Image Optimization in WordPress: Best Practices + Tips

Learn how to perform Image Optimization in WordPress - the right way.

Image Optimization in WordPress: Best Practices + Tips 1

by Remco Nieuwenhuizen

Owner of WPsupporters

Improper Image Optimization, such as incorrect dimensions and resolution, affect WordPress’ page speed.

However, image optimization doesn’t stop at compression only – you need to consider more options.

Of course – advanced image optimization in WordPress leaves Traditional routines far behind, such as compressing images with a WordPress plugin.

In this detailed resource, let’s learn about image optimization in WordPress – using various routines, Tools, and concepts for WordPress users.

Table of Content

What is Image Optimization in WordPress?

Various maneuvers, such as image compression, resizing, setting the right dimensions, and choosing correct file types – fall under image optimization.

In WordPress, users approach image optimization with WordPress plugins. For example – plugins help WordPress users automatically compress, resize, or set images in WordPress.

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Importance of Image Optimization in WordPress

Most importantly – improper image optimization in WordPress affects page speed.

If your site’s images are not optimized, incompatibility can affect users’ UX as well. For example, incorrect image dimensions affect a WordPress Theme’s default settings for cropping, resizing, and displaying images in WordPress.

Above all – improper image optimization can’t affect enough SEO Core Vitals for page speed. In this case – Google Core Web Vitals refers to standards Google takes into account – when measuring a site’s speed, performance, and SEO score.

WordPress Image Optimization: Things to Consider

Image Optimization in WordPress – doesn’t include using plugins for resizing, cropping, and compressing images in WordPress.

In this case, rather; manual routines, Theme standards, and Technical expertise help users efficiently optimize images in WordPress.

Here is a list of Tips for image optimization on a WordPress website.

  • Image optimization doesn’t require using premium Tools only. By using manual routines, such as compressing images online, along with Technical expertise – image optimization in WordPress becomes an enjoyable routine.
  • File type, default Theme’s image dimensions, regeneration of screenshots, and developer’s assistance – affect the process of image optimization in a WordPress website.
  • To track, improve, and manage images in WordPress, Tools like GT Metrix help users quickly find – the culprits That are causing improper images. For example, you can find with GT Metrix if your site is suffering from LCP issues. Also – before you are ready to perform Image Optimization in WordPress, checking your site with GT Metrix helps you note speed measures. In this case, after you have performed optimization for images, you can see again if GT Metrix issues have been solved correctly.
  • There is a difference between cropping and resizing. While editing, compressing, and placing images in WordPress, you should care. Keep reading for more information on compression, resizing, and cropping images in WordPress.
  • If your site is small, you don’t need to use a WordPress plugin. In this case, using Tools online helps you resize, compress, and manage image optimization in WordPress, such as Image Compressor.
  • Along with compressing, resizing, and cropping images, focusing on specific WordPress routines, such as removing unused media files, helps admins optimize WordPress images for speed.

Note: Read more for more information on how to choose, edit, and manage images for WordPress speed; including file type, Tools, and WordPress plugins.

How to Optimize Images in WordPress?

Let’s learn how to perform image optimization in WordPress – step by step.

Manual Routines

Manual routines solely depend on personal preference, expertise, and choice. Here is – how to handle image optimization in WordPress manually.

Image Compression

Image compression helps users reduce image sizes for speed, layout support, and Theme standards.

In this case, Online Tools, such as Image Compressor help you compress images for free – manually. In this regard, after you have uploaded images, you can download images after processing images automatically.

Let’s follow the step by step procedure of image compression with Image Compressor.

Head over to the Tool’s official website – upload images once the page prompts on load – as shown in the screenshot below.

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Once uploaded, you can see – the Tool has started compressing images automatically. After the process has finished, you can download the compressed images for free.

In this case, you can see the size difference Tool shows before and after the process has been performed.

Note: There are different Tools for image compression online. However, upon experience, Image Compressor has proved to work the way claimed.

Note 2: After you have compressed images, you can proceed to upload images to WordPress.

Resize Images

Resizing images refers to reducing image dimensions – without losing image sighting.

In this case – there is a clear difference between image cropping and resizing.

