5 Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins Compared [2023]

Nobody likes waiting, especially website visitors, on a slow-loading website. It’s 2023, and people shouldn’t be forced to suffer when trying to find information or make purchases. If they don’t get what they want when they want it, they’ll be more likely to bounce than convert (a.k.a. leave your website without purchasing, reading, or doing what you want them to). It’s about time you fix that with a WordPress image optimization plugin.

This article will compare the best WordPress image compression plugins and their most notable features. Let’s get started!

Why do you need an image compression tool?

If your website relies heavily on images, a quick fix to speed up your website and save some storage space at the same time is to start optimizing your images with one of the plugins we’ll look at in this post…

Still not convinced? Here’s the TL;DR of why you need WordPress image compression plugins:

  • Serving images of smaller file sizes can reduce your website’s bandwidth usage, which (in some cases, depending on your hosting company) can result in a cheaper hosting bill at the end of the month.
  • Faster page loading times mean fewer visitors bounce before interacting with your content or purchasing your products/services.
  • Don’t give search engines a good reason to hate your website and make it rank lower among other similar websites.

Alright – if that wasn’t enough to convince you, then I don’t know what will, but you’re the one who’s missing out, not us 😁

In this post, we’ll compare the five best WordPress image optimization plugins to help you decide which one to use on your website.

Introduction – WordPress Image Optimization Plugins

Before we jump into our detailed analysis, here’s the rundown for those who don’t have time to stick around for the whole post.

ShortPixelOptiMoleImagifyWP SmushWP Compress
PricingFree or starting at $4.99/moFree or starting at $19.08/moFree or starting at $9.99/moFree or starting at $6/moFree or starting at $9/mo

In-Depth Comparison of the five best image optimization plugins

Our first comparison will be a results-based approach.

You may think most WordPress image optimization plugins will result in the same (or similar) file size reductions, but let’s see if that’s true.

Image compression can be either lossy or lossless. Lossless compression reduces file sizes by identifying and eliminating what is known as statistical redundancies – resulting in little to no loss of quality.

On the other hand, lossy image compression reduces file sizes by removing unnecessary and less critical information – which, in some cases, reduces perceived image quality.

Some of these image compressor plugins provide automatic image resizing, another method that can be used to reduce your image file size on top of actual compression.

Compression reduces the file size by removing any unnecessary image data. In contrast, resizing reduces the dimensions of the image your website visitors will be served, which inherently reduces the file size even further.

So, to make this a fair and effective comparison, we will optimize the two images below with each plugin to see how they perform.

I’m using the same original files to test each plugin, which I believe is a reasonable balance of stress testing the strength of these WordPress plugins for image optimization while also using a file of a size typically uploaded to WordPress websites.

JPEG files: Optimization Results Comparison

The original image we used to conduct our tests.
Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
ShortPixel4.3 MB119 KB~97%
OptiMole4.3 MB805 KB~80%
Imagify4.3 MB802 KB~81%
WP Smush4.3 MB262 KB~94%
WP Compress4.3 MB217 KB~95%

When we look at these plugins in-depth, we will use the JPEG image compression tests as the main point of comparison since it is the most common file format.

However, here’s a comparison for those interested in PNG images:

PNG files: Optimization Results Comparison

image test
The original image that we used in our PNG compression tests

WordPress Image Compression – plugin results comparison

Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
ShortPixel8.2 MB417.21 KB~95%
OptiMole8.2 MB2.5 MB~70%
Imagify8.2 MB1.5 MB~82%
WP Smush8.2 MB1.2 MB~85%
WP Compress8.2 MB704 KB~91%

1. ShortPixel

WordPress image optimization plugin

ShortPixel can easily be considered the most popular and effective WordPress image optimization and compression plugin currently available.

Here are some of ShortPixel’s most notable features:

  • Supports both lossy and lossless compression.
  • Supports JPG, PNG, GIF & PDF files.
  • ShortPixel also works with Shopify (not just WordPress).
  • Restore the original image at any time.
  • Compress your entire WordPress Media Library in a single click.
  • Automatically compress newly uploaded images.
  • No file size limit.
  • Save and keep a backup of your original images in a separate folder.
  • Option to optimize all images (thumbnail images) or just the original image.
  • Choose whether to keep or remove the EXIF tag of the image.

