Photos, graphics, and images are a huge part of the internet today. Although the average internet user has a pretty good connection, large image files can still impact page load speed, especially for mobile users.
Photos and images that you use on your website should be optimized, which minimizes the file size of the image and allows it to load faster. There is a fine balance between minimizing the file size of an image and preserving the quality of the image. You don’t want to reduce the file size so aggressively that it damages the quality of the image, but most images can be significantly optimized with no noticeable impact on the quality.
Why Image Optimization is Important
Image optimization is important because of its impact on the loading speed of your pages, and the loading speed of your pages is important for a few different reasons.
Impact on User Experience
First, if you want to provide users with the best experience on your website, page load speed should be a concern. The slower your page loads, the worse the experience will be for the visitor. And the faster your page loads, the better the experience will be for the visitor.
Impact on Average Pageviews Per Visitor and Session Length
Second, if your pages load slowly, many visitors will leave your site and not come back. The speed of your pages can directly impact the average number of pageviews per visitor and the average session length from your website’s visitors. Visitors will be more likely to stay on your site and visit multiple pages if your site loads quickly.
Impact on SEO
Third, page load speed can be a factor in Google search ranking algorithms. Faster-loading pages are not only better for visitors, but they are also better for search engine optimization. It may not be the most significant SEO factor, but it is a factor nonetheless, and it should be addressed if you want to maximize your search engine traffic (and I’m sure that you do).
Best Image Optimizers
Now that you’re convinced of the need to optimize your images, let’s take a look at 10 of the best options.
ShortPixel is a SaaS option with image optimization offered via an API and can be used through several different tools, including a WordPress plugin.
- Both lossless and lossy optimization
- Up to 90% compression rate
- Support for JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF and more
- Privacy for all processed files
- Optimization of old and new images
For WordPress users, implementing ShortPixel is very straightforward thanks to the WordPress plugin. All new images will be automatically processed and you can set it to optimize older images as well. You’ll have the option to store the original images in a backup folder so they can be restored in the future if needed.
ShortPixel offers several different pricing plans, including a free version. With the free plan, you can optimize up to 100 images per month. Paid plans start at $4.99 per month and go up from there based on the number of images that you need to optimize.
Like ShortPixel, Imagify offers a WordPress plugin but it is not exclusively for WordPress. Non-WordPress users can use the Imagify API.
Imagify gives you full control over the level of optimization of your images, with helpful stats in your dashboard to see how much your images have been compressed.
- Optimize all your images
- Resize your images (JPGs, PNGs, and GIFs)
- Restore your original images, if needed
Simplicity is one of the primary focuses of Imagify. That means that the service is easy to use with virtually no learning curve.
Imagify offers a free plan that provides 25MB of data per month. Pricing starts at $4.99 for 1GB of data per month (approximately 10,000 images) and goes up from there based on your needs.
3. Smush Pro
Smush Pro is a WordPress plugin from WPMU DEV. Unlike ShortPixel and Imagify, Smush Pro is exclusively for WordPress.
With Smush Pro you can:
- Compress and optimize JPG, PNG, GIF, and WebP files
- Automatically resize and rescale images
- Optimize all the existing images on your site with one click
- Automatically optimize new images as they are uploaded
- Use their 45 point CDN to deliver images even faster
- Quickly restore originals at any time, if needed
- Use lazy load to defer the loading of offscreen images
Smush Pro is different from the other options covered in this article in terms of pricing. There is a limited free plugin available, but in order to get all of the features of Smush Pro, you will need a WPMU membership, which costs $49 per month. Membership will provide you with hosting, access to many different premium plugins (including Smush Pro), enhanced security, and more. It’s hard to compare the price of Smush Pro to the other options in this article because it is part of a much bigger package.
Kraken.io is an image optimizer and compressor that can be used with WordPress, but has not been created exclusively for WordPress. You can use the web interface for free to compress images, get a Pro membership to get access to the API, as well as WordPress and Magento plugins.
Kraken.io offers lossy and lossless optimization, as well as an expert mode that gives you more control. It will also resize images to dimensions that you specify.
The free version is extremely effective, but probably not efficient if you are going to be using it on a frequent basis due to the manual effort. With the Pro version and the WordPress plugin, your new images will be automatically optimized going forward. You can also use the bulk optimization tool to compress and optimize the existing images on your site.
The Pro version of Kraken.io starts at $5 per month, which gives you 500MB of images every month.
JPEG Optimizer is a simple, effective tool, even if it looks outdated. It’s a free tool with no premium version.
Because there is no WordPress plugin and no API available, JPEG Optimizer is not the best option for users that need to optimize and compress images on a regular basis (like bloggers who publish new content frequently). But if you have some images that you want to optimize one time without signing up for a service, this can be a great option.
It’s a very simple tool with only a few options. You’ll select the file to optimize, choose the compression level (0 – 99, with a default setting of 65), and you can optionally resize the file as well. That’s it. It’s a great option for small scale use.
EWWW Image Optimizer is a popular option that offers a free WordPress plugin. This free plugin is also extremely easy to use. All you have to do is set it up and it will automatically compress and optimize new PNG, JPG, GIF, and PDF files as they are uploaded to your site. The plugin also offers the option to optimize existing images already on the site.
EWWW also offers a premium service with additional features and up to 80% compression. Easy IO costs $9 per month and includes features like a CDN to deliver your images even faster.
7. Tiny PNG
Tiny PNG is fairly similar to JPEG Optimizer. It’s a simple tool that offers a free version that is excellent for one-time use, but not as ideal as some of the other options for users that are frequently publishing new content.
You can use Tiny PNG to quickly compress PNG or JPG files, up to 20 images at a time. There is a Pro version that allows you to optimize more than 20 images at a time (up to 25 MB in total) for a cost of $25 per year. However, there is no WordPress plugin and no API, so it’s a very manual process.
Image Recycle offers free optimization and compression of images and PDFs, but the free version is limited. With a paid membership you’ll get access to the API, as well as plugins for WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and Joomla.
In addition to optimizing, Image Recycle will also resize images if you choose.
Pricing for the membership starts at just $10 (one-time payment), which allows you to optimize 1GB of content, or around 10,000 images. Those purchased credits will be available for one year.
Jpeg.io is different than any of the other tools covered in this article. It’s fairly simple, but can be very useful in the right situation. You can upload many different types of files (including PSD, TIFF, EPS, SVG, and more) and it will produce an optimized JPEG version of the file.
It’s free to use and there are no premium or pro versions available.
Imsanity is a free WordPress plugin that is also different than the other options covered here. Imsanity does not compress or optimize your images, but it does resize them. Many WordPress users upload images that are much larger than necessary, which create file sizes that are too large and slow down pages. Imsanity will automatically resize images according to the settings that you control. You can use the bulk feature to resize images that have already been uploaded.
Choosing the Best Option
Now that we’ve looked at 10 of the best options for optimizing images on your website, it’s time to decide which one is best for you. Here are a few key things to keep in mind.
Are You Using WordPress?
Some of the options covered in this article offer a WordPress plugin. If you’re a WordPress user you will almost certainly want to make use of one of these plugins, because it will make it easy and quick to handle compression and optimization going forward. The plugins work in the background so it takes no extra manual effort on your part.
Free vs. Premium
Are you able and willing to pay at least a few dollars per month, or do you need to stick to a free version? There are some good options that are available for free, however, most of the paid tools have pricing that starts at just a few dollars per month and can save you time.
Number of Images to Optimize
Most of the paid plans are based on the number of images or MBs of data to be processed. Be sure that you are selecting a tool and a plan that will meet your needs.