Image cropping consists of cutting a part of an image, while on the other hand – resizing includes reducing dimensions without losing any part of an image – as described above.

In this case, resizing images in WordPress help you reduce image size, helps you speed up WordPress page speed, and improves users’ UX experience.

In this regard – let’s learn how to resize WordPress images using online Tools for free.

Head over to Image Resizer and upload your image. Once the image has finished uploading, you can see – the Tools show relevant options for image resizing, cropping, and applying more effects.

In this case, you can proceed to choose a pre-set dimension for an uploaded image or enter a custom dimension – as shown in the screenshot below.

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In the end, you can click Submit to proceed. You can now download the resized image without cropping a part of the image.

Note: After you have downloaded the resized image(s), you can safely proceed to upload images to WordPress content.

Here – addressing a Theme’s or section’s default image sizes is vital.

For example, on the official resources of a Theme, you can see sizing information being recommended to users. For example, Divi supports multiple image sizes based on sections’ width.

In this case, users who are overlooking official recommendations can hurt their site’s page speed – no doubt.

Now – how to find image sizing information for a specific section or Theme? Let’s describe it in more detail.

For example – you are going to see your Theme should provide specific image sizes for specific areas on a WordPress site, such as sidebars.

In this case, you should consult your Theme’s official forums, recommendations, or resources regarding image sizing information for WordPress.

On the other hand, if you would like to find specific image sizing information for specific sections on a page, let’s address more details.

When the page has loaded properly, you can use the browser’s Inspect Section features to see if a section on the page supports specific sizing for images – as shown in the screenshot below.

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After you have found the dimension, you can proceed and create images in the specific dimensions for the sections. It helps you speed up WordPress, as well as improve users’ experience.


As described above, cropping images include cutting an image’s part. Please note – cropping is different from resizing, as described above.

In simple words, you can crop an image without external requirements. For example, you can crop an image in MS Paint or use a Tool online, such as Canva.

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Once you have cropped an image with MS Paint, you can compress or resize the image with the above routines. In the end, uploading optimized images to WordPress is a safe move.

File Type

Choosing the right file type for WordPress images is vital. For example, PNG supports web images for speed, rather than JPEG for pictures.

In this case, once you are ready to choose a Type, focus on the purpose of the images. For example, for WordPress pages and posts, you need to choose PNG.

image optimization in wordpress

Here is a list of image file types for WordPress compatibility, along with a brief description of each.

PNG – (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG is used by users – who are looking for Transparency on WordPress pages. For example, if creating images with Transparent backgrounds is necessary, PNG is the best option.

PNG images are known for speed, as well, along with small-size media. If, for example, you don’t know which format to choose in WordPress, you can safely use PNG for images in WordPress.

The best part is, after you’ve compressed PNG images, you can even decrease sizing for improved speed in WordPress.

GIF – (Graphics Interchange Format)

GIF images are known for animations in most cases. For example, users can use GIF creations for illustrations, animations, and step-wise procedures using single images.

As compared to PNG, GIF compression may not inspire WordPress speed.

However, GIF images may affect user experience in outdated web browsers, such as old versions of Internet Explorer.

JPEG – (Joint Photographic Expert Group)

In WordPress, JPEG is known for picture media. However, using JPEG after multiple editing can increase size.

For WordPress page speed, be cautious when using JPEG images. If, for example, using JPEG is undeniable, take screenshots of JPEG images, compress them, and upload them to WordPress – helping you keep small-sized images in WordPress pages.

WebP – (Web Picture Format)

WebP is the Type – that helps users create and use WordPress media for simple and animated images.

As compared to PNG and JPEG, WebP is optimized for deep compression without losing quality.

However, creating WebP images require Technical expertise, as compared to PNG and JPEG.

Note: If you don’t know which format suits you better, use PNG. Today’s screenshot creating Tools automatically use PNG as the default File Type for new images.

Automated Routines

Automated routines consist of using WordPress plugins for image optimization.

For example, if you’re concerned about optimizing images as you upload to WordPress, you can use a WordPress plugin.

Now – setting up a WordPress plugin for image optimization is easy – the way you do a normal plugin in WordPress.

