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SmartFrame Review: Secure and Enhance Your WordPress Images

Last Updated on August 31st, 2023


If you share any type of original images on your WordPress site (photos, graphic design, etc.), you’ve probably had to deal with image thieves. Whether it’s done with malicious intent or not, many people have no qualms about taking the images from someone else’s site and using those images on their own site. In this SmartFrame review, we’re going to be looking at a WordPress plugin that can help you secure and optimize the images that you use on your site.

Overall, SmartFrame does a lot of things to improve and secure your site’s images. It…

  • Protects your images with tools to hide them from bots, add watermarks, disable right-click, etc.
  • Lets you control how your images appear on different sites, like Google image search or social media networks. For example, you can add a watermark but only when your images get shared on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Optimizes your images for performance with dynamic compression and a built-in CDN.
  • Adds neat front-end features like a fullscreen lightbox, the ability for users to zoom into the image, interactive captions, and more.
  • Gives you access to powerful features, like the ability to add CTA buttons, email opt-ins, etc.

In our hands-on SmartFrame review, I’ll share more about how those features work and then take you hands-on with the free SmartFrame plugin that’s available at WordPress.org.

SmartFrame Review: The Feature List

SmartFrame does a lot of different things…

Let’s start with the security features. SmartFrame can…

  • Disable right-click on images.
  • Hide the image URL in your source code so that people/bots can’t just bypass the right-click blocking by looking at your source code.
  • Optionally add a watermark overlay grid to prevent people from screenshotting your images.

The way that SmartFrame handles images will also automatically stop image hotlinking, as well.

SmartFrame also adds new front-end features for users. You can…

  • Add a full-screen lightbox
  • Let users zoom into specific parts of images just by clicking
  • Add social share buttons

And if you register for a SmartFrame account (which is optional), you’ll get access to a bunch of new powerful features like…

  • Image engagement analytics
  • The ability to include CTAs or ads on your images. For example, a CTA to purchase an image, an email opt-in form, a banner ad, etc.
  • An option to control how images appear on different sites. For example, automatically adding a watermark in Google image search or when an image is shared on Facebook

Overall, there’s a lot on offer, so let’s go hands-on…

Before and After With SmartFrame

Before I go hands-on with the SmartFrame interface, I want to show you how an image on WordPress works before and after SmartFrame so that you understand what it’s doing to protect your images.

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So – here is an image with the source code visible before I install the SmartFrame plugin:

Before SmartFrame

Let’s say you’re already concerned about image theft and are using one of the many JavaScript-based right-click blocker plugins at WordPress.org.

People who want to steal your image would not be able to right-click on it and save it, but any moderately tech-savvy user could just open the source code, grab the image URL, and steal it that way.

Now, I’m going to activate SmartFrame.

Here’s that same image and its source code:

SmartFrame review after activiating

Same image – but look at the code. Now, there’s no URL in the source code for people to steal. If users follow that SmartFrame embed link, they won’t be able to download your image.

What’s more, bots won’t be able to scrape your images because they can’t get the image file URL from your source code.

And with that, you’ve successfully deterred most low-level image theft.

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The only option for most users would now be able to take a screenshot manually. And, if you’re really concerned about that, SmartFrame can also help you add a copyright overlay grid to deter that, too.

Hands-On with SmartFrame

Now that you know exactly what SmartFrame does, let’s go hands-on and I’ll show you how it works on WordPress.

The SmartFrame plugin is listed at WordPress.org, so you can install it just like you would any other free plugin.

Once you install and activate the plugin, you’ll need to agree to the terms of service. But as soon as you check a box, SmartFrame is automatically enabled on your site.

The basic WordPress functionality is super easy to use – this is the only settings page:

SmartFrame setup process

To access the different front-end features, you can use the Appearance drop-down to select between three options:

  • Blank (default) – no front-end features – just image theft protections and a watermark.
  • Presentation – adds front-end share buttons, fullscreen lightbox, and image zoom.
  • Security – adds a watermark grid with the copyright logo over the image. This makes it so that people can’t even screenshot the image.

