Storage space and page loading speed are two of the most important things for any website and images are one of the greatest offenders. Reducing the space images require without sacrificing image quality is crucial. If you use JPEG’s, one excellent option is a plugin called WP Squish.
WP Squish is a free plugin from Aspen Grove Studios that will compress your JPEG’s while giving you complete control over the compression quality of not only the variations created by WordPress but also of the variations created by your WordPress themes.
Let’s take a look at WP Squish and see what it can do.
Installing WP Squish
First, download WP Squish from the Aspen Grove Studios website. Install and activate the plugin as normal. It doesn’t require any keys, so once you’ve activated the plugin it will work automatically using the default settings.
WP Squish Settings
A new menu item is added to the Settings menu in the WordPress dashboard called WP Squish. This menu includes the image options and compression settings. By default, the size limit options are disabled and the compression quality is set to 75.
WP Squish Image Options
You have the option to specify the size limit of images. Specify any size you want. Once this option is enabled, all images larger than this will be resized when they’re uploaded. Enabling Always recompress full size JPEG images will allow full-size images to compress only if it has to be resized.
Image Compression Settings
You can set the image quality of all images together, or adjust each image size independently. Enter the value manually or use the slider. These are the standard WordPress images that are created when you upload an image.
If you use the slider for All Sizes, you’ll see the number appear in the box along with up and down arrows so you can fine-tune the amount. You’ll also see that all sliders have followed your setting. In this case, they’re all set to a quality of 51. Even if you set All Sizes, you can still control each one individually.
This is especially helpful if you want to set most to a certain percentage and then control a few manually. In this example, I’ve set the majority to a quality of 60 and manually set two image sizes to 70.
You can also control images created by themes. The images in this example were created by Divi.
These are added by Extra. It adds more than Divi because of the magazine-style modules.
These are added by the theme Twenty Seventeen.
WP Squish Examples
I grabbed a few photos from Unsplash.com and uploaded them without compression or limits on their dimensions. After this, I set the dimension limit and uploaded them again with compression set to various levels. Here are a few comparisons. The first round uses the default compression quality setting of 75.
Taking a look at one of the images at random, this is the original image with dimensions of 5184×3456 and a file size of 5 MB.
Here’s the resized image with no compression. It’s 1620×1080 and the file size is 1 MB. Just limiting the dimensions reduced its file size considerably.
Here’s the same image uploaded again with compression enabled to the default 75 image quality. Its dimensions are 1620×1080 and the file size is 107 kb.
Here’s another image without compression or dimension limits. Its dimensions are 6016×4016 and its file size is 3 MB.
The compressed version is 1618×1080 and the file size is 249 kb.
Notice the images are all limited to a height of 1080. I went back to the settings and removed the vertical limit. This allows the image to be any vertical size but limited to the horizontal size.
This original image has dimensions of 5184×3456 and its file size is 3 MB.
The resized image is 1920×1280 and the file size is 252 KB.
Let’s look at a few side-by-side examples. The image on the left is the original at 2963×3878, 4 MB. The image on the right is the resized to a quality of 75 at 825×1080, 180 KB.
In this one, the image on the left is the original and the image on the right was compressed to a quality of 60. It’s 825×1080, 135 KB.
In this one, the image on the right was compressed at 50. It’s 825×1080, 117 KB.
For this one, the image on the right is compressed with a quality of 20. It’s 825×1080, 64 KB. Even at this level of quality, the image is completely usable. This quality will vary, depending on a lot of factors with your photos. If this photo was of a larger size the lower quality might be more obvious. I recommend 60-75 as a standard and then experimenting to see what works the best.
Here’s the toucan photo. The image on the left is the original at 5184×3456, 5 MB. The image on the right is compressed with a quality of 20. It’s 1620×1080, 40 KB. The differences are so minor that I have to look closely to spot them, and even then the compressed photo looks great.
Here’s the medium size of the original on the left with no compression, 75 in the center, and 60 on the right.
Here’s an example of two sets of thumbnails with both sets displaying from left to right: 100, 75, and 60.
Let’s look at a few large images. This one shows the large version of the original on top and the version on the bottom has a quality of 60.
This one shows the large version of the original on top. The version on the bottom has the quality set to 40.
This one shows the large version, 4 MB, of the original on top and the 40 quality version, at 251KB, on the bottom. You can see the clouds on the left are starting to show in lower quality. 40’s actually aggressive for image compression. Somewhere in the 60-75 range seems to be the best options and they still reduce the file size considerably.
This one uses a quality of 60. Not bad for an image at 324 KB.
WP Squish is not only easy to use, it saves a ton of space on your WordPress server. This also means your pages load faster and your visitors are more likely to hang around until your pages load in their browsers. The level of compression compared to quality is amazing. They’re compressed even further in this article, but the images should still tell the story.
I like that you can adjust every image-type individually. I also like that you can limit the overall dimensions and have the images that are larger than your limit to automatically resize to that limit. This keeps you from having to resize your photos every time you want to upload something (which is something I tend to forget).
WP Squish is an excellent plugin for JPEG compression and it’s an easy plugin to recommend. If you need a free plugin to compress JPEG’s and limit their dimensions as they’re uploaded to WordPress, WP Squish is worth trying.
Have you tried WP Squish? Let us know what you think about it in the comments.
Randy A Brown is a professional writer specializing in WordPress, eCommerce, and business development. He loves helping the WordPress community by teaching readers how to improve their websites and businesses. His specialties include product reviews, plugin and theme roundups, in-depth tutorials, website design, industry news, and interviews. When he's not writing about WordPress he's probably reading, writing fiction, or playing guitar.
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