ShortPixel is a company headquartered in Romania with over 300,000 active WordPress installations. This plugin is compatible with JPEG, PNG, GIF and PDF files, with the ability to create WebP and/or AVIF versions of your images. Image optimization has a significant impact on Core Web Vitals and therefore helps to improve the ranking of websites in search engine results.
Installation of the ShortPixel plugin
The easiest way is to download the plugin from the Shortpixel.com website. A simple e-mail will be requested. No payment card is required to take advantage of the free package that entitles you to optimize 100 images per month. You will be given your API key and then you will have to fill in the domain name of your website.
It is also possible to download the plugin from the WordPress dashboard, go to the “plugins” tab, click on “Add New”, then write “ShortPixel” in the search bar. There are other plugins published by the company, so choose the first result displayed: “ShortPixel Plugin Optimizer”. Then you have to click on “install now” and then on “activate”. Once activated, you will then be prompted to create an account to use the plugin. Finally, you have to copy and paste the API key that was received by e-mail.
Once configured, the plugin will automatically optimize the new images that will be uploaded as the publications are created. However, you can optimize unoptimized images that are already on your blog.
For those images that are already on your blog, there is a choice between optimizing a single image or a group of images, by going to the Media > Library menu and clicking on the (Optimize Now) button in the right column of the screen. It is also possible to optimize images in batches, by going to the Media > Bulk ShortPixel menu. You can also go to the plugin settings menu and click on the Bulk Optimization link.
You have the choice between refining the settings with the options offered in the Settings tab, or directly compressing the images in bulk.
Bulk Image Compression
This operation is very simple in order to allow a compression of all existing images in a single operation.
- Image selection. Then click on “calculate”.
- Summary: this is a summary of the total number of images, as well as the creation of WebP versions and/or AVIF versions of the images, if applicable. Then click on “Start bulk optimization”.
- Image optimization: it is then possible to follow in real time the optimization of each image. The program will stop when the quota of images is reached.
- Compression results.
1/ ShortPixel General Settings
To access the plugin settings from the WordPress control panel, go to the Settings tab > ShortPixel.
– Choice of image compression type
To begin, select the compression type:
- Lossless: the image is compressed without any loss of quality, which can lead to an increase in the loading time of your web pages.
- Lossy: The image is compressed with a slight loss of quality. Lossy compression is much more efficient for creating lightweight images, and most of the time the quality loss is not visible to the naked eye, so it is an excellent choice.
- Glossy: Glossy compression is a Lossy optimization algorithm calibrated to the needs of the photographer. This is the recommended compression mode for most use cases, as it offers the best balance between optimization and image quality.
– Thumbnail Compression :
Decide if the compression should also apply to your thumbnails (“Include thumbnails too”): if you check the box, ShortPixel will optimize both your large images and the thumbnails associated with these images. If you use the free version of the plugin, you are limited to 100 images per month, and the quota can quickly be exhausted if you include large images and thumbnails. I advise you to set this option to “OFF” to optimize only large images. It will of course be possible to activate this option later.
– Saving the original images
To begin with, and as a precautionary measure, I recommend that you activate the “Save images” option when you use the plugin for the first time. This allows you to create a backup of each original image of your website, before optimization. If you are not satisfied with ShortPixel’s performance, you will easily recover your original images.
Finally, if you find that the optimization is working properly, you can disable the option to avoid unnecessary storage of two sets of images (the original images and the compressed images).
– Deleting EXIF data
EXIF data is information added to an image that provides details such as the date and time the image was taken, the settings used, the author’s rights, etc. In most cases, it is not necessary to save these details to use the images in the standard web format, especially since ShortPixel informs us that removing this data improves image compression by 8.5%.
– Resize large images
Finally, the “Resize large images” option allows you to automatically resize all images that exceed a certain pixel size. For example, if you are used to downloading images without resizing them, you may have files with a size of 4000 X 2500 pixels, which is much too large, as well as a weight of several Mb. ShortPixel can automatically resize them to a smaller size, and tells us that this can improve compression by 80%.