Here’s an example of the Presentation format. You can see the addition of the share buttons and fullscreen option:

extra features

Additionally, users can click anywhere on the image to zoom in – you can even zoom in multiple times. For example, you can see how I’ve zoomed in on the car:

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Image zoom

So that’s pretty neat, especially with high-resolution images.

Then, if you go with the Security format, SmartFrame will add this overlay grid with the copyright logo. This makes it so that people can’t even screenshot your images anymore (at least not to get a clean copy of your image):

Finally, if you only want to use SmartFrame on certain images on your site, you can exclude specific CSS classes from SmartFrame.

Optional: Register for a SmartFrame Account

You do not need to register for a SmartFrame account just to use the plugin.

But if you want to, you can create a SmartFrame account and sync it with your WordPress site.

In the SmartFrame cloud dashboard, you get access to a lot of new features.

Control Image Metadata

First, this is where you can set up captions and copyright details that show up in the SmartFrame interface on your WordPress site:

SmartFrame review of dashboard

And here’s where that data appears:

View Engagement Statistics

SmartFrame includes image engagement analytics that let you track:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Shares
  • Full-screen views
  • Zooms
  • Image theft attempts

This lets you see which images are most engaging to your audience, which is important if you’re a visual artist.

Create Your Own Themes

Above, I showed you the three default themes that come with the plugin. But with the cloud dashboard, you can create your own themes that combine all of the many SmartFrame features:

You can even add a CTA button, like a call to buy an image.

Control Your Images

The Control area lets you control how your images appear on other sites, like social media sites and search engines.

For example, you can let Google index your images in image search, with or without a watermark.

You can also control whether or not an image should have a watermark on social media, as well as what information to display:

Create Your Own Campaigns

Finally, the Campaigns area lets you create your own advertising campaigns on images.

For example, you can add:

  • Banner ads
  • Promo prompts
  • Sponsor logos
  • Newsletter opt-ins
  • Social media follow buttons

For example, here’s a quick promo campaign I spun up that includes a clickable link:

Super neat!

SmartFrame Review: Pricing

The core SmartFrame plugin is freely available at WordPress.org. As a free user, you can store up to 2 GB of images on SmartFrame. And remember – you do not need to create an account.

The one thing to note is that SmartFrame adds a small “SmartFrame” logo on free plans (you saw this in the screenshots above).

Other than that, you seem to get access to all the features in the SmartFrame dashboard.

If you want to remove the SmartFrame branding and unlock more storage, paid plans start at just $15 per month:

SmartFrame pricing

SmartFrame Review: Final Thoughts

You’re never going to be able to completely deter image theft from motivated individuals. If you’re displaying the image on your site, it’s always going to be possible for someone who really wants it to get it.

But if you’re concerned about image theft, SmartFrame can still help you in two big ways:

  • It makes it a lot harder for bots to grab your images. So this can cut out a lot of the low-level, automated image theft.
  • It makes it harder for non-motivated humans. If someone is just looking to quickly grab an image, they might go for another site where they don’t have to try so hard to take the image.

And if you’re really concerned, you can add the copyright logo overlay, which will even stop people who screenshot your images from getting a clean copy.

Plus, SmartFrame is a lot more than just image security.

When I registered for a SmartFrame account and opened the SmartFrame dashboard for the first time, I was impressed by the depth of functionality there.

You get a lot of tools to not just secure your images, but also create more engaging, interactive images.

For example, being able to add CTA buttons or grow your email list through your images is super cool. I also love the granular level of control you get over specific use cases, like your images in Google search or on social media.

If you just want a simple way to secure your images, you can use the free plugin from WordPress.org and not even bother with an account.

But if those extra features intrigue you, I’d definitely recommend syncing with a SmartFrame account to take advantage of all that this tool has to offer:

Visit SmartFrame Get SmartFrame Plugin

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.