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Optimizing Images with WP Smush (Pro, Cons, and Alternatives)

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Images can significantly slow down your website which is why it is essential to save all your images optimized for web. Recently one of our users asked us about the pros and cons of using a plugin like WP Smush. In this article, we will discuss the pros, cons, and alternatives of WP Smush for optimizing images in WordPress.

Image Optimization in WordPress

What is WP Smush?

WP Smush is a WordPress plugin that allows you to optimize images without losing quality.

Pros of WP Smush

WP Smush is very easy to use, and you can optimize your images on the fly as you upload them to your WordPress site.

For your older images you can go to Media » WP Smush to bulk smush 50 images at a time.

Bulk smush images

For beginners, it is an easy and simple way to optimize their images and improve their site performance.

Cons of WP Smush

The performance difference is not as significant as you can get with other methods.

For example, if you are uploading a 3 MB photograph to your WordPress site, then WP Smush reduces it by 10-20% without losing quality. It is still 2.4 to 2.7MB file, which is huge.

WP Smush gives you no control on how much you can optimize an image. While it does reduce the image file size, it is not the best solution.

WP Smush Alternatives

There are several other tools and WordPress plugins that allows you to optimize your images. These tools give you more control on how you want to optimize your images. This can result into even smaller file sizes and faster page loads.

EWWW Image Optimizer

ewww Image Optimizer

EWWW Image Optimizer is a WordPress plugin that optimize your images as you upload them. You can also optimize your previously uploaded images. It also allows you to convert file format, so that you can choose a format that gives a lower image size.

For example, if you are uploading a screenshot in PNG, then converting it to JPEG may result in a much smaller file size.


Imsanity allows you to bulk resize large images in WordPress. Unlike the plugins mentioned above, Imsanity allows you to choose a default maximum size for your images.

Imsanity plugin allows you to bulk resize large images in WordPress

You can choose default compression for jpeg images in WordPress. The plugin can also be used to automatically convert image file formats from BMP to JPEG, or PNG to JPEG.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard in image editing. It is a little expensive, but totally worth it. It comes with a built-in Save for Web option that allows you to save images optimized for the web.

Saving images for the web in Photoshop

The best part about it is that you can choose how much you want to optimize an image. You can choose compression level for JPEG images as well as choosing number of colors in PNG files.

It will also show you the image preview and file size as you adjust these settings.

Gimp is the free alternative to Photoshop. It may not look as pretty as Photoshop, but it can optimize your images for the web.

Exporting images in Gimp

Final Thoughts

Image optimization is best when done outside of WordPress. We have written a detailed tutorial that shows you how to optimize images for WordPress.

While you can use WP Smush or one of the WP Smush alternatives, you will not get as good results as tools like Photoshop, GIMP, JPEGMini, and TinyPNG.

That’s all we hope this article helped you learn optimizing images with WP Smush and its alternatives.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

38 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. santosh747 says

    I have used wp smush.i would like to know why wp smush creates multiple file like 40 same images with different width and height for 1 image.instead of having 10 original images after smush it creates the 400 images that is lot and how come it is reducing the space.Is that common with smush.

  3. Mian says

    Hello sir i hope you are fine. i use wp smush plugin and now my website pics 200+ then i see some errors in my website. some peoples saying now you use paid version. please tell me my site have some big problem or not ? i used paid version then my site working is perfectly or not ?

  4. Sohail Akah says

    Hi, Thanks for the wonderful article, your site has always been helpful …. I am in a bit of a problem here, I hope you can give me a solution.

    I smushed all the images on my site, as a result, they appear broken in the google search results, I have worked really really hard to get my site and some of my images ranked in google …. but smush has turned the situation for into a nightmare, I have search everywhere on the web, but i can’t seem to find a proper solution for it …. I have read your article on Regenerating Thumbnails … but I’m not sure if that’s what I am suppose to do here. And I surely can’t bear to make another mistake.

    Your articles and your site has always been a great support through out my career I’ve learnt a lot from you … please help me out in this

  5. Arijit Biswas says

    I had used WP Smush Pro v.2.7.1 & their 2x Super Smush feature and sadly it is damn slow.. I had almost 50k images(300-400kb) each.
    It was smushing at 1 image/20 sec.

  6. garry says

    problem, with photoshop and other similar software, is you have to optimize all of the images manually which will eat up your whole time just to optimize images may be I’ll need to hire someone to do the job with photoshop and if you have only small site with only a few images than its doesn’t even matter if you optimize your images or not, maybe just try some plugin to fix them.

  7. Johnny says

    This plugin caused a HUGE MESS on my site. NEVER download it. I have to manually upload add missing pics and repair broken links and pages. If developers of this plugin are reading this, I would like to let them know that whatever they did wrong it is costing me money and a lot of time. 1 Star for your plugin. I cancelled my wp-dev membership and am extremely disappointed.

  8. Asma says

    I optimize my pictures with photoshop they looks crispy and clear on the edit post they looks perfect but once I upload them it turns blurry and not really high quality
    I downloaded some plugins maybe it could work and nothing’s work
    I try to verify the default zoom level of my browser (google chrome) but still doesn’t work
    is there any solution?

  9. Nikolas Broman says

    If you optimize with Photoshop/Gimp/outside of WP, then your resized images (large/medium/thumbnail) won’t be optimized. How can you recommend that approach?