Note: Image Optimization Plugins provide their features for a small fee in most cases. However, by using their free or Trial versions, you can optimize and serve images for small sites.

WordPress Image Optimization Plugins

In WordPress, plugins help users extend WordPress functionality. In this case, you can use WordPress Image Optimization plugins for automation.

For example – as you upload new images to WordPress media library, WordPress plugins start optimizing images automatically.

Here – addressing a specific measure is vital.

Remember – plugins may fail to address your concerns regarding image optimization in WordPress.

For example – if a plugin is set up, uploading, optimizing, and managing new images becomes automation. However – WordPress plugins may fail to address, crop, resize, or move WordPress images.

Let’s address candidates for WordPress image optimization.

Here is a list of WordPress plugins, along with pricing information – if you prefer using WordPress automation for image optimization on upload.

  • Imagify
  • Optimole
  • WP Smush Pro
  • Short Pixel
  • CloudFlare

Let’s address what measures users should care about WordPress image optimization plugins mentioned above.

Name Pros Cons Pricing CTA
Imagify Supports compression levels and File Types Provides 20 MB of data only, in the Starter plan $9.99 per Month Ideal for Starters, small sites
Optimole Supports CDN, WebP, Watermarks, and is comfortable with Page Builders Counts image processing quota for all sites under an Account $22.99 per Month Better for advanced users
WP Smush Pro Supports compression and Lazy load, and also supports the optimization of external images Poor performance for Images greater than a specific size $7.50 per Month Supports more features, advanced users
Short Pixel Supports CDN functionality, supports all limits for images Non-user friendly credits rollover $3.99 per Month Ideal candidate for WordPress beginners
CloudFlare Supports CDN functionality, WebP format, and Speedy Free plans provide fewer options $20 per Month Image optimization with Hosting features
How to Perform Image Optimization with Plugins?

Let’s describe a common routine of how you can optimize WordPress images using Plugins.

In the following lines, we are going to address, step by step, the road map of how you can perform image optimization with WordPress plugins.

Regardless of a specific plugin, we are going to address steps for common procedures so you are able to perform optimization with any plugin.

STEP 1 – Sign up for a Plugin

Let’s assume – the plugin you’re going to use requires a premium plan. In this case, you need to sign up for its paid plan. You can also see if the plugin provides a Trial version with a free license key.

Note: In most cases, paid plugins are only available on the official websites, not provided on the WordPress Plugins Directory.

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Once you are ready to install the plugin in WordPress, you can proceed and activate the plugin.

STEP 2 – Activate the Plugin

Now – you need to enter your license key in the Plugin’s settings. It helps you activate the plugin without changing the plugin’s backend.

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In this case, you may need to regenerate a new license key if you have purchased a premium plugin with a web-based account on the official website.

STEP 3 – Setup the Plugin

After you have installed a plugin, you should see if the plugin requires setting up initial settings by using a Wizard.

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A Wizard helps users configure basic options for image optimization, such as compression level, license key, and file types.

Note: After you have set up the plugin, you are ready to proceed and test your system for image optimization.

STEP 4 – Test your Plugin

Now – you can upload a new image to WordPress and see if the plugin does the magic. In this case, you can also upload multiple images.

In normal scenarios, as most of the plugins usually operate – new images are automatically optimized on upload. In a separate window in WordPress, you can see the performance, stats, and measures of the images being optimized.

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However – you can see if image optimization played a role while checking images’ sizes manually.

Outsourcing Image Optimization for WordPress

WordPress Maintenance Services

WordPress maintenance services ensure WordPress performance on a regular basis. For a small fee, WordPress users can outsource WordPress maintenance to professionals.

WordPress maintenance services include WordPress security, backup, updates, error handling, and image optimization for speed.

In this case, WordPress services cost around $70 per month for small sites – providing uptime monitoring, WordPress updates and security, $500 premium plugins, GA4 integration, Live sessions, and error removal.

For more information on our plans, you can see more details on the pricing page.

Online Platforms (Bidding sites, Micro-job sites, Freelancers)

If you prefer hiring WordPress professionals on bidding sites, such as Fiverr or Freelancer, you can proceed.