As you might have already heard, Modula directly integrates with ShortPixel. All Basic, Duo, and Pro license holders get free access to their blazing-fast content delivery network and on-the-fly image compression – read more about all that here.

ShortPixel: The Overall Experience


Suppose you want to optimize the rest of the images in your WordPress media library or aren’t using Modula and don’t have access to our on-the-fly image optimization. In that case, you can do so using the ShortPixel plugin. This image compressor is exceptionally user-friendly and gives you up to 100 free image optimizations per month with no cap on the file sizes of those images.

My experience with ShortPixel has been fantastic; I couldn’t ask for more. And, as a team, we love and endorse ShortPixel, which is why we’ve integrated ShortPixel image optimization and StackPath’s content delivery network into an extension for Modula Pro – our awesome WordPress gallery plugin. It might be worth noting that there are also other plugins, such as the Autoptimize plugin, which conveniently includes ShortPixel’s on-the-fly image optimization.

ShortPixel: Results

Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
ShortPixel4.3 MB119.5 KB~97%

In our JPEG image compression test, ShortPixel outperformed every other picture compressor plugin we looked at in this post with an impressive 97% reduction in file size. In a close second was WP Compress, which still managed to compress the image by an incredible 95%.

In our PNG image compression test, ShortPixel outperformed all other plugins in this comparison. WPCompress came close second and was just 4% behind. It might be worth noting that ShortPixel has an even more ingenious method of compressing images for your website, which is to convert them from PNG images into JPEG images, which is why they can produce more significant reductions in file sizes.

Considering that, we think ShortPixel is the best PNG compressor and JPEG optimizer.

ShortPixel: Cloudflare Integration


Not using Cloudflare or don’t know what it is? Here’s what you need to know.

Cloudflare makes your website faster.

Cloudflare has 100s of data centers worldwide, which it uses to serve your websites from the server closest to the visitor accessing your site. Content is pushed from what is known as your origin server to Cloudflare’s network of data centers worldwide so that when a visitor tries to access your website, the request isn’t routed directly to your origin server but to one of Cloudflare’s many servers.

There are two reasons this benefits you – it, for one, obviously makes your website load faster because Cloudflare’s server is statistically more likely to be located close to your target demographic. And also because this reduces the load on your origin server.

You’re likely hosting a website with a web host that isn’t the best hosting in the world and, therefore, doesn’t have dedicated vCPUs and memory assigned to it.

If every visitor that tried to access your site would access it from one server (your origin server), it would accumulate a massive load compared to distributing the load over Cloudflare’s extensive network of servers worldwide.

Cloudflare improves your website’s uptime

With Cloudflare’s Always Online technology, your site will remain online even if your actual (origin) server incurs some error. As we mentioned earlier, Cloudflare also protects your site from downtime by reducing the load/traffic that reaches your origin server by distributing the traffic across its massive network of servers worldwide.

How do I activate Cloudflare?

Cloudflare can easily be activated by navigating to your domain registrar and changing to the nameservers that Cloudflare will have assigned to you when you register on their website. By doing this, Cloudflare will automatically recognize your domain, copy your existing domain records, and reroute all traffic through their network before it reaches your edge server. But, this process might soon become easier as you may have heard that Cloudflare is announcing their registrar – something I can certainly say I’m looking forward to.

ShortPixel: The Verdict

  • Support for Shopify (and other PHP frameworks) as well as WordPress
  • Tight Cloudflare Integration
  • Supports all file types
  • Up to 100 images per month (with no limit on size) completely free

ShortPixel is my favorite image optimizer plugin, and I hope I’ve been able to express that in this review. Their free plan includes 100 images per month with no limit on file sizes, a plan many part-time bloggers will never grow out of…

2. Optimole

WordPress image optimization plugin
OptiMole – Image Optimization on Autopilot

Looking for a free photo optimizer? Next up, OptiMole.

