ShortPixel Adaptive Images vs. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

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Do I still need ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO) if I installed ShortPixel Adaptive Images (SPAI)? Should I deactivate SPIO? Which one is better?

These are some of the questions we receive regarding our two plugins. Below you can find more information about both to help you better understand which one would suit you best.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO)

SPIO optimizes your physical image files on your server. It only works locally. Learn more about how ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO) works here.

Who is it for?

  • If the audience of your website is local and your website is hosted in the same city or small country, then we would generally recommend using SPIO. Just optimize all the images once and this should make the images of your site load faster for your audience.
  • If you need to free up disk space from your server, then you should use SPIO with the backup option deactivated. This is the only way to reduce the physical used space of your server. In case you want to keep the backup option active, you can choose to remove the backup at any time, but we suggest keeping a local copy in case you need to restore your original images.
  • If you need to create WebP files and you prefer to have them on your server alongside your original images.
  • If you are on a budget, SPIO is usually cheaper in the long term, as you only need to optimize your images once. SPAI usually incurs ongoing costs by offering a CDN service, while SPIO does not: it only requires new credits for the new images that you upload.

How are the credits counted?

A credit is used each time SPIO optimizes an image or thumbnail by at least 5%. Read more about how the credits are counted.

ShortPixel Adaptive Images (SPAI)

ShortPixel Adaptive Images (SPAO) downloads your images, optimizes them, stores them on ShortPixel's CDN, and replaces the image URLs when your front pages load, on the fly. It doesn't edit any of your original image files. Learn more about how SPAI works here.

SPAI is much more sensitive to conflicts with various themes or plugins (because it uses JavaScript to modify the URLs of the images) so please make sure to:

  1. Read this article to learn more about why the plugin might not work.
  2. Check our list of conflicts with other plugins and themes, and make sure you follow our instructions in case you use any of the plugins/themes on the list.
  3. Thoroughly test your website after activating SPAI. Don't worry, if you encounter any problem, deactivating it will restore everything back to normal. In case you can't figure out what's wrong, feel free to contact us then so we can help you out.

Who is it for?

  • If the audience of your website tends to be widespread (e.g. whole US, North America, Europe, South America, or global), then SPAI is likely to be the best option as it will considerably speed up the image delivery via the ShortPixel CDN.
  • Images are the heaviest component in a website, so even if your audience is local, you can still use SPAI if you'd like to offload the image delivery to our CDN servers. This is useful in shared hosting when usually one has a certain bandwidth limit and the server doesn't have a lot of resources available.
  • SPAI is also the recommended option if your website receives "Properly size images" or similar warnings when testing the site with GTMetrix, PageSpeed Insights, or any other website speed/performance tool. With SPAI you'll serve scaled images whenever possible and this can lead to dramatic gains in some cases. For example, if you have a 100x100px placeholder on your website and the image used is 1024x1024 pixels, SPAI will resize it to 100x100 pixels and optimize it.
  • SPAI is the recommended option as well if PageSpeed Insights or another website speed tester recommends you to "Defer offscreen images", as it serves the images with a lazy load technology out-of-the-box. This means that you'll serve the images only when they are about to be seen by your visitor. Good for SEO!
  • If you want to serve next-gen images but don't want to create additional files on your server, with SPAI you can serve WebP / AVIF next-gen image formats, regardless of the CDN you are using. This means you can make Google happy with a click of a button!

How are the credits counted?

SPAI usually requires credits on a monthly basis. Learn how SPAI uses your credits here.

Can I use both plugins?

You can keep both ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO) and ShortPixel Adaptive Images (SPAI) active as they won't conflict with each other, but we generally recommend having just one plugin active.

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