Last week we looked at housekeeping options for keeping your WordPress install well maintained and running smoothly. One of the sections in that article was devoted to dealing with old images that are hanging out taking up space but not actually being used for anything. You can check in there to see the solutions we came up with, but at the end of the day those options aren’t terribly satisfying. You’re either deleting images that you know aren’t attached to posts and pages and hoping they aren’t used anywhere else, or you’re using a plugin that, at least judging from its reviews, is pretty hit or miss (to be fair though, it did work for me).
Surely there are other options for dealing with WordPress images? I think we’ve found one. If you can’t beat ‘em…. shrink ‘em? What follows are a sampling of WordPress image plugins that will help shrink the size of your media library and optimize your images in the process!
WordPress Image Plugins
Compress JPEG & PNG Images resizes images uploaded to your media library, then runs them through their TinyJPG or Tiny PNG service for optimization and passes the finished product back to you. You’ll need to create a free account with them and get an API key to link them to your website. They’ll handle 100 images a month for you via a free account, and have a premium service if you need more.
- Automatically optimize new images on upload.
- Optimize individual images already in your media library.
- Easy bulk optimization of your existing media library.
- Resize large original images by setting a maximum width and/or height.
- Preserve copyright metadata, creation date and GPS location in the original images.
- Select which thumbnail sizes of an image may be optimized.
- Multisite support with a single API key.
- WooCommerce compatible.
- No file size limits.
WP Smush also sends each image already in your media library and each new uploaded image to a remote server for optimization and resizing. The server in their case is run by the WPMU DEV team, and optimized images are transferred back to your site after processing. They also have a pro version if the free WordPress image plugins aren’t cutting it for you.
- Optimize your images using advanced lossless compression techniques.
- Process JPEG, GIF and PNG image files.
- Auto-smush your attachments on upload.
- Manually smush your attachments individually in the media library, or in bulk 50 attachments at a time.
- Smush all standard web-sized images 1MB or smaller.
- View advanced compression stats per-attachment and library totals.
The EWWW Image optimizer plugin specializes in reducing image sizes without impacting the quality of the image. They also handle image optimization through the TinyJPG and TinyPNG servers, but the focus of the plugin seems to be on their lossless/lossy method of image format conversion, resulting in the size of your media library shrinking while image quality stays the same.
- Faster page load times
- Faster backups
- Less bandwidth usage
- JPG and PNG image optimization
- No root access required
- Specify your own folders to be scanned for image optimization
CW Image Optimizer reduces image file sizes using Linux image optimization programs. Their plugin is based on the WP Smush plugin, but unlike WP Smush, your images are not sent to a third party for optimization. Instead, optimization and resizing takes place locally in your WordPress install using Linux littleutils image optimization tools.
- Optimization is handled locally
- Faster page loads
- Faster backups
- Less bandwidth usage
Don’t be put off by the creepy image here, Imsanity is pretty cool. It definitely wins the best image award for WordPress image plugins! Their focus is solely on, besides creeping the heck out of everyone who visits their plugin page, configurable resizing of images. Set an image size you want, and any uploaded image thereafter will be resized to fit, without losing picture quality. There’s also an option to bulk resize your existing images as well. The only drawback here is that there doesn’t appear to be image optimization apart from the resize feature.
- Automatically scales large image uploads to a more “sane” size
- Bulk-resize feature to selectively resize existing images
- Allows configuration of max width/height and jpg quality
- Optionally converts BMP files to JPG so image can be scaled
- Once enabled, Imsanity requires no actions on the part of the user
- Uses WordPress built-in image scaling functions
Prizm is the upstart of the bunch here, being a growing but fully fleshed out image optimization plugin. They’re operated by a company called Accusoft, and are competitive with their larger brethren. You’ll need to register for a free account that handles up to 1,000 images a month through their Accusoft servers. They have no file size limit for the images you send them.
- Optimize JPEG compression
- Strip metadata from all JPEGs (except for copyrights)
- Convert between Progressive JPEGs and Sequential JPEGs
- Optimize PNGs
- Optimize GIFs
Another small but scrappy contender in the WordPress image plugins optimization market, the ShortPixel Image Optimizer plugin brings a lot of features to the table. They offer virtually all of the optimization advantages of the bigger plugins, lossy/lossless conversion and metadata removal. Best of all, they feature 24 hour support directly from the developers and offer a live demo on their plugin page. I may just have saved the best for last on this one… and it gets better!
- 24h support directly from the developers
- compress JPG, PNG, GIF (still and animated) images and PDF documents
- optimize thumbnails as well as featured images
- featured images can be rescaled before being optimized.
- easily test lossy/lossless versions of the images
- great for photographers: keep or remove EXIF data from your images
- no file size limit
- works well with both HTTPS and HTTP websites
- it is safe to test and use the plugin: all the original images can be restored with a click
- ‘Bulk’ optimize existing images with one click
- 40 days optimization report with all image details and overall statistics
- works great for eCommerce websites using WooCommerce plugin
So yeah, if you can’t beat ‘em, shrink ‘em. Until WordPress implements a way to easily remove unused images from your WordPress install, one of these WordPress image plugins is probably the safest bet you have. I hope you’ve been able to take something useful from this! If you have another plugin you’d like to recommend, please don’t hesitate to tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts!