A whopping 79% of online shoppers won’t return to a website that takes a long time to load. Page load speed is also an important SEO signal and ranking factor. Large images and heavy multimedia are the key reasons for slow-loading websites. Many companies use image optimization plugins to optimize websites and improve their website performance.

However, website owners avoid using a bulk optimization plugin, thinking it will slow down their websites. Let’s clear some confusion around this topic and determine if image optimization plugins make websites slow.

Image Optimization Plugins: 10 of the Best and Why to Use One

What Is Image Optimization?

Image optimization refers to changing an image’s format, size, resolution, and dimension to deliver it in the minimum size without losing image quality. Cameras nowadays click high-quality images that are heavy in size. A full resolution image can be of up to 15 MB.

Image optimization refers to changing an image’s format, size, resolution, and dimension to deliver it in the minimum size without losing image quality. Cameras nowadays click high-quality images that are heavy in size. A full resolution image can be of up to 15 MB.

Many content management systems and online portals don’t support images of such high size and resolution. Here’s where image optimization comes into the picture. Optimized images are smaller in size and resolution but retain most of their quality.

There are various ways to compress images. You can either do it manually by using a resizing tool or automate the process with an image optimizer plugin.

What Is an Image Optimization Plugin?

An image optimization or image compression plugin is a tool that lets you optimize and compress JPEG, PNG images without losing quality. A WordPress image optimizer plugin automatically compresses the images on your website to an optimum size while keeping the quality in check.

These plugins automate the entire compression process. You don’t have to manually set the size, resolution, and format and ensure the best quality. The WordPress image compression plugin finds the best size and resolution for the image and optimizes it accordingly.

Why Should You Optimize Images?

Image compression is essential for a website. Large images take time to load and make your website slower. It can adversely affect user experience and SEO rankings. Image compression helps you avoid these issues. Let’s look at four important reasons to bulk-optimize images.

Four Reasons to Bulk-Optimize Images

  1. Improved Page Load Speed: Multimedia elements take longer to load. If your website has a lot of images, it will become slower. By compressing and optimizing those images, you can make your website faster.
  2. Improved SEO Ranking: A slow loading speed can adversely affect your search engine rankings. Optimizing your images and improving website speed will give you an SEO boost.
  3. Enhanced User Experience: A mere one-second delay in website loading time increases bounce rate by 32%. Users like websites that load fast.
  4. More Conversions: A one-second delay in page load time results in a 7% drop in conversions. A fast website is likely to convert more.

Do Image Optimization Plugins Slow Down Your Website?

If you’re looking for a quick answer, it’s a mix of yes and no.

There’s a lot of confusion and misconception when it comes to the relationship between WordPress plugins and website loading speed. You must’ve heard and read at many places that the more plugins you have, the slower your website will be.

Well, let’s debunk some myths.

First, let’s understand how a plugin works. When you install a plugin on your WordPress site, a few lines of code are added to your website code. Hence, the browser needs to load more code, increasing the website load time and making the website slower.

Any plugin you add to your website can make it slower, including an image optimization plugin. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop using plugins. WPBeginner suggests that a business website should have at least 20-30 plugins. For websites with advanced features, this number can be as high as 50.

So, installing a WordPress image compression plugin won’t have a significant impact on your website’s speed and performance. Besides, the ultimate function of an image optimization plugin is to make your website faster. Even if your website becomes slightly slower by adding the plugin, the overall impact it’ll have on the website speed will be positive.

Some plugins can slow your website more than others.

Before installing a plugin, ask the following questions:

  • Does it load too many styles, scripts, or other assets?
  • Does it make the website operations more complex?
  • Does it add extra database queries to web pages?
  • Does it perform external requests?

A plugin with one or more of these characteristics is likely to make your website slower. Hence, avoid using such plugins.

Benefits of a WordPress Image Optimizer Plugin

Now that we’ve established that WordPress image compression plugins don’t slow down a website, let’s look at some of its benefits. These plugins have the same advantages as manual image optimization. They make your website faster and improve SEO performance. However, plugins offer more functionality, and you can do more things in less time with the help of these plugins.

Some benefits of using image optimization plugins are:

  • Automatic image optimization
  • Change the image format (for e.g., JPEG to PNG)
  • Leverage lossless compression and retain image quality
  • Find the best resolution for each image without manual testing

Best Image Optimization Plugins to Use

The last step is to find the best image optimization plugins for your WordPress site. We’ve handpicked some WordPress image optimization plugins that will optimize your images without slowing down your website.


Image optimization plugins may slow down a website a bit, but so do other plugins. However, an image compression plugin will improve your website speed and performance in the long run by optimizing all your images. Just ensure that you select a plugin that doesn’t load too many assets and make your website operations too complex.

About the Author: Dave Sweeney

Dave is an Emmy-Award® winning web designer/developer and has worked in the digital media industry in both newspaper and broadcast television since 1999. He has also worked as an Art Director for a medium-sized advertising agency in the South Florida market and TheeDigital's customers' are benefiting from his talent these days.

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