5 Best WordPress Image Compression Plugins Compared And Tested (2018)

Looking for a WordPress image compression plugin to automatically shrink and resize the images that you upload to your WordPress site?

Images comprise about 65% of an average website’s file sizes, so finding ways to reduce the size of your images is a great way to speed up your WordPress site.

And with the right plugin, you’ll be able to get all the benefits of WordPress image optimization without lifting a finger – you just upload your images like normal and the plugin takes care of the rest.

In this post, I’m going to give you a very quick crash-course on image compression methods. Then, I’m going to jump straight into the 5 best WordPress image compression plugins. For each plugin, I’ll:

  • Share its features
  • Show you its interface
  • Compress an image to see how well it works (I’ll use the same image for each plugin so that you can compare them at the end).

WordPress Image Compression: Lossy vs Lossless

There are two terms that you’ll see throughout this article, so I need to explain them:

  • Lossy compression – with lossy compression, you’ll get the biggest reduction in file sizes, but it’s accompanied by some reduction in quality (sometimes you can’t even notice, though). For most sites, lossy compression is the best option.
  • Lossless compression – with lossless compression, you’ll get smaller reductions in file size, but without any drop in quality. This is a good option for photography sites or other types of sites where image quality is paramount.

Some plugins will only give you access to one of these methods in the plugin’s free version. But if you’re willing to pay, any of these plugins will let you choose between various degrees of lossy and lossless compression.

Ok – now that you’ve got the basic terminology, let’s jump into the best WordPress image optimization plugins.

1. WP Compress

wp compress is a great wordpress image optimization plugin

WP Compress is an easy-to-use image compression plugin with a fairly generous free plan.

For each image that you upload to your WordPress Media Library, it lets you:

  • Compress the image
  • Resize the image’s actual dimensions

In the free version, you need to manually optimize the images. But the Pro version lets you automatically optimize images on upload or choose to optimize images at night, depending on your needs.

WP Compress gives you three different levels of compression:

  • Lossless
  • Intelligent – technically lossy compression, but with minimal/unnoticeable drop in quality
  • Ultra – a more aggressive lossy compression with a more noticeable drop in quality

And one nice thing is that you can, optionally, back up the original, unoptimized version of the image. An even nicer thing is that WP Compress stores the original backup in the cloud, so it doesn’t take up any space on your own server.

WP Compress lets you optimize up to 1,000 images for free. After that, you’ll need to pay.

For a limited time, the WP Compress developers have extended the WP Compress $89 lifetime deal for WPLift readers. You can optimize 60,000 images per year spread across multiple sites for $89 one time.

Get The Lifetime Deal

WP Compress Test

Compression Method Percent Reduction
Lossless 9%
Regular Lossy 29%
Aggressive Lossy 54%

Get WP Compress

2. ShortPixel

shortpixel

ShortPixel is another popular image compression and optimization plugin. You’ll see a lot of similarities with WP Compress. And it also offers some smaller, more niche features that might apply to specific sites.

You can choose to automatically optimize new/old images or manually optimize individual images and it gives you three different compression levels:

  • Lossy – the best compression
  • Glossyalmost pixel-perfect identical images. In between lossy and lossless.
  • Lossless

And you can also resize your images to a set of maximum dimensions.

Like WP Compress, you can also choose whether or not to store a backup of your original image. And it also offers a neat before/after feature so that you can see if there’s any noticeable drop in quality.

Beyond those core features, ShortPixel also offers other features that let you:

  • Convert PNG images to JPEG
  • Create WebP versions of your images and generate the proper markup
  • Optimize PDF documents
  • Optimize images uploaded to frontend forms

And it also includes a dedicated integration for Cloudflare to ensure that Cloudflare only serves optimized images.

ShortPixel lets you optimize 100 images per month for free. After that, you’ll need to pay.

