ShortPixel, an Image Optimization Plugin for WordPress
Do not forget the image optimization! This should be one of the Ten Commandments for the WordPress site owner or administrator. This task can be easily accomplished by using an automatic ShortPixel Image Compression service. Here we will analyze one of the most popular image optimization plugins for WordPress: ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
How ShortPixel Image Compression works?
ShortPixel compresses your images in the cloud. The plugin reads your WordPress metadata, pulls your images to its servers, where the compression takes place, and it adds them back to your Media Library. The new images replace the old ones, and your original images are kept in a backup folder so you can restore them anytime you want. If you want to store your unoptimized files locally, on your computer, you could empty the backup folder and deactivate the Image Backup function in the plugin settings.
Keep reading and you will find how this service can help you, and how much it costs if you want to use more credits than those included in the free plan.
Like any other plugin from the WordPress.org repository, ShortPixel can be installed and activated from your WP dashboard. Login to your admin account, and go straight to the Plugins section. Click Add new button, and search for “ShortPixel”. Next, click Install and Activate buttons.
The first time you open the ShortPixel settings page you will see this page:
As you see, you need an API key to validate your plugin. Sign-up for a free account, and get your activation key. After you validate your API key, you will be able to access all plugin settings pages.
ShortPixel image optimization options
Lossless, Glossy and Lossy – these are the three compression methods ShortPixel has.
Lossless was the gold standard few years ago, because it strips only the image metadata, letting the actual pixels untouched. Now, when the site loading speed is even more important, you need a more aggressive approach. Here it comes the Lossy optimization method. It also reduces the number of the pixels from an image, while the picture quality remains basically the same for the human eye.
Photographers and those who consider that picture quality is more important than size reduction, prefer a softer compression. ShortPixel has a dedicated optimization option for them: Glossy.
Lossy is the right choice for the most use cases, but if you are in doubt, you can test all these optimization methods on ShorPixel online compressor. It’s free and it can process 50 images at a time.
How to compress images with ShortPixel?
You can batch process all your existing images with the ShortPixel bulk tool page or you can compress your images individually from your Media Library. Optimize Media On Upload option from the ShortPixel Advanced settings menu is checked by default. So, your new images will be compressed automatically after you upload them to the Media Library.
ShortPixel Bulk page could help you find how many images and thumbnails need compression.
After you installed the ShortPixel plugin, the plugin will add a column in your Media Library table where you can find information about your images.
Moreover, if you turned off the automated compression and you preferred to compress your images selectively, then you are able to preview how your compress image will look.
A menu button will appear next to each of your images after the optimization. You could use it to select an optimization method for a particular image, to restore it, or to re-compress it.
Other ShortPixel settings
The default ShortPixel settings are good to go for the most users, but you could verify them to be sure that they suit your needs too.
For example, if your site is responsive and it displays different thumbnails for different displays then you have to include these images generated by WordPress to compression. Image backup is also important, and we already told you about it. CMYK to RGB conversion and Remove EXIF are other two default settings.
WebP files are pretty hip, but they are not supported by all browsers. It is your choice to use them or not, but it is good to know that ShortPixel freely generates WebP versions of your images.
if you want to generate the WebP files, then select this option before you start the optimization process.
If your website stores images outside the Media Library, then you can add them to optimization from the ShortPixel settings.
Do you need to resize your original images? Check the resize options:
Power user tool: Exclude files
Most users will not need this function, but if you have to exclude some folders or specific files from optimization, then you will appreciate it.
ShortPixel paid plans
ShortPixel is a freemium service. That means that you get something free and you need to pay for more. You will be perfectly happy with the free monthly plan if you have a small blog with a few images. But if your Media Library has many pictures or you upload a lot of media files each month, then you can purchase more credits.
There are monthly plans and one-time plans. These plans are affordable as you could check on the ShortPixel pricing page.
We also have good news for non-profit organizations: ShortPixel supports them with free image optimization credits. Contact the ShortPixel team and let them know what you do, and what are your image optimization needs. If you need more information about how to apply for their non-profit program, read this post.
When you manage a WordPress blog, there are a lot of things to care of, and it is easy to get overwhelmed by tasks and wheels to adjust. But not all of these are equal, and image optimization is one of the most important tasks you should complete. There are a few well-known tools that can automatically optimize your images, and we just presented you with a possible solution: ShortPixel Optimizer plugin for WordPress.
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