How To Optimize WordPress Images with “WP Smush” Plugin

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People now have the attention span of a fish. We skim content like never before.

One of the best ways to grab readers’ attention is to have images on the content.

According to Brain Rules, People are likely to remember only 10% of the information they hear three days later. But if you add a relevant image with the same information, people retain 65% of the information 3 days later.

The difference is huge.

But the problem is that images can slow down your blog, increase the loading time, and make people bounce from your site before they even read a word.

So, what is the perfect solution?

Optimize the images and make sure that they don’t lose quality and not affect the loading time of a page.

Yes, you can do that by using an image optimizer plugin.

And the best plugin to help you do that is WP Smush, which is what we are going to use to help you optimize WP images on your website. I’ll mention other options later in the post if you want to give them a try.

What is WP Smush?

WP Smush is a free WordPress image optimizer that has a pro version and created by the team at WPMU Dev.

It helps you resize, optimize and compress any or all of your images.

It has a generous unlimited & free plan that gives you the ability to optimize all of your images up to 5MB in size at the unlimited time, which is why it has over 1+ million active installations and is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Here is exactly what you can do with this plugin:

  • Lossless Compression: Unused data in the images removed without affecting image quality.
  • Support All Image Types: PNG, JPEG & GIF.
  • Bulk Smush: Optimize multiple images (up to 50 images) with 1 click.
  • Image resizing: Resize large images to max-width and height, so you get a smaller size as they are compressed.
  • Directory Smush: Optimize all images even if they’re not in the media library.
  • Automated Optimization: Want to auto compress images you upload? The tool can do so for you.
  • Gutenberg Block Integration: View all Smush stats in image blocks directly.
  • Compatible with any Media Library Plugins: If you use a different plugin to manage your WP media library, WP Smush can optimize images there as well.
  • Incorrect Size Image Detection: If you can’t find the images that are slowing down your site, WP Smush will find them for you and highlight them
  • Lazy Load Built-in: So you don’t worry if you have a lot of images to display.
  • And more.

There is a reason why they have been at the top for many years now. Their unlimited free plan, coupled with their ability to compress any image type in any location and do so automatically in bulk, is like a dream come true for most bloggers.


How To Optimize Images With WP Smush

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of how to optimize your images with WP Smush using their free plugin.

#1. Install The Plugin & Activate It

If you have been using WordPress for a while, this should be a piece of cake. But I’d like to show the steps.

  • Go to WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New.
  • After that, search for ‘WP Smush’.
  • Click on the Install Now button.
  • After installation, the button will change to Activate. Click on it.
  • And you are done.
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#2. Check Settings & Start Smushing

After the plugin is installed, go to the Smush tab.

A quick setup popup is displayed to help you get started.

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There are 3 settings displayed:

  • Automatic Compression: If you enable this, the plugin will automatically optimize new images. And of course, we want this to be enabled.
  • EXIF Metadata: Keep it enabled — you don’t want this info unless you have a photography blog for photographers who care about such data.
  • Lazy Load: You may consider enabling lazy loading to reduce load on your server and speed up the page load time.
  • Usage Data: You don’t need to enable this.

Now you quickly setup the plugin. Click on the Get Started button to remove this popup.

After that, click on the “Bulk Smush Now” button. This will start bulk optimizing your images, so you don’t need to optimize old images one by one.

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Up to 50 images are processed at a time. You need to upgrade to pro to bulk smush all your images in one click.

After you are done, you can check the settings page if you want to edit something, but mostly you won’t. And the plugin will do its magic from now on without much work from you.

After you are done, the dashboard will show you how much it has optimized and the statistics, so you know your numbers.


Smush Pro – Do You Need It?

WPMU Dev is known for their high-quality plugins which, most of the time, are premium ones.

This plugin comes with a premium version if you want to take things to the next level.

Here are the features you get with the pro version:

Super Smush: More than double the savings without affecting the quality. It comes with advanced multi-pass lossy compression that increases savings even more without noticing a drop in images quality.

Bulk Optimize: If you already have an old blog with thousands of images uploaded to it and you want to bulk smush them, then you need the pro version. You can smush thousands of images with 1-click. That’s it. And with Super Smush enabled, you will notice the difference when thousands of images are optimized at once.

200% Faster Processing Time: Smush Pro’s CPU compresses images 200% faster than the free version. It will matter when you smush thousands of images at once.