OptiMole is made by the developers of ThemeIsle and is an all-in-one image optimization solution for WordPress websites. It is entirely cloud-based, which means that it won’t hog any of your server’s valuable CPU, which would slow your website down for your visitors.

The great thing about OptiMole is that it also optimizes images on the fly based on the visitor’s browser and viewport, so they’re not served any larger than they need to be.

Notable OptiMole features:

  • Fully automatic image optimization.
  • Serves images of the correct size based on the visitor’s browser and viewport.
  • Serves images via a blazing-fast content delivery network.
  • It uses lazy loading to speed up your website’s page loading times.
  • 100% cloud-based processing (no CPU usage/load)
  • Compatibility with new and popular page builders
  • Automatically compress image quality based on website visitor internet connection speeds.

OptiMole: The Overall Experience

Installing the OptiMole is as easy as it gets. Install the plugin, activate it, and enter your API key when you head to Media > OptiMole in your WordPress admin dashboard.

The OptiMole Menu Item in the WordPress Admin Dashboard

You’ll then be taken straight to OptiMole’s settings, where you can customize how you want the plugin to handle the optimization and compression of your images.

The OptiMole Dashboard

I prefer the OptiMole user experience over any other plugins on this list. It is extremely clean, lean, and easy to use. The admin area is highly aesthetic and makes configuring the plugin nice and easy.

In case you’re not sure what level of compression to choose, OptiMole includes a neat demo of what an example/demo looks like before and after compression with each level so that you can make an informed decision. It is undoubtedly one of the best image compressors for WordPress.

Here’s what that looks like:


You might notice when using OptiMole that it doesn’t offer a way of immediately optimizing an image from the WordPress Media Library. This isn’t a huge deal, especially since the plugin’s purpose is to handle everything behind the scenes without you having to lift a finger. However, I thought it was worth mentioning in this comparison since the other image optimizer plugins offer that functionality.

OptiMole: Results

Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
OptiMole4.3 MB805 KB~80%

In our test, OptiMole did come in last place, just 1% behind Imagify (coming up next), which is interesting, to say the least. An image of 4.3 MB was compressed to 805 KB, which is impressive considering there was no noticeable visible difference between optimized and unoptimized images. This is something that can be extremely important to a lot of website visitors and owners who want to do their images justice.

In many ways, simply using the image file size reductions doesn’t make a fair comparison. OptiMole makes your images weigh up to 80% less and speeds them up using various methods while still letting you serve great-looking and high-quality images to your website visitors.

OptiMole: The Verdict

Amazing and aesthetic lazy-loading effect

The OptiMole lazy-loading mechanism doesn’t require jQuery or bloated JavaScript libraries, resulting in faster website speeds.

Easy-to-use interface and configuration

OptiMole’s plugin is excellent to work with and makes image optimization and compression an afterthought (like it should be) so you can focus on producing content.

Adjusts image sizes based on visitor viewport for the fastest possible mobile speeds.

All visitors will see images tailor-optimized to fit their specific screen – for better performance and experience.

If one of your website visitors is on a low-quality internet connection, such as a 3G data connection, when using a mobile device, OptiMole automatically downgrades the image quality accordingly.

100% cloud-based

OptiMole does not hog your CPU power, as it would be pointless to optimize photos in such a way that would result in a slower website due to increased CPU usage.

If showing off a fast-loading website, having happy website visitors, and pleasing Google are important, you can’t go wrong with OptiMole – as long as you’re willing to pay the $19.08/month price tag.

Considering the plugin’s ease of use, compression results, and OptiMole also includes Cloudfront’s blazing-fast content delivery network and the best lazy-loading ever at that price – it’s worth it.

3. Imagify

WordPress image optimization plugin

The team behind the Imagify plugin is also the team behind the famous (and arguably the best) WordPress caching and speed optimization plugin, WP Rocket.

As you’d expect, Imagify is a bulk image compressor and a free image size reducer.

