Speed up Your Website by Optimizing Your Images: ShortPixel vs EWWW vs Imagify vs Smush

Why is image compression necessary?

When images are too large, it not only slows down site load times, but it can also affect your SEO.

There are a few reasons why images can bog down your load time. One is that the files are often just too big. Using smaller images can increase your load time, but this may not be enough. Slow website performance can also be affected by too many images. This is why it’s so important to optimize the photos that convey exactly who you are to viewers. Be judicious and efficient with your image choices and make the most of the space on your pages.

WordPress has a robust offering of image compression plugins, so many that it may be challenging to know which one is right for your site. In this article we will compare four popular image compression plugins and help you decide which one is best for your site.



EWWW logo


Don’t be fooled by the name. It isn’t the “ewww” we use when we experience something disgusting. EWWW actually stands for Exactly WWW. EWWW Image Optimizer automatically compresses new images uploaded to your media gallery and optimizes current photos on your website. Also, you can have EWWW IO convert files into better formats for faster load times.

The main issue with EWWW is that you need to override configuration options in your wp_config file manually. This can be a dangerous proposition if you aren’t familiar with manually entering code. One of the drawbacks of EWWW is that it only compresses your images and files by about 20%. That isn’t much when you consider the potential total number of files on your website.

In addition, you will have to purchase a subscription to access all the bells and whistles this plugin provides.

Imagify logo


Imagify is made by the same people who made WP Rocket, a plugin to optimize your entire website. Imagify provides a wide range of compression features, from bulk compression to automatic compression. You can select from three different types of compression, Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra. Each of these options compresses images and files up to 70% without sacrificing quality.

There are some downsides to using Imagify. One is that you have to register an account with them. The other is that the free plugin limits you to 25MB of image data. This again limits the number and size of photos you’re allowed to compress. There is also a paid version of Imagify, which allows for unlimited image size compression.

Smush logo


One of the first compression plugins on the WordPress scene, Smush has kept up with the times by frequently updating the plugin. One of the most significant benefits of the plugin is that it automatically compresses your images as soon as the plugin is installed and activated. Any new images uploaded will be automatically “smushed” and optimized for your site load speed.

The free version of Smush is robust and has no size limits, making it the most popular file compression plugin on WordPress.

Unlike other plugins we’ve reviewed, Smush offers minimal customization. There’s no way of knowing how it compresses images, just that it does. It also uses a pretty basic algorithm for compressing files, and the smaller the file, the less compression you get.

shortpixel logo


ShortPixel is a smaller name in the image compression game, but it is still quite popular. It ranks as the fifth most used image compression plugin used on WordPress. ShortPixel has a standard image compression plugin, but the most popular is ShortPixel Adaptive Images.

ShortPixel Adaptive Images not only compresses your images, but it runs them through a CDN (Content Delivery Network). A CDN uses a network of geographically located servers for shortening the distance between your server and the viewer. When combined with image compression, viewers worldwide experience a fast site load time and clear and visible images.

One of the shortcomings of ShortPixel is that their free version of the plugin limits you to 100 images per month. So, if you’re changing images regularly, you are limited to the number it will compress. Another issue with the free version of ShortPixel is the lack of statistics directly in the plugin -You will need to go to their website and download a dashboard to receive your data.

All things considered, we find ShortPixel to be a highly versatile and performant plugin, which is why FocusWP utilizes it as our image compression tool of choice.

Did you know? You get ShortPixel Premium for FREE with your FocusWP Maintenance account.

Wrapping Up

Image compression is just one of the necessary actions when optimizing your website. Backups, audits, and security measures are critical to your WordPress site maintenance.
FocusWP has a combined 30 years of experience in WordPress website maintenance and website development.

Save yourself time and hassle and let FocusWP work on the details so you can focus on increasing revenue.
Schedule a chat today to discuss our white label WordPress maintenance packages and pricing to see exactly how FocusWP can handle the tedium while you do what you do best!

About the Author

Stephanie is a geek, entrepreneur, business coach, podcast host, internationally known speaker, notebook hoarder, and dad joke aficionado. She loves helping WordPress businesses thrive and grow.


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