I have changed my mind. The Shortpixel service is my new favorite image optimization tool for WordPress websites.
I have been using EWWW Image Optimizer for a long time, and I still like it, but Shortpixel has become my new favorite image optimization plugin for WordPress. I have tried different tools for image optimization in the past, and I am sure I will continue to test new solutions, but Shortpixel is something interesting with amazing results.
I had heard about Shortpixel sometime before, but never really bothered checking it out as I was already happy with the solution I had.
Recently the team behind Shortpixel reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review the plugin. They offered me a pack of 10.000 credits to try it out with, but since it is pretty cheap and I wanted to be unbiased, I just purchased it out of my pocket.
I have already added a bunch more to my account, as I will be using Shortpixel more going forward. Let me tell you why.
I tested the signup process, made a comparison test with ten photos on different services and tested the plugin on a couple of sites. I also tested the plugin on a site that was already optimized, and the results and experience convinced me.
The ten photo comparison test
First of all, I needed data. I am going to review the process from visitor to customer, but it does not mean anything if the optimization results are not worth it. I grabbed ten pictures from a random folder. Turns out to be pictures from a vacation with my wife in Key West a couple of years back. It is not the most scientific study, and I could have picked more pictures and different types of photos, but I wanted a quick comparison between the various image optimizers I use or know of. The Shortpixel team did a comparison with other image optimization tools on the market and their test is way more detailed than what I did – Check it out here.
Further down on this page you will find the stats of the test I made between Shortpixel, Optimizilla – Online Image Сompressor, JPEGmin Pro (Mac app) and ImageOptim also a Mac application. But first a bit more about Shortpixel. They offer image optimization through a variety of integration options for every taste.
Many ways of using Shortpixel
They have many ways of using their SAAS – Software as a Service – via different API’s, a PHP client library, via a command-line tool or the Website Optimizer that works with anything. In this review, I will only focus on the results of the 10 picture test I made and the WordPress plugin I used on two test sites.
Signing up – Becoming a customer
The whole experience from signing up to becoming a customer and having a working setup on a WordPress website is easy and fast. When you go to the site (aff link) you will be greeted with a straightforward website that looks modern and feels snappy to navigate. They offer a lot of different pricing options, with the Free monthly subscription offering 100 pictures per month and it’s a cheap step to the Short package offering 5000 images per month for just $4.99 They have packages that go higher, but to start with I choose a single payment for 10.000 pictures for $9.99
Now, here is the only kink in my whole experience with Shortpixel so far – the payment and redeeming process. The checkout process looks cool, easy to fill out and finish payment – but when I completed my purchase, I went straight back to the test site where I already installed the plugin and logged into my account I just created. It is my fault for not reading the actual instructions displayed on the thank you page and in the email, but I just naturally assumed the purchased pack was added to my account automatically. On reading the instructions, I found out I had to copy a key from the email, go to the website and redeem the coupon from there.
Now, why that is not automated I do not know, but the process was quick and easy once I figured out what I needed to do. That is the only minor issue, and as I said, it is minor – I assume the monthly packages work differently. Everything else just works, smoothly and with AJAX sprinkled in throughout to make the experience that much smoother.
I love the attention to detail in this plugin. There is a small spinning icon in the top bar with a small rotating animation that only appears when the plugin is working. The Very cool little detail and the plugin throughout has a lovely set of options but set up in a friendly interface that is easy to understand and plays nicely with the WordPress look and feels.
The test and the results
The test was made on a random bunch of 10 photos straight from my Go Pro, and I did not expect much difference between the systems, I assumed there would be little difference, and I just wanted to confirm their efficiency. I was very surprised to see the results. Shortpixel floors the competition and the results are just fine to look at.
- Originals – 18.5mb
- JPEGmini Pro – 9.2mb
- Optimizilla – 5.3mb
- ImageOptim – 3.9mb
- Shortpixel – 1.5mb
Amazing – These are results I like, and I went on to test on a customer website.
Real life test on an already optimized site
This client, in particular, has been uploading product images for years and in the past, I have gone through her entire collection. I downloaded the uploads folder, ran a script to resize to a max size width or height, optimized the images, removed meta information to reduce size further and then uploaded all the pictures again. This was a long process that I first did years ago, and these days plugins have made this a lot easier and unnecessary to download and process manually. As I had already done this process and felt confident in the optimization results for the images, I was curious to test the Shortpixel service on an already optimized site to see if they could top the results. And they did. By a lot. The bulk optimization is an easy way to optimize your entire site in one go – Just start it and let the tab open while you go and do other things while it works in the background. I am always looking for ways to optimize websites or my workflow – check out my article Fastest FTP client for MacOS. Although I was surprised to see the difference in optimization results on the small test of 10 unoptimized images I did not expect to see the size reductions I did. After the bulk optimization process was over I first cleared my browser cache and went to check out the website to see if I could determine any significant worsening of the pictures. None, nothing at all. The pictures all looked fine, both on my phone and on my desktop. I then went to the statistics tab to see how much the pictures improved. That surprised me. I had already optimized the images I saw over 50% reduction – wow. And the quality was not degraded for the naked eye to notice. I needed to open Photoshop for most of the changes I found on closer inspection. Easily acceptable results in almost any case. Fortunately, the plugin per default saves a backup of your pictures, should you need to replace one or all. The Shortpixel plugin has a feature to resize images to a specific height or width, but I did not use this feature for the customer as I had already done this process and I have made sure to set up systems to automatically resize and optimize images my client uploads.
Turning off image sizes feature would be nice
One thing that I did not find in Shortpixel plugin, which is a feature I regularly use in EWWW Image Optimizer is turning off optimization of various image sizes. Many themes and plugins add different image sizes, and some are not needed depending on how you set up the site. Optimizing these images are a waste of time and counts towards your credits. Having an option to turn off optimizing various image sizes would be a nice feature, but with the optimization results I see from Shortpixel, I am not complaining.
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