      • Nikolas Broman says

        I actually tested this before commenting, and the resized images are not optimized.

        I downloaded the first image you see (with mountains) on jpegmini. The resolution is 5184 x 3456, the original’s size is 19.2 MB, and the optimized version is 2.9 MB (the website allows you to download both for comparison).

        I uploaded them to WP and checked out the resized “large” version (1024×683 on default settings).

        Both came out as 121 KB. So the size of the source image didn’t have any effect.

        (Side note: Then I tried optimizing both resized images with the free JPEGmini Lite, and something interesting happened. The original, resized to 1024×683, came out as 98 KB. The already once optimized version, and then resized to 1024×683, came out as 101 KB. A small difference, but still a difference!)

        Could you please test this yourself? Did I do something wrong?

        You said that resized images “will be optimized too, because the source image is smaller in size”. Is that really true?

      • Peter says

        Actually, I think Nikolas is onto something here.
        I have large source images (to cater for hi-dpi) at 1920x2010px that which is is 1.4 Mb. One of my custom image sizes is 1280×1340, and after uploading the source that size comes out to 380Kb. I thought that was too large, so I optimized the living daylights out of the source image in Photoshop and came up with a new source at 1920x210px that is 191Kb. After uploading the new source (under a new name to be able to tell images apart), the generated 1280×1340 is still more or less 380Kb, almost double the size of the source image even though its pixel dimensions are vastly smaller.

        There is a jpeg compression filter in WP. I get the feeling that WP decompresses the source image to bitmap before generating media sizes, and unless you apply compression through the WP filter, anything else but the source image will not be compressed!

        Does anyone have any thought’s on this?

        • Peter says

          edit: there is a pixel typo above: I wrote 1920x210px, but of course I mean 1920x2010px.

  10. John Blum says

    I have better results using ShortPixel so far. It allows working with multiple images at once and even with big sizes such as 10mb/image.

  11. Oliver says

    I use Phatch, an opensource batch image processor to optimize images outside of WordPress if I have a lot to do, if not then GIMP for the odd one here or there. Most of the time though, once a site is handed over to a client there is no control over image compression. Tools like WP Smush are a good starting point to impose some sort of sense into image uploads.

  12. AutumnSadness says

    I used the plugin and it did what it says but when i look at the images sized in library in wp admin it says the plugin has reduced the image size but when i sabe the image to my computer, the size is the same (the size that was before smushing)
    So wtf? it dosen’t reduce the images? or what?

  13. Joy says

    Is there a plugin that will compress images already uploaded to your media library? We were using .png files for our blog posts because .jpgs looked really grainy, but it’s causing server load issues. Happy to use .jpg web compression for future media uploads but I don’t want to spend hours re-uploading re-linking compressed png files?

  14. Juergen | webbeetle says

    I agree that image optimization should happen outside WordPress, though what bugs me is that WP creates additional image sizes without any decent compression! I upload, via FTP, the required thumbnails for my featured images, and every time mine are around 35-50% smaller in files size than the ones WordPress created… You explain! Particularly since my original file was well compressed, so no process should be able to add extra file information (data = file size) to it.
    I use IrfanView, a very good and established freeware, which has an option “Save for Web” (like Photoshop) which compresses files well and strips all EXIF information – highly recommended!

  15. Nick Jubrey says

    Does photoshop strip meta data from images? I’ve just started using tinypng for this feature. Photoshop works well and you can automate it which is nice. I also saw that Tinypng has a PS plugin for $50 a little step if its just just a save function built in to PS.

    I would like to do a side by comparison and see what we get.

  16. nawaf says

    i added wpsmush and did smushed all my images of wordpress.then it showed 9mb saved.when i ran a test some images say
    They saved 200 kb.
    But it is same the actual size
    I mean that even after smushing the size remains same for me .but in smush options it shows it saved 200kb. Why so?

    • Umesh Kumar says

      The savings shown over there is the sum of compression for the all sizes(Large, Medium, Thumbnail or any other ) of that particular image.

      So even if not the full size image is compressed, the other size for the image are probably reduced with a good amount.

    • Scott Hartley says

      You would have to download the image locally and replace the URL with that image. Or you can attempt to load the image with lazy load to improve performance.

  17. Alan Marsden says

    This is something I’m still working on. Thankfully it’s early days for the blog so not many images to deal with. I’m using Pixelmator for Mac which has the “save for web” feature. You can also manually adjust the setting. Works great with no discernible loss of quality.

  18. Jer says

    What are your thoughts about Fireworks? I’ve been using it for years and am very happy with the results. Of course, since Adobe bought it…

  19. Nicole says

    Thank you for this info. I have been trying to figure out images with my blog and it is not going well (total newbie here). When I upload them to my media and add them to a post, they automatically get added to my post very, very small. Much smaller than the original. Then I try to make them bigger by resizing within the post and the images lose quality and look really bad! I am thinking this didn’t happen with some of my earliest posts. I switched themes. Could that have something to do with it? Is one of the above solutions (Smush or the alternatives) what I need to fix this?

  20. Morgan Madej says

    I always look out for your WP Beginner articles and catalogue the links for future refernce. Thank you for this review, much appreciated.

    I have been using recently. It is able to reduce my images by upto 77% while halving the pixels by roughly 50%

    There are other options that I have not used yet. It appears to be free to use online so it can be a quickly accessible tool.

    I do not know the owner, nor am I an affiliate.

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