Imagify offers three different types of compression and lets you choose the one that is most suitable for the type of website you run:

  1. Normal: A lossless compression algorithm that will not result in any loss in image quality.
  2. Aggressive: A lossy compression algorithm that will result in a slight reduction in image quality, which most of the time may not be noticeable or is worth the sacrifice to make your website load faster.
  3. Ultra: The strongest compression algorithm (also lossy, of course) that makes your images as small as possible.

The great thing about choosing one of the above is that with Imagify’s backup functionality, you can always restore the original image and switch to another compression level that you feel might be more suitable.

Here are some of Imagify’s most notable features:

  • Supports JPG, WebP, animated GIFs, JPEG, and PNG image files.
  • On-the-fly image optimization.
  • Support for PrestaShop, Magento, Shopify, and Joomla is also coming soon.

Images that exceed Imagify’s 5 MB limit will only be optimized and resized on paid accounts. A free account will let you optimize up to 25 MB every month.

Paid plans start at $9.99/month for only 1 GB of data.

Imagify: The Overall Experience

The Imagify plugin is pretty easy to set up, and just like for other plugins, you’re prompted to create a free account to get your API key. The plugin options are kept nice and simple, so once you finish choosing your preferred settings, you can start optimizing and speeding up your website immediately.

Just like with OptiMole, this image optimizer plugin lets you test an image with varying levels of compression on their website’s visual comparison tool before you make your decision.

Imagify: Results

Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
Imagify4.3 MB802 KB~81%

In our test, Imagify produced an image of almost identical size when compared to OptiMole. Looking closely at the table above, it looks like Imagify came out on top by just 1%.

Just like we said for OptiMole, the fact that Imagify was able to compress the image by 81% with little to no noticeable difference is still really impressive.

Modula Gallery Plugin

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Imagify: Verdict

  • Support for virtually every platform you could imagine (PrestaShop, Magento, Shopify, and Joomla)
  • Strong compression that massively reduces file sizes.
  • Easy-to-use settings and configuration.

Overall, Imagify is another personal favorite WordPress image optimizer on this list, and it’s safe to say that we’re in safe hands just based on the fact that the same team behind WP Rocket operates it.

Unfortunately, Imagify is considerably more expensive than OptiMole for the same number of images per month, and if the price is one of your primary considerations, the clear winner when comparing Imagify and OptiMole for you is OptiMole.

4. WP Smush

WordPress image optimization plugin

Let’s look at WP Smush, possibly WordPress’s most popular image compression plugin. The WPMU DEV team develops the tool, making it easy to quickly optimize images in JPG and PNG format on your WordPress website.

WP Smush: The Overall Experience

The free image compressor is excellent, but you can easily upgrade to the Pro version, which offers a broader range of features that simplify the image optimization process. However, keep in mind that this will need a WPMU DEV membership, which, in case you don’t already know, costs $15.83 per month (although it also comes bundled with many other useful plugins for your WordPress websites).


As is possible for the next best WordPress image optimizer on this list, WP Compress, with WP Smush, you can also optimize images directly from the WordPress Media Library, which is highly convenient.

WP Smush: WordPress Media Library

WP Smush: Results

Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
WP Smush4.3 MB262 KB~94%

In our test, WP Smush’s image compression also resulted in massive reductions in file size. It might also be worth noting that in our PNG optimization test, WP Smush Pro converted the PNG image we used into a WebP file, which is the new next-gen format Google recommends.

Learn more about the advantages of serving images in next-gen image formats from Google.

ShortPixel, the first plugin in this post, also offers conversions to newer file formats such as WebP.

WP Smush: The Verdict

  • Requires a WPMU DEV membership, which is expensive.
  • Your WPMU DEV membership will include a whole range of other plugins that will help you improve and optimize your website, so it’s a win-win for you (but not for your wallet 😉 )
  • Easy-to-use settings and configuration.
  • WP Smush Pro can convert images to the WebP format.

WP Smush is a great WordPress image optimization plugin that (just like the other plugins in this list) makes it easy to speed up your website by compressing your images.

