One of the best ways to speed up your website WordPress is to optimise it. I've written about this a lot and I'm sure I'll write more than once. This is an important topic!
See for example the article on NitroPack. It's a combo that does practically everything, but we don't always need such extensive solutions, so in today's post we'll focus on a plugin whose main task is to optimise graphics, although in the PRO version it can also take care of optimising website scripts. We will get to that.
WP Compress, is a free plugin that is not only easy to use, but also very effective in optimizing graphics. It allows you to reduce their size without any visible reduction in quality. When you install the plugin, you can optimize up to 50 images on your site with just a few clicks. After that, you will have to buy additional credits, which are not particularly expensive though.
If you haven't yet sped up your site by optimising images, or if you've tried other plugins but weren't happy with the results, then this article should interest you.
What can WP Compress do?
As I mentioned earlier, the purpose of the WP Compress plugin is to optimise the images on your WordPress site to improve its loading time. Here are its main plugin features:
- Ability to optimise all existing images on a page with a single click.
- Autopilot mode to optimise new images as soon as they are added to your site.
- Three compression levels to choose from.
- Over-compression protection to avoid degradation of image quality.
- Access to a high-speed CDN.
- Ability to automatically resize images.
- Possibility of restoring paintings to their original state.
- Quick-view mode for image comparison before and after optimisation.
- You will optimise up to 50 images for free with the option to pay a few dollars per month for more credits.
WP Compress has many benefits that users who want more control over how their photos are compressed will appreciate.
How to optimise photos with WP Compress
Sometimes the best way to understand what a plugin can do is to know how it works. So, with that in mind, let's go through the whole process of using WP Compress and find out what results you can expect.
Installation and activation of WP Compress
As WP Compress can initially be used to optimise your images for free, it is available in the official WordPress plugin directory and can be installed from your WordPress dashboard. If you don't know how the installation process works take a look at the articles: How to install the plug-in.
Once you have installed and activated WP Compress, you will see a helpful banner with a button to start the setup process.
Although WP Compress is free and allows you to compress up to 50 files, you will need to create an account to start optimising your images. Fortunately, the process is not onerous. You create an account, then copy your key and paste in the first step of configuring the plugin:
Configuring image optimisation settings
In its attempt to simplify the process of optimising WordPress site images, WP Compress comes pre-configured with recommended settings. This should make the plugin appealing to anyone who wants to speed up their site in this way, but doesn't want to invest the time in learning a new technology, system or tool. With WP Compress, all you have to do is install and activate the plugin and then let it run with the default settings.
I personally use the PRO version, and here I can decide on two types of optimisation:
Real-time optimization and optimization that generates files locally in the WordPress environment. Let's say I choose the first option and go to the management panel:
As you can see, the WP Compress control panel is clearly designed. This makes it easy to understand, and most settings are accessible from a single page for convenience.
Basically, you see statistics related to the optimisation of the graphics, and at the very bottom you have several options that you can turn off or on depending on your preferences.
In the control panel, you can select one of three optimization levels, which will determine the amount of compression applied to your photos. Although Ultra compression mode allows for the smallest possible size, the quality of your photos may suffer, at least compared to lossless compression mode.
However, to prevent a noticeable drop in image quality, WP Compress has a feature to prevent over-compression. To help you find the right level, you can explore the different compression levels and undo optimisations that have had a negative impact on image quality.
You can also enable or disable other features such as lazy loading, next generation formats and several others.
Optimizing graphics is the main task of the WP Compress plugin, but if you opt for the PRO version you'll additionally get access to more tools. Here they are:
More options related to optimisation appear, but they no longer apply directly to graphics, but to JS scripts and CSS sheets. You have the option of excluding selected files from the optimisation process, and even using your own subdomain to serve files from the CDN.
WP Compress is very easy to use, yet can effectively optimise your images to reduce their size. With features like over-compression protection, three compression levels to choose from, a quick way to compare your images before and after optimization, and a preview tool, this plugin is a great choice for anyone who wants more control over how their images are modified.
On the other hand, WP Compress' autopilot mode and one-click optimisation features also make this plugin suitable for those who want to speed up their site with very little effort.
The only problem that might stop someone from using this plugin is probably the fact that it's not completely free. Yes, you can compress up to 50 images for free, but once you exceed that limit you have to pay to use WP Compress. However, with prices starting at $9 per month WP Compress can be a very cost-effective way to speed up your site and avoid frustrating visitors with slow loading times.
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