9 Best WordPress Plugins To Regenerate Thumbnails (2024 Features Compared)

Thumbnail regeneration is an integral part of optimizing a WordPress website.

Fortunately, WordPress community provides numerous plugins tailored to simplify the thumbnail regeneration process. These plugins offer various features to meet diverse user needs.

In this guide, we will explore the top WordPress plugins to regenerate thumbnails and compare their features.

What is WordPress thumbnail regeneration?

When you upload an image to WordPress, several smaller versions (often called thumbnails) of that image are generated to be used in different contexts throughout the site, such as in post excerpts, galleries, or widgets.

As seen in the screenshot below, you’ll notice a variety of image sizes, with each size specified by a suffix (measured in pixels, for instance, 150 wide and 150 high) at the end of the file name.

regenerate wordpress thumbnails stored on the disk
Example of WordPress thumbnails stored on the disk

If you change your theme, update image dimensions, or make other adjustments that affect how these images are displayed, your existing thumbnails may no longer be properly sized or might look off.

In such cases, regenerating thumbnails becomes necessary to ensure that all images on your site appear correctly.

In short, WordPress thumbnail regeneration refers to recreating or updating these smaller versions of images.

Why is it important to regenerate thumbnails for WordPress?

Regenerating thumbnails for WordPress serves, in my opinion, two important purposes.

First and foremost, regenerating thumbnails aids in maintaining consistency throughout the site. As previously noted, updates to themes or transitions to new themes, as well as changing image dimensions, can result in images appearing in varying sizes. So, it basically helps with display inconsistencies.

Additionally, it helps save storage space. As time goes on, your WordPress site may gather unused and outdated image thumbnails, especially if you’ve switched themes or altered image sizes. Regenerating thumbnails enables you to tidy up unnecessary files and free up storage space on your server.

Best WordPress plugins to regenerate thumbnails compared

Without further hesitation, let’s compare the top WordPress plugins for regenerating thumbnails.

We’ll explore their features head-to-head to help you choose the best one for your needs.

Basic regeneration features

  • Bulk regeneration: Ability to regenerate thumbnails for all the images on your WordPress website in one go. This saves time and effort by generating the thumbnails for every image uploaded.
  • Regenerate only featured images: Regenerate only the thumbnails associated with the featured images, typically set on posts and pages.
  • Force regeneration: Regenerate the thumbnails regardless of whether they are already present on the disk or not.
PluginBulk regenerationRegenerate only featured imagesForce regeneration
reGenerate Thumbnails AdvancedYesYesYes
reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced ProYesYesYes
Regenerate ThumbnailsYesYesNo
Force Regenerate ThumbnailsYesNoYes
Perfect ImagesYesNoNo
Image Regenerate & Select CropYesNoYes
Real Thumbnail Generator LiteYesNoYes
Real Thumbnail Generator ProYesNoYes
Simple Image SizesYesNoNo

Regeneration period

  • Regenerate for pre-defined periods: This allows you to regenerate thumbnails for a set time, like yesterday, last week, last month, or last year.
  • Regenerate for a custom period: Regenerate thumbnails within a specific date range.
PluginRegenerate for pre-defined periodsRegenerate for a custom period
reGenerate Thumbnails AdvancedNoNo
reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced ProYesYes
Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNo
Force Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNo
Perfect ImagesNoNo
Image Regenerate & Select CropNoNo
Real Thumbnail Generator LiteNoNo
Real Thumbnail Generator ProNoNo
Simple Image SizesNoNo

Thumbnail management options

  • Adding new image sizes: Define and integrate additional image sizes within WordPress.
  • Display thumbnail data: View info about each thumbnail, such as size and name.
PluginAdd new image sizesDisplay thumbnail data
reGenerate Thumbnails AdvancedYesYes
reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced ProYesYes
Regenerate ThumbnailsNoYes
Force Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNo
Perfect ImagesYesYes
Image Regenerate & Select CropYesYes
Real Thumbnail Generator LiteNoYes
Real Thumbnail Generator ProNoYes
Simple Image SizesNoYes

Cleaning features

  • Clean unknown metadata: Clean up old metadata that isn’t defined in the system sizes. Used after removing plugins or themes with outdated settings. It won’t delete thumbnails from the disk.
  • Remove non-existent images: If the main image doesn’t exist, this feature deletes the image, thumbnails, and metadata associated with it. It’s useful for removing images that are no longer on the disk but still appear in the media library.
  • Delete unselected thumbnails: Removes redundant or unused thumbnails. Helps optimize storage space.
PluginClean unknown metadataRemove non-existent imagesDelete unselected thumbnails
reGenerate Thumbnails AdvancedNoNoNo
reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced ProYesYesYes
Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNoNo
Force Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNoNo
Perfect ImagesNoNoNo
Image Regenerate & Select CropNoYesNo
Real Thumbnail Generator LiteNoYesYes
Real Thumbnail Generator ProNoYesYes
Simple Image SizesNoNoNo

Additional functionality

  • JPEG quality: Adjust the quality of JPEG images to suit your preferences. Reducing the quality level results in decreased file sizes. Note that if you’re using an image optimization plugin like ShortPixel Image Optimizer, or any other plugin, to compress your images, maintaining the quality at 100 is advisable, as the plugin will handle compression tasks.
  • Statistics: Access to insights into the regeneration process, such as how many images were processed, how many thumbnails were generated, and so on.
  • WP-CLI support: Manage the thumbnail regeneration directly from your terminal.
PluginJPEG qualityStatisticsWP-CLI support
reGenerate Thumbnails AdvancedYesYesNo
reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced ProYesYesYes
Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNoNo
Force Regenerate ThumbnailsNoNoNo
Perfect ImagesNoYesNo
Image Regenerate & Select CropYesYesNo
Real Thumbnail Generator LiteNoYesNo
Real Thumbnail Generator ProNoYesNo
Simple Image SizesNoYesNo

For a side-by-side comparison, you can also view this Google Sheet.

regenerate thumbnail plugins compared

Conclusion

In conclusion, considering the features discussed, reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced Pro emerges as the standout choice.

With its set of functionalities including advanced thumbnail regeneration features, pre-defined and custom period regeneration, cleaning features, statistics, WP-CLI support, and more, the Pro version of reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced offers an extensive toolkit for managing thumbnail regeneration for WordPress effectively.

For users seeking simplicity and a free alternative without compromising on essential features, the basic version of RTA remains an excellent option.

Get started with RTA Pro

Effortlessly regenerate, clean up, and add new thumbnails in WordPress.

Andrei Alba
Andrei Alba
Articles: 29