to their ability to maintain visual quality comparable to that of JPG and PNG, while minimizing any potential loss of quality.
3. Multiple compression levels: opt for plugins that grant you the flexibility to select compression levels, enabling enhanced control over both file size and image quality. Certain plugins, such as ShortPixel Image Optimizer, even provide an intermediate option called “glossy” to strike a balance between achieving smaller file sizes and preserving the visual integrity of the images.
4. Backup option: an essential factor to take into account is whether the plugin maintains a backup of the original images, allowing you the option to restore them if needed. This feature holds significant importance as it provides a safety net and ensures that you have the ability to revert back to the original versions of your images.
5. Intuitive interface: another factor to take into consideration is the user-friendliness of the interface, which plays a significant role in ensuring a seamless and effortless experience.
Our recommendation is to select a plugin that combines these essential features while remaining affordable. An excellent choice in this regard is our plugin ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
For as little as $9,99 per month, you can optimize unlimited images for one domain, making it a cost-effective option. ShortPixel surpasses many other image compression plugins in terms of functionality, making it highly regarded by numerous WordPress website owners. Its outstanding performance is evidenced by over 300,000 active installations, solidifying its reputation as the top image optimization plugin.
When selecting the optimal image optimization plugin for your WordPress website, it’s advisable to consider the plugin’s features, advantages, disadvantages, and pricing plans.
Also, the ideal WordPress image optimization plugin is characterized by its ability to maintain image quality while offering a wide range of advanced features that enhance website speed and overall performance.
If you’re looking to quickly optimize your images with a user-friendly and cost-effective plugin, ShortPixel Image Optimizer might be the perfect solution for your site.