10 WordPress Plugins to Optimize Image Performance

A website without images is well, drab. You know, boring. A website with non-optimized images is a complete drag, and it will eat up your precious bandwidth, slow down just about everything and ruin the user experience (UX).

Every website owner should strive to provide the best user experience to their visitors at all times. Using heavy images that take ages to load isn’t how you deliver a streamlined user experience. And if you have heavy images on your site, you probably haven’t optimized the same for search engines. You’re losing UX and SEO points left, right and center and your online business is bearing the brunt of it all.

Today’s post will show you how to optimize your images for best site performance and SEO purposes. I mean, what’s the point of having a super-fast website that has crappy image SEO? In addition, you will discover ten (10) image optimization plugins that will improve the performance of your beloved WordPress site. Enjoy the post and share your thoughts (or anything else really) in the comments. We always look forward to that 🙂

How to Optimize Images for WordPress (Prior to Uploading)

Before looking at WordPress image optimization plugins, let’s get a few things out of the way. Optimizing WordPress images for best performance and SEO goes beyond just plugins. For instance, you have to ensure:

  • Your images are named appropriately (Great for SEO)
  • Images are the right size (Why upload a huge file when a smaller one can do the trick?)
  • You smush your images (Reduces the size of your image files)
  • You add alt and title attributes to your images (Great for SEO)

Naming Images Appropriately

You need to name your images like a marketer – or with SEO in mind. The reasoning here is quite simple: Properly named images will come up in Google Images search results, which gives you a huge boost in traffic. Moreover, properly named images are easier to track and find. For SEO: If you’re working with keywords, it would be great to include a keyword in the title of your image.

Don’t upload your images looking like PHOTO101.jpg or something similar, name all your images appropriately. Technically speaking, naming your images properly has no effect whatsoever on site performance, but it’s good for SEO.

Using Images with Proper Sizes

If you upload crazy-big images and later re-size them using HTML, I believe you’re wasting time and slowing down your WordPress site all at the same damn time. If you want to display a 300 x 300 image for instance, make sure the image measures 300 x 300 prior to uploading.

If you can make the image smaller and re-size it to 300 x 300 using HTML without compromising the quality, the better. Just don’t make your images bigger than you really need.

Smushing Images

Smushing will reduce the size of your images considerably. The process involves stripping your images of complimentary data such as gps coordinates, type of camera used and creation date among others.

Using Sprites

Sprites, a fairly-known CSS technique, allows you to use a single image to achieve different designs across your website. As opposed to loading several images (which takes time), Sprites will load a single image, saving you a lot of seconds in page load time.

Always Add the ALT attribute to Your Images

Adding the alt attribute to your images does not make your WordPress website faster, but it’s definitely good for your SEO campaign. Search engines spiders do not see your images the same way human readers do. They rely on information attached to your image (e.g. title of image and the contents of the alt attribute) to classify and ultimately rank the image.

While the alt attribute should be used to hold alternate text for an image (should the image fail to load for one reason or another, the alternate text is shown in its place), you can use this attribute for SEO purposes. You can throw in a keyword or key-phrase into the alternate text and watch as your SEO soar.

Top Ten (10) Image Optimization Plugins for WordPress

With that first part out of the way, perhaps I should stop revealing the secrets of the SEO trade and move on to the juicier part of this post; WordPress image optimization plugins!

EWWW Image Optimizer WordPress Plugin

EWWW Image Optimizer Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

With over three hundred thousand (300k) downloads and a superb rating of 4.8/5.0 stars, EWWW Image Optimizer is the image optimization plugin that will save your WordPress website. Programmed to run automatically, you can use EWWW Image Optimizer to optimize images when uploading them to your site, as well as previously uploaded images

Other than that, you can easily convert images to file formats that are smaller in size. The plugin uses the gifsicle, jpegtran, pngquant, pngout and optipng image tools to optimize your images without losing quality. Advantages of using the EWWW Image Optimizer include:

  • Faster backups
  • Web pages load faster
  • Less bandwidth usage
  • The plugin is super-fast and easy to install and use (Tried it myself)
  • Better PNG optimization
  • Etc

CW Image Optimizer WordPress Plugin

CW Image Optimizer Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

Are you looking for an efficient and secure image optimization plugin? CW Image Optimizer is your answer. CW Image Optimizer uses Linux littleutils image tool to reduce the size of your image files in turn improving the performance of your WordPress site.