Finally, don’t forget to save your settings by clicking on “Save changes”. But it is also possible to click on “save and go to bulk processing” if you want to directly optimize the images without making more adjustments (Advanced Settings and Cloudflare API).
2/ ShortPixel advanced settings
– Creation of a WebP and/or AVIF version
Developed by Google, the WebP format provides lossless compressed images that are about 30% lighter than PNG or JPEG.
As for the AVIF format, this is the most recent (2019) and it is open-source. The advantage of the AVIF format is to obtain images 50% lighter than the JPEG format, while keeping the same image quality.
– Other settings:
- Optimize media when downloading,
- Optimize PDFs and thumbnails,
- Optimize Retina images,
- Optimize the other thumbnails,
- Convert PNG images to JPEG,
- Conversion from CMYK to RGB,
- Option to exclude images based on certain criteria, such as their size,
- Ability to create custom media folders,
- Credentials to access a website protected by HTTP AUTH authentication.
3/ Cloudflare API
If you use Cloudflare on your site, it is recommended to fill in two fields:
- Zone ID (You can find it in your Cloudflare account in the “Overview” section of your domain).
- Cloudflare Token .
This information will allow ShortPixel to work synergistically with Cloudflare, so that any image optimized or restored by ShortPixel will automatically be updated on the Cloudflare CDN.
These tools are related to data processing of old versions, data deletion and backups:
- Data conversion for versions prior to 5.0. This conversion will speed up the plugin and ensure that all data is preserved.
- Deleting queues: deletes all pending or in-process items from all queues. This stops all optimization processes in the entire system.
- Mass restore: undoes all optimizations and restores all your saved images to their original state. The used credits will not be refunded and you will have to optimize your images again.
- Remove legacy data: removes legacy data (the old format for storing image optimization information in the database, which was used before version 5). This operation may result in data loss. It is not recommended to perform this operation manually.
- Delete all data: delete all ShortPixel data (including backups) and disable the plugin. Your images will not be changed (optimized images will remain), but the next time ShortPixel is activated, it will not recognize previous optimizations.
- Delete backups: when backups are enabled, the original images are stored in a backup folder. If you delete the backup folder, you will not be able to restore or optimize the images again. It is highly recommended to keep a copy of the backup folder (/wp-content/uploads/ShortpixelBackups/).
Pricing: purchase of a pack or subscribe
ShortPixel is an excellent and well-designed image compression extension, but the free version is limited to 100 images per month. You have two options to optimize more images:
- If you buy credits, you can use them whenever you want, depending on your needs.
- Choose a subscription: It will give you a higher monthly optimization quota than the free version.
In any case, your credits can be used on one or more sites, which I find extremely convenient. You can easily view the credits still available.
ShortPixel is one of the best image compression and optimization plugins, the quality/price ratio is really excellent. This plugin offers many optimization possibilities thanks to its many simple and practical options, and will speed up the loading time of the pages of any website.
In terms of functionality, it is therefore possible to benefit:
- frame by frame optimization,
- batch optimization,
- of a mass processing of images,
- the creation of images in WebP and AVIF format.
All this using a single plugin, thus avoiding cumbersome WordPress configuration.
What is the advantage of the Adaptive Images version of ShortPixel?
The Adaptive Images version serves images from a global CDN and resizes the images to fit the user’s device.
Is ShortPixel better than other image optimization plugins, e.g. Smush, Imagify, or Optimole?
ShortPixel is a newer image optimization plugin that aims to be the most efficient and user-friendly option available. Compared to other plugins, ShortPixel boasts faster processing times, more reliable results and easier adjustments.
If I stop using ShortPixel, will my images remain optimized?
If you stop using ShortPixel, your new images will no longer be optimized, but the ones you have already optimized will remain so.
Which plugin should I use: “ShortPixel Adaptative Images” or “ShortPixel Image Optimizer”?
If your website has a national audience, you can be satisfied with the “Image Optimizer” version. The “Adaptative Images” version is recommended in case your audience is international, you will then be able to benefit from the ShortPixel CDN performances.