ShortPixel Test

Compression Method Percent Reduction
Lossless 5.81%
Regular Lossy 39.90%
Aggressive Lossy 72.87%

Get ShortPixel

3. Imagify

imagify

Imagify offers many of the same features as the previous two plugins, but it also offers a different billing structure which, depending on your needs, might either come out cheaper or more expensive (I’ll tell you how to predict which way!).

It’s also from the same team behind WP Rocket, a plugin which has a pretty good reputation in the WordPress performance community.

Imagify can automatically optimize all your new and old photos or let you do it manually. Like the others, you get three levels of compression:

  • Normal – lossless
  • Aggressive – in between lossless and lossy
  • Ultra – the highest level

Beyond compression, you can also automatically resize your images’ dimensions.

And it also lets you store a backup of your original file.

Rather than charging by the number of images, Imagify charges by the aggregate file size of all the files you optimize. The free version lets you optimize up to 25MB per month. If you need to optimize lots of small images (rather than fewer large images), this might save you money versus the other two plugins.

Imagify Test

Compression Method Percent Reduction
Lossless 5.57%
Regular Lossy 14.59%
Aggressive Lossy 30.48%

Get Imagify

4. Smush

smush

Again, you’ll see many similarities between Smush and the previous three plugins, but like Imagify, it offers another unique twist on billing which may or may not work better for you.

In the free version, Smush exclusively uses lossless compression (though the paid version adds lossy methods). You can also set a max width/height to automatically resize your images.

The free version lets you automatically optimize all new images or do it manually. And you can also bulk optimize older images in batches of 50 at a time.

Here’s the real draw of Smush, though. The free version lets you optimize unlimited images, with the caveat that it’s only lossless compression and there’s a 1MB cap on file size for individual images.

To:

  • Remove the file size limit
  • Back up the original image
  • Compress images lossily

You can get WP Smush Pro as part of the paid WPMU DEV membership.

Smush Test

Compression Method Percent Reduction
Lossless 4.6%
Regular Lossy N/A in free version
Aggressive Lossy N/A in free version

Get Smush

5. EWWW Image Optimizer

ewww image optimizer

Not to beat a dead horse, but EWWW Image Optimizer has many of the same core features…the big difference is in:

  • The billing structure
  • Potentiallywhere the image optimization occurs

So far, all of the plugins we’ve featured offload images to their own servers via an API for optimization. That’s why most of them charge for usage after a certain point.

EWWW Image Optimizer takes a different approach. It does offer an API-service similar to the other plugins, but it also offers a plugin that lets you handle optimizing images on your own server. This will use more server resources, but could potentially save you some money.

There are two versions of the plugin:

  • EWWW Image Optimizer – this lets you both compress on your own server and use the API.
  • EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud – this is a lightweight plugin that only uses the API.

Beyond the flexibility in how it optimizes images, EWWW Image Optimizer also offers lots of other features like:

  • Multiple compression options (though this depends on the file type in the free version – JPEG images can only be losslessly compressed)
  • Image resizing
  • PDF optimization
  • WebP
  • etc.

EWWW Image Optimizer Test

Compression Method Percent Reduction
Lossless 5.6%
Regular Lossy N/A in free version
Aggressive Lossy N/A in free version

Get EWWW Image Optimizer

Which Is The Best WordPress Image Compression?

Plugin Lossless Reg. Lossy Aggr. Lossy
WP Compress 9% 29% 54%
ShortPixel 5.81% 39.90% 72.87%
Imagify 5.57% 14.59% 30.48%
Smush 4.6% N/A N/A
EWWW Image Optimizer 5.6% N/A N/A

So from my (limited) test, it looks like WP Compress is the best option if you’re planning to use lossless compression, While ShortPixel is a bit better when it comes to lossy compression.

In the end, I think it comes down to:

  • What type of compression you’re planning to use
  • How intuitive you find the interface
  • Whether the pricing plans/free plan works for you
  • If you want a specific smaller feature, like WebP image support

All of the plugins offer free plans, so I encourage you to play around with them and see which you like best. I really don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of these five options!

Now over to you – what’s your favorite WordPress image optimization plugin and why?

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Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

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