In this case, as a Buyer – post a request for image optimization on Fiverr or Freelancer. The platforms tailor skilled individuals to what you have posted.

In this manner, you can hire someone with a one-Time assignment or use services on a monthly basis. For freelancers, such routines fall under WordPress management, maintenance, and speed optimization.

Other Factors involved

CDN for serving WordPress Images

Content Delivery Network (CDN) helps users quickly serve WordPress content from various locations.

A CDN helps users speed up information access on the Internet. In this case, the content is served from the closest location possible, where users’ requests are coming from on the Internet.

You can try CloudFlare’s free CDN offer under limited conditions. For more information on using, acquiring, or setting up – head over to CloudFlare’s official website.

File Formats

As described above, file formats play a vital role in optimizing images for WordPress page speed.

For example, using inappropriate image file types affects page speed rather than improving users’ UX in WordPress.

In this case, compression, resizing, and cropping may fail to optimize various types of images. For example, GIF images are hard to compress and may not return positive results for speed.

On the other hand – PNG plays well while you are compressing, cropping, or resizing images for WordPress page speed.

For more information on choosing the correct image file type, you can jump to the specific section in this article.

Web Hosting Speed

Web Hosting has different features and speed measures for WordPress sites.

For example, shared hosting plans – where hundreds of sites are hosted on the same web server, are slower than dedicated platforms.

In this case – companies That charge high rates for hosting, even if they provide shared hosting, play well for WordPress sites.

For example, as compared to Go Daddy, Bluehost plays well for WordPress-based sites.

The bottom line is even if you have optimized images properly, slow hosting plans may end up in disasters.

Remove Unused Media

As described above – WordPress may have orphaned media files in Media Library.

Orphaned media content refers to files having no link from other areas on WordPress sites. Such resources affect page speed, as well as provide no value in WordPress.

Orphaned media occur when a WordPress site is not managed for a long time. In this case, you should remove the unused media on a regular basis.

Related Reading: WordPress Maintenance Tasks to Perform Regularly

Lazy load Images

Setting lazy loading images helps users improve page speed by reducing the number of server requests.

In this case, WordPress plugins help users load images only – if a reader scrolls down the page.

In this regard, once you have landed on the WordPress Plugins Directory, you can search for lazy load images to find an ideal candidate.

Cache Plugins for WordPress

WordPress plugins for cache also help users quickly optimize image caches. In this case, after you have installed an ideal candidate, you don’t need to think about manual routines.

Also – WordPress plugins That help users cache WordPress content can help you perform well regarding images. For example – if you’re using WP Rocket, you can see if turning relevant options on helps you make a difference.

Compression Level

If you prefer using automated routines for WordPress image optimization, such as using a Plugin – you’ll need to see if image compression levels help you play well.

Compression Level refers to the extent of image compression for specific formats, sections, and content. For example, you can compress an image deeply unless the quality is affected.

In WordPress plugins for image optimization, you can choose between available compression levels. Once set, you can proceed with the one That affects your site’s speed – positively.

Wrapping up

In this resource, you learned how to optimize images for WordPress speed.

Optimizing images in WordPress require Technical routines involving manual expertise, as well as using WordPress plugins for automation.

While dealing with images for speed, you have to take specific measures into account – including file types, dimensions, resolution, default sizing information for a Theme, and compression level.

In this case, if you don’t know how to proceed, better – if you hire WordPress support professionals for assistance or do Things manually if your site is not too large.

WordPress Image Optimization: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Image optimization in WordPress?

Image optimization refers to creating, resizing, compressing, and preparing images for WordPress improved performance, such as creating and delivering WordPress images for speed.

In this case, the whole purpose of image optimization is speed. So – anything regarding images That helps you improve WordPress speed falls under WordPress image optimization.

Does WordPress offer automatic optimization of Images?

Since WordPress’ 4.5 version, images are optimized automatically on upload. While WordPress default feature serves users well, users may still need proper optimization of images for speed.

You can proceed with the measures shown in this resource – if you don’t prefer using the WordPress default feature for image optimization.

Note: WordPress, by default, may only compress specific image types. For more information on WordPress compression, you should experience how WordPress image compression works.

