6 Best WordPress Image Optimizer Plugins (Tested and Compared)

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Images slow down your site. Plain and simple. But images are still essential for their visual allure, so you can’t just ignore them in the name of performance. To get the best of both worlds, you can use a WordPress image optimizer plugin to compress and optimize images for peak performance. As a result, readers enjoy the beautiful images and your site still loads fast. It’s a win-win!

When it comes to WordPress image optimizer plugins, you have several excellent options. And to help you find the best of the best, we’re going to put six of them to a test.

The six WordPress image optimizer plugins we’ll compare

Here are the six WordPress image compression plugins that we’ll test and compare:

To start, we’ll test how much each plugin can compress a sample image. Then, we’ll jump into the actual interface for each plugin and show you how it works.

Hands-on tests with these image optimizer plugins

To find the best image optimization plugin for WordPress, we have to put these tools to the test. We want to see how effectively each plugin could optimize the same image.

This gets a bit tricky, since some of the WordPress image optimizer plugins offer varying levels of optimization. For instance, Imagify has Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra optimization modes. Optimole, on the other hand, optimizes all images based on the same defaults, or the ones set by you.

In addition, some optimizers provide automated resizing tools, which can cut down the file size drastically.

Because of those differences, it’s hard to come up with an objective comparison. But we have a process to make our test as accurate as possible. Here’s how we’re going to do it:

  • We’ll run two tests: one for JPG files and one for PNGs.
  • We’ll stick with the default settings for all plugins and not resize the photos at all.

Though it’s not a perfect comparison, by sticking with the default settings, we’re emulating the experience for a casual user. By that, we mean that the average user would typically install the image compression plugin and not mess with too many default settings. This is what we’re interested in most—how each WordPress image optimizer performs right out of the box, without forcing the user to complete any tedious steps.

Testing each WordPress image optimizer with JPG files

Here’s our JPG test subject:

jpg for WordPress image optimizer test

This is a 3000 x 2000px JPG image with a size of 3.9 MB. It’s a high-resolution landscape shot with a range of complex colors, and elements we can use to notice any imperfections during the compression.

And here are the test results after running the JPG through each WordPress image optimizer:

Plugin Original Size Size After Optimization Optimization Percentage Types of Compression Offered
ShortPixel 3.9 MB 400 KB 90% Lossy, Glossy, and Lossless
EWWW 3.9 MB 593.6 KB 84.2% Lossy
TinyPNG 3.9 MB 852.8 KB 78% Lossy
Optimole 3.9 MB 1.18 MB 69.6% Lossy and Lossless
Imagify 3.9 MB 2.07 MB 47% Lossy and Lossless
Smush 3.9 MB 3.62 MB 7.3% Lossless (Paid version required for Lossy)

Note: Lossy compression usually produces the smallest image sizes without losing quality, making it the best option in most situations.

Sticking with default settings, ShortPixel is the clear winner, coming in with a ~90% reduction in file size using its lossy compression. EWWW gets second place, and TinyPNG isn’t far behind. Optimole also had respectable numbers, decreasing the JPG size by ~70%.

Despite using lossy compression, Imagify only shrank the image by ~47%. Smush finished in last place, but that’s because it uses lossless compression by default in its free version. That makes it very difficult to recommend Smush unless you pay for it, since the free compression doesn’t compete.

Testing each WordPress image optimizer with PNG files

Here’s the PNG test image:

PNG test subject for WordPress image optimizers

The file is a 1311 x 1138px screenshot of the Neve theme with a starting size of 446 KB. The PNG offers more of a focus on white space, illustrations, and clean lines, which makes compression a little different from what you’d expect from a JPG photograph. You’ll also notice that varying file sizes produce unique compression results.

Plugin Original Size Size After Optimization Optimization Percentage Types of Compression Offered
ShortPixel 446 KB 100 KB 68% Lossy, Glossy, and Lossless
Imagify 446 KB 164.5 KB 62% Lossy and Lossless
EWWW 446 KB 164.6 KB 62% Lossy
Optimole 446 KB 181 KB 59.4% Lossy and Lossless
TinyPNG 446 KB 190.1 KB 57% Lossy
Smush 446 KB 378.2 KB 15.2% Lossless (Paid version required for Lossy)

This time, the competition was more fierce. ShortPixel remained in the top spot with 68% optimization, yet Imagify surged up through the rankings to claim the #2 spot, with ~62% optimization. To make things even closer, EWWW optimized the PNG by ~62% as well! So there was a tie for 2nd.

Optimole was no slouch either, showing an optimization result of 59.4%, while TinyPNG looked good at 57%. Once again, Smush was the only plugin with questionable optimization, rendering a 15.2% compression score for the PNG image.

Our final take on the testing

After two real-world optimization tests, the overall winner is ShortPixel for both JPG and PNG optimization. Other contenders for JPG compression on WordPress include EWWW, TinyPNG, and Optimole. Other suitable tools for PNG optimization are Imagify, EWWW, and Optimole.

Note: You may see that the image degradation is more prevalent with extreme optimization settings. For instance, I actually noticed a clear difference in how the PNG looked through Optimole – since by default that plugin gets more aggressive with its file shrinking.

👉 With this out of the way, here’s our in-depth comparison of the best WordPress image optimizer plugins on the market:

1. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

How’s the interface?

ShortPixel’s dashboard offers simplicity and quick buttons to choose your compression type, handle image backups, and resize large images. There are numerous extra tabs for advanced features. However, the average user can go with the default settings, and the main page is mainly where you’ll stick around.

ShortPixel interface

An API key is required, but you can request an API within seconds right from the dashboard.

How are the features?

ShortPixel lets you choose from Lossy, Glossy, and Lossless modes. They even have a testing link to help you decide between the three options.

ShortPixel testing

You can also resize large images upon upload and see how much space you’ve saved.

ShortPixel has some other features that more advanced users will like, including:

  • PDF optimization
  • WebP image support
  • Cloudflare integration if you’re using a CDN
  • Additional media folders
  • PNG to JPEG conversion
  • Optimization of retina images
  • Thumbnail optimization or exclusion

How’s the pricing?

ShortPixel provides 100 free image credits every month. If you need more, the plans start at $3.99 for 7,000 image credits. File size limit is 100MB for all the plans, and you can upgrade to optimize more images.

Test Drive Go to ShortPixel

2. Image optimization service by Optimole

How’s the interface?

Optimole’s image optimization plugin is clean and modern, with most of the tools running in the background without you knowing. It requires a quick account creation and API key insertion. After that, you can view all optimized images in the dashboard and change certain settings like image replacement, resizing of large images, compression quality, and lazy loading.

optimole interface

Optimole also has its own dashboard outside of WordPress. Here you can find more detailed information like the optimization sizes and monthly reports.

How are the features?

Optimole completes all image optimizations automatically. It’s also powered by a CDN so you don’t have to worry about your images loading slowly. Tracking is one of the best features, since you receive very specific details on which images got optimized, and how much space you saved. Along with lazy loading and image resizing, Optimole provides a nice optimization package without the need to pay any money.

Optimole WordPress image optimizer

How’s the pricing?

The Free plan allows 5,000 unique visitors per month and unmetered bandwidth, making it an excellent fit for personal WordPress blogs. They sell three other plans, starting at $19.08 per month (when billed yearly) for 25,000 unique visits each month, auto-scaling images, smart lazy-loading, and customer support. You also receive a CDN when upgrading to a paid plan.

Optimole sells a Business plan starting at $39.08 per month for 100k monthly visits. You can upgrade for more visitors. The Business plan allows for a custom domain as well.

Test Drive Go to Optimole

3. Imagify

How’s the interface?

Imagify is an image compression plugin for WordPress that has the best-looking Settings module on this list. It’s broken down into General Settings, Optimization, and Display Options, with only one page to manage settings.

optimization

We like how the optimization choices get presented with large buttons. Also, the Visual Comparison between the optimization modes gives you an idea of which one to use.

Imagify interface

You must sign up for a free account to acquire an API key to activate Imagify’s features.

How are the features?

In the optimization testing, Imagify performed well. But that was while using the default Aggressive optimization setting. You can also go with Normal (lossless) and Ultra (more lossy). So, you could compress your images more, or less, if you’re worried about quality.

Imagify compression comparison

Other than that, you can set up most features for automation. For instance, you might resize all images to a specific width. There’s even a tool for optimizing your WordPress theme.

Imagify WordPress image optimizer

How’s the pricing?

Imagify pricing has two plans based on the total image size of your monthly uploads. The Free plan allows 20 MB of images per month, which they estimate as 200 images.

The other plan offers unlimited uploads, starting at $8.33 per month (when paid yearly).