Additionally, Jacob Allred – the author – wants you to know while the plugin is based on WP Smush.it, you needn’t bother yourself with Smush.it privacy policy and TOS (terms of service) since your images will never leave your server. Installing Linux littleutils can be a bit challenging for WordPress beginners, but with an impressive rating of 4.4/5.0 and over twenty thousand (20k) downloads, CW Image Optimizer is worth checking out.

WP Smush.it WordPress Plugin

WP Smush.it Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

Managed and maintained by WPMU DEV, WP Smush.it allows you to optimize images by compressing them individually in the Media Library or in bulk from the Media menu in WordPress Admin (Dashboard). WP Smush.it integrates WordPress with Smush.it API, which is the platform that enables this image optimization plugin to:

  • Strip additional data from JPEGs
  • Optimize JPEG compression
  • Convert GIFs to PNGs
  • Strip un-used colors from indexed images

WP Smush.it optimizes your images automatically behind the scenes. The plugin can optimize images as you add them to your blog, and you can optimize existing images with just a few clicks. WP Smush.it has been downloaded over 800k times, has a rating of 4.1/5.0 and you can expect great support and more features from WPMU DEV’s professional team.

Lazy Load WordPress Plugin

Lazy Load Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

Quite a name for a plugin that delivers great image optimization for better site performance. The best part is Lazy Load works out-of-the-box meaning you don’t need to configure time-consuming options. The plugin, which boasts of over eighty thousand (80k) downloads and a rating of 4.5/5.0, works automatically and uses jQuery.sonar to load images only when they’re visible to the user. Your images will appear one after the other as the user scrolls down the page.

Lazy Load is the awesome result of the combined efforts of Jake Goldman of 10up LLC, Automattic and TechCrunch. Lazy Load is a great reflection of the power of jQuery.sonar and a great image optimization plugin for WordPress.

SEO Friendly Images WordPress Plugin

SEO Friendly Images Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

If you’re lagging behind with your image SEO, you are about to discover why SEO Friendly Images is the WordPress image optimization plugin you require. Also categorized as a WordPress SEO plugin, SEO Friendly Images automatically adds the alt and title attributes to your images. Just set your alt and title options easily and your work is done!

As we saw earlier, the alt attribute is super-important to search engine optimization. The title attribute contains the text (tooltip) that appears when you mouse over an image. SEO Friendly Images was developed by Vladimir Prelovac (renowned WordPress plugin author of other popular plugins such as Smart YouTube Pro and Theme Test Drive) has a rating of 4.0/5.0 and over one million (1m) downloads.

Hammy WordPress Plugin

Hammy Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

Looking to provide an optimized image experience across multiple devices especially mobile phones? If you said yes, Hammy will interest you. Instead of reducing the size of your images, Hammy grabs images from your posts and pages and generates a couple of smaller images. When a reader get to your website, Hammy automatically serves the most appropriate image. This gives your mobile users a better experience.

The plugin relies on jQuery, but if the latter is unavailable, Hammy will fall back to the original image. This can present a problem, and perhaps it’s the sole reason why the plugin has a rating of 3.8/5.0 and about seventeen thousand (16.9k) downloads only. Hammy grabs metadata as well as alt and title attributes from the original image, which is a great plus. Unfortunately, the plugin does not support custom post types and takes quite some configuring to work.

Imsanity WordPress Plugin

Imsanity Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

Are you tired of contributors (or users) uploading imsanely huge photos? Well, you don’t have to scale down the images manually anymore because now you have Imsanity. You can easily configure max with, height and image quality that help Imsanity to keep all uploaded images in check. The plugin scales down large images to your pre-configured size and then replace the originals. The plugin comes with a bulk-resize option that takes care of previously uploaded images. Imsanity ships with other features not mentioned above and has a rating of 4.9/5.0.

Prizm Image WordPress Plugin

Prizm Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

According to Accusoft, the author, this WordPress image optimization plugin allows you to “…reduce the file size of your images by up to 70%…” without losing resolution and visual quality. With just four thousand (4k) downloads and a rating of 3.5/5.0, we can argue that Prizm Image optimization plugin is getting there step by step, or rather image by image.