What is the best Image Optimizer for WordPress?

There are many plugins for image optimization in WordPress. You can use Imagify, Short Pixel, and Smush – depending on requirements, fee structure, and format support.

However – you should keep in mind – if you are managing a small WordPress site That deals with fewer images, you shouldn’t spend money on premium Tools. Instead, use the manual routines shown in this write-up – to help you optimize WordPress images for speed without spending money.

How do I optimize an Image for SEO?

After you have optimized an image for speed, such as cropping, compressing, and setting the correct dimensions, you need to focus on SEO-related aspects, including Image ALT Tags, descriptions, and Title Tags.

In WordPress, you can use an SEO plugin That helps you suggest measures for image optimization for SEO. For example, Yoast SEO helps users optimize images for SEO by suggesting edits That help you improve SEO.

How do I manually optimize images in WordPress?

Manual optimization of WordPress images requires manual expertise. After you have identified the correct dimensions, according to your site’s Theme, you need to proceed to the next step – consisting of compression, cropping, and resizing for specific areas of WordPress sections, such as sidebar widgets.

Manual optimization of images for speed and WordPress performance depend on requirements and manual expertise. For example – if you’re managing a small site, you should optimize images manually, helping you keep WordPress speed positive without spending money on premium Tools.

How do I optimize images for free in WordPress?

Manual optimization of WordPress images doesn’t cost money. You can also use a premium Tool’s free version for image optimization – fewer images for small sites.

However, if your site is dealing with lots of images on a daily basis, manual routines, as well as using Trial versions of plugins, may not serve well. In this case, you should sign up for a premium Tool’s paid plan.

What about Image optimization Techniques in WordPress?

Techniques for Image optimization in WordPress include cropping, resizing, compressing, and setting up correct dimensions. In simple words, everything you do for image optimization in WordPress fall under optimization for WordPress speed.

For more information on image optimization techniques, you can see the premium Tools’ official feature list.

What options are available if I don’t want to use WordPress plugins for Image optimization?

Along with manual routines, you can also use Desktop Tools for image optimization. For example, you can use Photoshop to crop, resize, and compress images for WordPress.

In this manner, screenshot creating Tools also helps users perform basic optimization, such as cropping and resizing.

How does Image optimization affect SEO rankings?

If images are heavy, That affects page speed in WordPress; pages on SERP for a site can lose ranking due to speed.

In this case, proper dimensions, size, compression, and resolution can help admins improve page speed in WordPress.

What about pricing information for Image optimization in WordPress?

Premium Tools charge $7-20 for image optimization for small sites. However, pricing depends on features, custom plans, and the number of images a user wants to optimize per month.

Small sites, as explained above, can use manual routines for image optimization for WordPress. If you need to deal with lots of images on a regular basis – you need to use a premium Tool for image optimization in WordPress.

What else should we improve regarding WordPress speed?

Improving WordPress speed is a Technical routine requiring manual expertise as well as automated routines. In this case, you will need to consider various aspects That affect WordPress page speed.

For example – images, page speed measures, using Tools like GT Metrix, server configurations, web hosting speed, cache plugins, and Time to First Byte (TTFB) – all fall under WordPress speed.

What if I deactivated the Image Optimization plugin in WordPress?

If you have deactivated or removed the WordPress plugin used to compress WordPress images, you may not be able to compress or optimize newly uploaded images to WordPress.

In this case – old images may remain compressed and optimized, however; new images may not be optimized.

How to choose the best plugin for Image optimization in WordPress?

Choosing an ideal candidate for WordPress image optimization depends on several factors, such as the number of images, compression levels, pricing structure, file types supported, and results.

The only way you can choose the best candidate for image optimization by testing various plugins. Once you have data in hand, you can decide if a specific plugin is worth your investment.

How to choose Image File Types for improved optimization?

If you’re using simple screenshots in WordPress, you should be using PNG. In other cases, pictures are created in JPEG format.

Choosing image Types for WordPress depends on the purpose. For example – if you are creating animation for WordPress content, you have to use the GIF format. Similarly, you can also use WebP for screenshots in WordPress content.

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