Test Drive Go to Imagify

4. EWWW Image Optimizer

How’s the interface?

EWWW offers an updated, one-page interface to see an optimization score, local compression savings, and recommendations to improve optimization across your site.

EWWW interface

New media uploads occur in the background, and the plugin offers a bulk optimizer to speed up the process. Compressions happen without acquiring an API key, which makes the interface a little easier to understand than the competition. However, you have the option to use the API for improved optimization and priority support.

How are the features?

EWWW offers JPG, PNG, GIF, and PDF optimization. There are also options for both lossy and lossless compression. The major benefit is that EWWW has no limits on file sizes or the number of images uploaded.

Additionally, the free version of EWWW performs optimizations on your own web server, whereas all the other tools use external servers. This is nice for privacy-focused sites. But it can put a strain on your server if you optimize a lot of images at once.

As a bonus, EWWW offers Easy and Ludicrous Modes. The Easy Mode has all the essentials for out-of-the-box compression, while Ludicrous Mode opens up many options for conversions, overrides, resizing, and more.

EWWW features - WordPress image optimizer

How’s the pricing?

The main EWWW plugin is free. For extra features, consider one of the paid plans:

  • Standard: $7 per month for extras like CSS optimization, a limited CDN, and 200 GB bandwidth. This plan supports one site.
  • Growth: $15 per month for 10 sites, a global CDN, 400 GB bandwidth, and custom domain support.
  • Infinite: $25 per month for unlimited sites, 800 GB bandwidth, and site speed audits.

Test Drive Go to EWWW

5. Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG

How’s the interface?

The TinyPNG plugin sticks to the basics, with a simple, clean Settings page. It takes maybe 20 seconds to understand what’s going on and activate your automated optimization process.

TinyPNG interface

It’s the closest thing to a beginner’s interface you can find, with recommended settings throughout the process and only a few steps to complete everything you need.

How are the features?

features

TinyPNG automatically compresses and resizes images upon upload. It also has options for optimizing previously uploaded images. Furthermore, TinyPNG lets you resize images on the WordPress dashboard while also choosing which image sizes to compress, from thumbnails to the original images. Along with no file size limits and WooCommerce support, this is a pretty appealing plugin.

How’s the pricing?

They restrict the number of free uploads to 500 per month, but that’s often all smaller to mid-sized sites need. After that, the starting price is $0.009 per image for the next 9,500 images. The price per compression decreases to $0.002 after 10,000 compressions.

Test Drive Go to TinyPNG

6. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

How’s the interface?

Smush has a beautiful interface with proactive elements that ask if you’d like to optimize both old photos and new ones. The plugin even offers a quick setup wizard to configure all the basic settings from the start.

setup from Smush - WordPress image optimizer

The main advantage of Smush is the amount of information provided about your images and how much space you’ve saved.

bulk smush

How are the features?

Resizing and optimization are both included with new and old pictures. The bulk optimize tool is great for when you have several pictures.

In the free version, you can only bulk optimize 50 old images at a time, so you might need to click the button a few times if you have lots of images. We recommend keeping an eye on the image sizes that get optimized; it’s nice that Smush compresses all image upload sizes, but the free version leaves out the Full Size image.

features from WordPress image optimizer Smush

Other features from Smush include metadata stripping, automated image resizing, and options to backup your images after uploading them.

Smush features

How’s the pricing?

One of the benefits of Smush is that it lets you optimize unlimited images for free. There is just one caveat – individual images cannot exceed 5MB.

To remove that limit, you can use WP Smush Pro. This premium plugin starts at $7.50 per month (if you need it for only one website). For additional website support, or to get all the developer plugins from Wpmudev, you can upgrade to pricier packages.

Test Drive Go to Smush

Which WordPress image optimizer should you go with?

  • ShortPixel – For the best optimization and a sleek interface.
  • Optimole – For a fairly powerful free plan and included CDN, lazy loading, and the option to always display a version of the image that’s optimized, specifically to the viewer’s screen and device.
  • Imagify – For excellent compression, features, and interface.
  • EWWW – For a free WordPress image optimizer and no file size limits. And options to use your own server or a third-party.
  • TinyPNG – For excellent optimization and the simplest of all interfaces.
  • Smush – For unlimited free lossy or lossless compression (with a 5MB max for each image).

If you have any further questions about the best WordPress image optimizer tools, let us know in the comments.

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