Prizm Image helps you to optimize JPEG compression, optimize PNGs and GIFs, remove metadata from JPEG files and so much more. You need to register for a free Prizm Image account to use the plugin. If you ask me, this image optimization plugin looks great, but the few downloads and the less-than-four star rating is giving it a bad vibe.

PB Responsive Images WordPress Plugin

PB Responsive Images Optimization WordPress Plugin

I would have loved to say responsive web design is the future but it is right here with us, in the present. If you don’t know it already, responsive design allows you to build websites that look great on all devices irrespective of screen width.

To achieve the best outcome, your textual content as well as images must be responsive. This is where PB Responsive Images come in. The plugin reformats your images according to standard CSS media queries, offering you a great deal of flexibility. You can customize your media queries per image, per post or per layout. PB Responsive Images was developed by Jacob Dunn and Phenomblue and has a rating of 4.5/5.0.

Media File Renamer WordPress Plugin

Media File Renamer Image Optimization WordPress Plugin

You’ve probably noted an incorrectly labeled image file on your WordPress website at least once in the past. Renaming the file manually means you have to edit all the references to that image as well. If you ask me, that sounds cumbersome especially if you run a big website.

What if you could get a WordPress image optimization plugin that takes care of the heavy lifting for you? Well, guess what, Media File Renamer is just that plugin. This plugin helps you to rename your images without breaking a sweat. On top of that, Media File Renamer updates all references (links in posts and pages, src etc) automatically, which makes your work easy. You can even bulk-rename all your files at once. Just think of what this would mean for your image SEO efforts 🙂

Over to you…

You now have plenty of choices as far as WordPress image optimization plugins go. Choose one that suits your needs perfectly. If you’re willing to experiment, you can try two plugins at a time but there is no use – one image optimization plugin should be enough.

Which image optimization plugin do you use to improve performance on your WordPress website? Please share with us in the comment section below. Adios amigo!