While the price tag might turn you off, we encourage you to look at everything you get with a WPMU DEV membership because you might change your mind – you get many useful, powerful plugins and access to great support.

5. WP Compress

WordPress image optimization plugin
WP Compress – Image Optimization for Agencies

WP Compress is another WordPress image optimization plugin worth including in this in-depth comparison. It’s the only plugin with a central optimization management portal you can use to manage your API keys and websites.

The WP Compress plugin targets WordPress design/development agencies who want to offer their clients image optimization as a service (and charge them accordingly).

The portal available at https://app.wpcompress.com/ makes it very easy to see how many images each website optimizes (client quotas) and the average file size reductions that WP Compress’s image compression resulted in.


Watch your clients’ websites constantly load faster, rank higher, and convert better – without you having to lift a finger.

WP Compress: The Overall Experience

Overall, WP Compress is the best WordPress image optimizer plugin with an easy-to-use interface as you would expect it to be. As it’s designed for agency owners to offer to clients, the plugin can essentially be configured and then wholly ignored after that, as it will handle image optimization on autopilot.


But, if a client were to go to the WordPress Media Library to view the images they’ve uploaded to their website, they can see the percentage and file size savings of the WP Compress optimization as shown below:

WPCompress in the WordPress Media Library

If, for any reason, the image wasn’t already optimized, you would be able to optimize it. Suppose you wish to restore the original image because you would prefer to serve it in full resolution. In that case, you can always exclude an image from optimization, meaning that WP Compress will essentially ignore that image until you choose to optimize it again manually.

This is a helpful feature because there are always a few images you would prefer to serve in full resolution for the best viewing experience, even if it slightly reduces website speed.

WP Compress’s Exclude Option in the WordPress Media Library

WP Compress: Results

Image Optimization PluginOriginal File SizeFile Size after OptimizationPercentage Reduction
WP Compress4.3 MB217 KB~95%

In our test, WP Compress came just ahead of Imagify and OptiMole by compressing the image a whopping 94%. The plugin was set to intelligent, while the other WordPress image optimization plugins in this list were set to their highest compression levels, respectively.

However, in the PNG optimization tests, it outperformed all other plugins in this comparison.


OptiMole came in tied first place with Imagify (coming up next), which is fantastic. An image of 4.3 MB was compressed to 102 KB, which is impressive, considering there is no noticeable visible difference between optimized and unoptimized images.

WP Compress: The Verdict

WP Compress is a great WordPress image optimization plugin for WordPress design and development agencies, and while it does look quite expensive at first – it isn’t.

All thumbnails are free – so you get an unbelievable 1,000 images for only $9 monthly.

I like this free photo compressor because it makes image optimization an afterthought. Once you install it and choose your settings, you don’t need to worry about and waste time optimizing each image individually.

Honorable Mention: TinyPNG

WordPress image optimization plugin

When writing posts just like this one, it’s important to us that we cover every possible angle and try to include as many perspectives as possible.

Someone recommended that we include the TinyPNG WordPress image optimization plugin because they’ve used it for over five years and never had any issues. Best of all, TinyPNG’s Compress JPEG and PNG images plugin is completely free.

This means it might not only be perfect for those of you on a budget but also be great if you aren’t looking for all the fancy features that some of the other plugins offer and want a no-frills image optimization plugin that you don’t have to worry about.

At the end of the day, image optimization can only help your website load faster; it won’t save you from slow, low-quality hosting. But don’t worry; we also post about hosting for photographers on our blog just for you.

Conclusion: WordPress Image Compression and Optimization.

To be as transparent as possible and genuinely promote the products we endorse, let’s go through the image optimization and compression workflow I use to ensure that my websites load as fast as possible.

When choosing an image to add to a post or page on our website, we ensure we have the right to use the image we intend to use. Then, we download it in the highest possible resolution available without taking a screenshot.

Once ready to upload the image to a WordPress website, I first optimize them locally with ImageOptim. This generally results in an up to 80% reduction in file size alone, which is incredible. Then, once we upload them to our website, we let the Modula Speed Up addon work its magic on our Modula demos (like this lightbox gallery demo).

