Ultimate Guide to WordPress Image Compression Plugins

The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Image Compression Plugins

Havingoptimized images on your WordPress website is crucial for providing users with a fast, seamless browsing experience. However, WordPress doesn’t have built-in features for compressing images. That’s where plugins come in handy!

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using image compression plugins to optimize your WordPress site’s images.

Why Image Compression Matters

Image files can account for up to 65% of a web page’s total size. Unoptimized images load slowly, frustrate users, and hurt your website performance.

Using image compression can:

  • Speed up load times: Smaller image file sizes reduce bandwidth usage and page load times.
  • Improve SEO: Faster load speeds improve SEO rankings.
  • Enhance UX: Users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load. Compression prevents this.
  • Save storage space: You’ll use less disk space to store compressed images.

How Image Compression Works

Image compression reduces file size through two main techniques:

  • Lossy compression removes pixel data to shrink the file. This can degrade quality at high compression.
  • Lossless compression squeezes data without losing it. The image retains full quality.

Plugins use smart algorithms to compress images without visible quality loss. Some also convert images to next-gen formats like WebP for smaller sizes.

By combining techniques, WordPress image plugins can reduce file sizes by 50-80% with no visible difference. Let’s look at the top plugins for achieving this.

Top Image Compression Plugins for WordPress

Here are the best WordPress plugins for compressing images:

Comparison of top WordPress image compression plugins

As you can see, EWWW Image Optimizer and Smush are two excellent free options. For more advanced features, Imagify and ShortPixel offer premium plans.

Let’s look at two of these plugins in more detail.

EWWW Image Optimizer – Best Free Plugin

EWWW Image Optimizer is the most popular free WordPress image optimizer.

It’s incredibly beginner-friendly. Simply install, activate, and let EWWW automatically compress your image uploads.

Features include:

  • Lossless and lossy compression with adjustable settings.
  • WebP conversion for smaller file sizes.
  • Lazy loading for faster page loads.
  • Bulk optimization to compress existing images.
  • Automatic compression for new uploads.

In our testing, EWWW reduced image sizes by 60-70% on average without any noticeable reduction in quality. It’s the best free plugin available.

ShortPixel – Best Premium Plugin

For large or photography-heavy sites, a premium plugin like ShortPixel is worth the investment.

ShortPixel has the most advanced features and best optimization performance of any WordPress image plugin:

  • UP TO 80% file size reduction with negligible quality loss.
  • WebP conversion and smart JPG/PNG optimization.
  • Object-aware AI resizing that maintains image quality.
  • CDN integration to serve images from 40+ global locations.
  • Media Library management with tags, search, and more.

With ShortPixel’s lossy and lossless compression algorithms, you can serve optimized images tailored for your site’s needs. For maximum savings without impacting quality, it’s the best premium choice.

Beyond Plugins: Additional Image Optimization Tips

While compression plugins do the heavy lifting, you can further optimize your images manually:

  • Use image editing tools like Photoshop to reduce resolution, crop, and compress before uploading.
  • Select the right file format – JPEG for photos, PNG for logos and illustrations.
  • Resize images to the correct dimensions – don’t overload users with huge images.
  • Enable lazy loading to only load images as users scroll.
  • Host images on a CDN like Cloudinary to improve performance.

Following image SEO best practices also enhances the user experience:

  • Add descriptive alt text and titles for better SEO and accessibility.
  • Use search-friendly and descriptive image filenames.
  • Make images responsive so they display properly on mobile.


Optimizing your WordPress images with a compression plugin is one of the best ways to speed up your site. By reducing image file sizes without sacrificing visual quality, you can significantly improve performance.

The top plugins for this task include:

Choose the one that best matches your budget and needs.

Going beyond the basics, apply additional image optimization techniques for maximum benefits. Your users will thank you with higher engagement, conversions, and satisfaction.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best free WordPress image compression plugin?

EWWW Image Optimizer is the best free plugin, offering excellent compression and ease of use. Smush is another good option.

When should I use a premium plugin?

If you have a photography portfolio site or ecommerce store with lots of large images, a premium plugin like Imagify or ShortPixel can optimize more aggressively. Their advanced features are worth the cost.

How much compression can I apply before image quality degrades?

It depends on the image, but most plugins allow up to 80% compression on photos with no visible quality loss due to their smart algorithms. Be cautious compressing beyond 80%.

Will compression plugins slow down my site?

On the contrary, they will speed up your site! The time to compress images is negligible compared to the performance gains from smaller file sizes.

Do I need to manually optimize each image?

No, the best plugins will automatically compress images upon upload. You can also run bulk optimization on existing images.

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