Image CDN: “10GB delivery from the 65 Tbps 45 location Smush CDN for near instant page loading.” This means faster loading time for anyone who opens your site, especially if they are located far away from your server.

WebP Conversion: It is supported for 25% smaller images than JPEG and PNG.

Optimize Up to 32 MB images: If you usually have large images (above 5 MB) then you need the Pro version to be able to optimize it. Not to mention the super smush will save you even more space, which is noticeable when optimizing bigger images.

As you can see, there are extra features that you can benefit from, especially if your site is loaded with heavy images.

And if you want to join their all-in-one platform, then you get everything for small monthly pricing, including their hosting, which may be more appealing to you.

You can know more about their pro version by visiting this page.


Other Image Optimization Plugins

WP Smush is one of the leading image optimization plugins. There are other plugins which are catching up.

Here are 3 options you can consider to help you choose the plugin which can help you optimize your images the most, depending on your needs.

1. ShortPixel

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ShortPixel is another freemium plugin that helps with image compression to increase your website’s SEO ranking, traffic and sales.

It has an extra feature from WP Smush, where it also helps with optimizing your PDF documents. All can be done with a single click as well.

And don’t worry about consuming your CPU as it requires minimal resources. Here are some features of the plugin –

  • It offers conversion of images to WebP in the free version.
  • A new compression algorithm called Glossy JPEG Compression, designed for photographers.
  • No file size limit. You can also convert PNG images to JPG, which is ideal for large PNG files.
  • It is integrated with Gravity Forms post_image which optimizes images upon upload.
  • Not to mention other cool features already available in WP Smush like Bulk Optimize, automatic resize, and many others.

The only limitation is that you can optimize only 100 images a month. If you want, you can get extra credits for 5k images for as little as $4.99.

It already has over 100k installations, and it is growing rapidly.

2. EWWW Image Optimizer

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EWWW Image optimizer is another popular image optimization plugin. It has over 700k active installations.

Here are a few reasons why this plugin may be a good choice for you:

  • Unlimited file size; you are not limited to 5 MB as of WP Smush.
  • Lossy operation to help you get the best compression/quality ratio available.
  • Adaptive steering: The plugin can determine which image format is the best to get the job done, and they convert the image to that format.
  • Leave original images for 30 days: This might be great if you wanted to change your mind after publishing a page. WP Smush either keeps it or removes it directly, which may not be perfect if you want to automate it.

It comes with many other great features like Bulk Optimize, Optimize Everything, Support Other Media Plugins, and much more.

If you want to get cloud compression, you can subscribe for just $9/month, which may be unnecessary for most people.

You can also use their API to compress images for other people on your server. To use their API, you can pay as you go or buy any of their prepaid bundles. This is the feature that many will find interesting.

3. Optimole

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Optimole is another cool all-in-one image optimizer for all your needs.

It comes with a different mechanism of work, as all your images are stored in the cloud, and the optimization happens specifically for each user depending on his device and what might be perfect for him.

So, it handles all the operations in the cloud and doesn’t affect the performance of your site. And it handles it on a case-by-case basis, so you get the best optimization for every visitor. When an image is requested, it applies the perfect transformation for that device and displays the image right away. The image will then be cached for a month to ensure faster delivery and higher speed.

The problem is that you get specific bandwidth and image size for every month. In the free plan, you can optimize up to 1 GB of images a month, and you get 5GB of viewing bandwidth from 7 different locations.

The great thing is that the free plan is fully functional like the pro plan. The only difference is in the capacity and that the images are served from the AWS CloudFront from over 130 locations.

It can also do watermarking for all your images instead of watermarking every image yourself.

You must first decide if you want to go with this mechanism or others. Obviously, it will be pricey depending on the bandwidth, but you might save that from your hosting price. ;)


Conclusion

Having an image optimizer is more important than ever, especially because of the constant updates from Google that emphasizes speed and user experience.

And if you want to do it automatically without actually having to optimize every image in Photoshop, then you need to install the plugin.

The best part is that you can use all the available options for free. There is nothing more generous than WP Smush free forever plan. You know how to use it to get started, which is a fairly easy process.

If you want other options to consider, check the other 3 plugins. They are quality ones as well, and one of them may be exactly what you need.

Tell us below which plugin you decided to go with and your experience with it. Did you notice any difference in page speed? In Google Rankings? Tell us below.

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