On top of that, we also use Kinsta to ensure we are doing everything we can to make our website load faster. This comes with a built-in content delivery network powered by KeyCDN, which serves out webpages and media from powerful edge servers, ensuring fast speeds globally due to distributed points of presence.

I’m a massive fan of ShortPixel because of the built-in support for next-gen image formats like WebP.

ImageOptim is perfect if you don’t want to add another WordPress plugin to your website. It’s also the best way to optimize your images locally before uploading them to your website.

However, considering my personal experiences, ShortPixel is the best WordPress image optimizer plugin, especially given that the free plan will likely be sufficient for most website owners.

And if you run a WordPress design/development agency, I can also strongly recommend WP Compress. On the other hand, if you care about satisfying Google by serving images in next-gen image formats, WP Smush (by WPMU DEV) is worth considering, as long as you’re willing to pay for the hefty price tag.

Lossy compression for even smaller files

If you enable lossy minification, you’ll get the smallest file sizes possible and, in turn, the fastest website loading times possible. By default, ImageOptim preserves image quality to avoid reducing the quality of your images. But, if you’re willing to make a small sacrifice, the option is always there. ImageOptim’s lossy compression also works for GIF and PNG images (not only JPEGs).

We choose to make this small sacrifice of image quality to ensure we don’t keep website visitors waiting (you’re welcome).

We hope we’ve made it easier for you to choose your go-to WordPress image optimization plugin and save your website visitors from a slow-loading website!

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Cristian Raiber

Self-taught entrepreneur with a deep passion for learning, understanding human nature and what drives businesses forward. Our products are being used by over 7500,000 users, daily.


  1. The pricing in your comparison table is incorrect.
    For using the commercial version of WP Smush you don’t pay $4.99 per month, but $49.00

  2. Great and very useful article, As per my experience Autoptimize is one of the best plugin created for optimizing a website to increase speed. While there are various setting you can optimize, catch, CSS, HTML, javascript, fixing rendring-block issue etc but make sure to backup your all original files in case anything break so you should have the restore files. I am using this plugin from quite a long time for my website and am quite happy.

  3. Thank you so much for this write-up Alex. Our new site, brightrpayments.com was released very quickly, just in time for a conference, with zero thought to load speeds and such. It’s also very heavily image-based so I am literally looking to purchase a tool today so we can get to work on our site. I acknowledge you for being one of the few sites I’ve read similar comparisons on that don’t seem to have an agenda or favorite (image) child. Excellent work. –and it’s still SO hard to choose. 🙂 Oh, I also wanted to point out that unless I’m missing something Smush is starting at $5.83/mo for a single site. While it seems you can choose their $49/mo plan, I’m not noticing it as a requirement. Is there something I’m overlooking?

  4. Thanks for the great review — a client asked me about image compression and this survey hits all the high points. I’d been planning to recommend Imagify but it’s time to reassess ShortPixel.

    Just a head’s up that while it doesn’t perform as well as ShortPixel, Imagify now includes WebP compression plus support code for sending it to the right browsers. Microsoft’s Edge has joined Chrome, Opera, and Firefox in rendering WebP, so not supporting the format might become a showstopper for optimizing plugins.

    Meanwhile, I didn’t know WP Compress had an agency model. That’s very interesting! Thanks again!

  5. Thanks for this detailed content.
    I’ve got a question if I upload a picture after compressing through Compressor.io, how much percent short pixel will compress more?

    • You should never compress an image twice. That’s the fastest way of destroying the image’s quality and/or introducing artifacts.

      More so, the gains would be minimal, if any.

  6. PNG images that are up to 10 times larger than the JPEG version would have been significantly slowing down websites. Gowebp has an option to automatically convert PNGs to JPEGs and will only do this if the resulting image is smaller than the original. This allows our users to just set up the plugin and then forget about it because the best image format will automatically be used.

    • All of the plugins mentioned in this listicle can already do that John. That’s not a feature per-se in 2022.

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