Ideally we should resize all the images we use online to be at their best dimensions for displaying in each form of social media we’re making them available on. For websites you need to strike a balance between having good quality images, and minimising page load time. I have a lot of images on my personal blog that were uploaded years ago when I wasn’t so conscious of image sizes. Going back to optimize them myself would take a lot of time and effort. Luckily the free WP Smush plugin will go through all the images in your media folder and compress the image sizes for you without affecting their quality.
You simply install it and activate it, then you’ll find it in the Media section of your dashboard.
There you’ll find some information about your media library. First up, is the number images that the plugin thinks could be reduced in size… It does this by stripping out unneeded information from each file and optimizing compression on the images.
Use the Bulk Smush Now button to start processing those images. This can take a bit of time and you need to keep the browser window open while the plugin works. Depending on how many images you have you may have to do a few batches to get them all done.
You will see an overview on the right of the main screen with some statistics on what the Smush plugin has done so far with your media library.
If you want to leave the plugin running then you can let it automatically optimize images as you upload them in the future. This is the default setting.
When you view a media attachment you will notice some extra information is now available showing you how much the individual images have been reduced.
One thing to note is that the free version will generally only smush the images that are generated for use by your wordpress theme. The original image files are not touched. This is fine if you just want to reduce page loading time for your site. The free version also has a file size limit that it will work up to. If you also want to reduce the amount of disk space taken up by your original images, then the pro version lets you smush those images too.
I haven’t used the pro version, but the free version of the plugin has worked well for managing using on my media libraries. It’s not the best possible option available for optimizing your media library, but it is very user-friendly will get you some results easily. A quick win for those who don’t have a lot of time to invest.