Freddy
Post Author: Freddy

Freddy is a WordPress theme reviewer at WP Theme Raves, published WordPress blogger, web dev and founder of Vista Media Enterprises, an online business dedicated to WordPress users looking to boost conversion rates via content marketing.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. Kay van Aarssen says:
    Hi also add: Kraken.io that is the only one that supports FULL HTTPS... I use it all the time for all of my clients and its a very good plugin. With Very fast and good support form the developer.
  2. Kay van Aarssen says:
    Hi Kyla, No problem;) Its always nice to help the Community. I'm also in good contact with the developer. And did some feature requests that he already deployed. So that's awesome. And like I wrote in the comment above. The support is really awesome!
  3. My web developer created a responsive design for my WordPress website. He explained to me that I did not need an image compression tool for my responsive design is this correct?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Bruce, This is incorrect. Responsive simply means that your design is going to adapt to the size of the display in which it's viewed it doesn't mean that your images will be automatically compressed. You can go to the Google Page Insights site and enter your URL and it will tell you if you should be compressing your images or not to save on loading times (under the "Optimize images" heading).
      Admin
  4. Really helped our site out! Thanks!
  5. Ingo Zöll says:
    Hi, great tools. I'd like to add another awesome sevice for image optimisation: "TinyPNG" https://tinypng.com/ – Advanced lossy compression. It works for JPGs, too and can be included into your workflow with Photoshop Plugin or with a develover API: 1. Website interface 2. Photoshop Plugin 3. With WordPress: Plugin "Compress PNG for WP" https://wordpress.org/plugins/compress-png-for-wp/ 4. For Mac with "Automator": YouTube Tut http://youtu.be/BLqIUOoVGXQ Thanks for sharing Freddy Ingo
  6. nice plugins for image optimization..
  7. Great timeless article regarding WordPress image optimizations but I think it doesn't cover the most important aspect - quality of code. Nowadays it's not hard to find plugin with interesting functionalities. Problem is that many of them doesn't follow codex rules
    • Freddy
      That's right Tomasz...and that's why you need to source WordPress plugins from trusted sources such as the WordPress plugin repository or trusted vendors such as CodeCanyon.net
      Author
  8. Hi . Freddy , thanks for the great post. . BTW WP Smush IT discontinued service about 2 weeks ago.
  9. Web Design Miami says:
    Great tutorial here, Jim. This is an extremely important aspect of on page SEO and one that most bloggers too often overlook. Glad to see I am doing it right.
  10. Nirmal Sarkar says:
    Well, can anyone assist me about the recent (type of error) message shown by wp smush it plugin, that yahoo dev has stopped support and that they stopped their free servers...why we should purchase their premium servers for 90% off! etc etc. Is that true? Do we need to purchase anything?
  11. milkynetgalaxy says:
    While image optimizations is good, especially for indirect seo ranking, its also important to note there are other areas you can optimize for performance, thus further increasing your rank for a better chance for more views. I say this because JCH Optimize plugin, not only give you image optimization - which utilizes kraken by giving you a nice interface - but other front end optimizations: minify and combine/compress js and css, which reduces http requests and make page file smaller, decreasing the downloading time. So if plan to get a image optimization plugin and other performance optimizations plugins might as well just grab one plugin that does all.
  12. Thanks Freddy, before i used EWWW Image Optimizer and plugin deleted some of my website images. I will try another one.
  13. Do these interfere with the advantages of a cdn or does a cdn interfere with advantages of a plugin like this? Are these permanent changes so I can delete the plugin when no longer needed?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Teve, A CDN is very important and will make the biggest difference in site speed. Personally we use a CDN and don't worry too much about compression because the difference for us is very minimal. But basically your images need optimizing first (before they are uploaded to your CDN) in order for the affects to work. Depending on your CDN some of these plugins may or may not work you'll need to consult with the CDN company first to see how it works.
      Admin
  14. wordperess image optimization says:
    Thanks Freddy for providing us the 10 featuring image optimization plugins with help of this i will definitely going to enhance the performance of my WordPress site. Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job! Best Wishes!!!
  15. wordpress image optimization says:
    Thanks for sharing this information with us about WordPress plugins optimize images.I have read this blog your content is out of the funnel. It contains many important information for me. Its true due to usability a user can learn what your site is about and make use of it. Please keep sharing such information with us.
  16. huma1985 says:
    my sites speed is low due to images i install plugin don,t i can improve site speed
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Make sure image cropping is setup correctly in your theme and also that your server is powerful enough to handle the resources.
      Admin
  17. alexshortpixelAlex says:
    Freddy, what about ShortPixel optimization plugin, I believe it deservers a mention here too :-)
  18. Thanks for such lovey post. I have tried all most all plugins but didnt find any result out of it, some of them create errors while others decrease my website speed. Can you suggest some tools to compress all images from my hosting panel?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Honestly optimizing images generally won't create a noticeable affect to site speed for most people. If your site is running slow you may need to consider switching to a new WordPress host. I am not aware of any plugin for compressing images directly from your hosting panel, there may be some PHP scripts you can setup but it's going to be pretty advanced stuff. This is an older post though you may want to check out our newer post on Optimizing your Images which mentions some newer plugins/solutions.
      Admin
  19. I am regular reader of your blog and no doubt it all stuff is awesome. The best thing about your sharing and posting is that you always provide content that is helpful for both the newbie and experts. Looking for more stuff and tutorials.
  20. A well written and very informative article. A lot of designers neglect SEO options for images including the photo ID tag on the creative end. Naming an image and including it within a header and related paragraph works wonders within a webpage, and Photoshop's File Info command allows the embedding of information directly within the image file itself so no matter where it ends up, your contact and copyright information will accompany it.
  21. Thank you for the great plugin list. I was searching best image optimization plugin for my site. Finally i found it and using WP Smush. It works well as i expected.
  22. pascalbajorat says:
    Hey there, SEO Friendly Images is outdated and since more than two years not maintained. I’ve developed a similar plugin with more features, maybe someone here find it helpful: PB SEO Friendly Images beste regards Pascal
  23. Donna Wayne says:
    Thank you for the input! I just learned about image optimization from this guide and I started searching from the right tool, and I think I just found it! Thanks for the collection!
  24. Excellent suggestions. I am using Smush it on my blog for compressing images which is working well for me. Thank you very much for the writing.
    • Phil Boyd says:
      I've personally used Media File Re-Namer and I can say it works great. No problems, no issues, just does what it says.

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