WP Smush is one of the easiest ways to perform image compression for WordPress. With more than one million active installs, the plugin is one of the most popular WordPress plugins in the official plugin repository.  What is WP Smush and why is it popular among WordPress users? The plugin is officially known as Smush Image Compression and Optimization, and It is one of the leading image optimizers that you can get for WordPress.

Are your images slowing down your site? Plugins that perform image compression for WordPress make it possible for you to optimize your site for both performance and (image loading) speed. Great web content and posts are only great for particular reasons. One of the most important is the presence of a relevant and stunning image. Readers love beautiful pictures along with high-quality content. Images help in optimizing your content and posts. However, too many and too large images take a toll on your page-loading speed.  It is common knowledge that search engines and site visitors detest slow-loading websites. So what is the way out? To create a balance between site aesthetics and SEO scores, you need a plugin that does a superb image compression for WordPress. Your site needs WP Smush today.

This in-depth WordPress plugin review for WP Smush will equip you with the information on why you need the plugin. Additionally, you will learn how to install and use WP Smush for image optimization and SEO. Other similar plugins will also be discussed.

WP Smush Install

1. Why use Image Optimization for WordPress (WP Smush)

You need a quick strategy to add images to your WordPress content without compromising your site’s loading speed. The good news is that you can get that using plugins that perform image compression for WordPress. Compression here means reducing the image file sizes without affecting the quality. Doing this manually is tedious and time-consuming. This is because you have to process each image and use such software as JPEG Advance Compressor and others. How can you do this in a smart manner rather than doing it the hard way? By using WP Smush.

WP Smush works automatically. It compresses your images on upload. It also works on your old photos by squeezing them to reasonable and optimal sizes and fine-tuning them for your site.

The plugin allows you to set a maximum image resolution (as well as maximum image height and width). This makes it possible for your images to scale down in the process of being compressed. Developed by WPMU DEV, WP Smush is genuinely a revolutionary cloud image resizing, optimizing and compressing WordPress plugin. It uses the WPMU DEV powerful servers on the background to remove bulky elements from your images. Every single image is smushed removing all superfluous data without compromising the image quality.

Additionally, the plugin goes even further to optimize images beyond your media library. These include images in any directory of your site. This means that you can optimize NextGen images, Amazon S3 images, images in other plugins and your theme package. It also works well with all other plugins including Elementor.

2. Installing and Configuring it

WP Smush settings

To install the plugin, you can download it from the WordPress plugin repository. However, the simplest way is to go to your site admin and add it from the “add new” plugin. Once installed, the plugin creates a new menu “Smush” menu on your site admin. Immediately after activating the plugin, you will get a popup that will help you configure it step by step. But what are the Pros and Cons of using this plugin?

3. Features

There are two versions of WP Smush; Free and Paid. The free version is about enough for basic optimizations. However, the complete version of the plugin comes loaded with many additional features and other extra plugins:

  • Improved page loading speeds
  • Advanced SEO and ranking
  • Reduced image sizes, thus reduced server loads
  • Less server storage space that may mean reduced server costs
  • Reduced effect on network bandwidth that optimizes traffic and may mean reduced hosting costs

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should install WP Smush plugin to optimize your images for WordPress.

3. Pros and Cons


  • WP Smush is the best and most popular plugin for image optimization.
  • It ranks and works best on Google PageSpeed Insights tool
  • Offers unlimited free image optimizations per month.
  • Ability to automatically compress images on upload.
  • Ability to automatically strip unnecessary information off your images such as metadata and EXIF data (elements like camera settings, focal lengths, location, time and dates etc).
  • Automatically resize your full-size images to a pre-set minimum and maximum.
  • Works with WordPress Multisite (you can global-activate the plugin or configure it for individual site preferences).

WP Smush Multisite

  • Ability to view image optimization statistics (number of images compressed, sizes and space saved).
  • You do not need to create a user account to use their API key on the free version. The free version gives you the ability to compress each image. You can also bulk-compress 50 images at a time.
  • Image optimization uses the plugin developer’s server resources. This means that your private server resources are not utilized in this process. This is especially advantageous for websites using a shared hosting environment.
  • The plugin highlights mismatched images on your frontend so that you can correct the sizes. This is however done on the admin role (your site visitors cannot see this).


  • A maximum file size of only 1MB for the free version. This may not be enough for all categories of websites. However, the Pro version allows up to 32MB.
  • You need a membership to WPMU DEV to enjoy additional features that will cost you $49 per month. However, this comes with many other exciting plugins from the developer.
  • The free version does not compress your original images. Other optimization plugins have this feature.
  • The free version is limited to 50 images per instance. This may mean “more time” if you have many images to compress.
  • You should be ready for intrusive advertisements on your admin dashboard calling your attention to upgrade to the pro version.

5. Verdict

WP Smush plugin has worthy competitors in the “image compression for WordPress” space. These include Imagify, ShortPixel, reSmush.It, EWWW Image Optimizer and Compress JPEG & PNG images among a few others. All these have features that may dwarf WP Smush in some respects. However, WP Smush is generally the best overall. The plugin is a winner of Torque back-2-back Plugin Madness. That tells a lot. With more than 27 billion images optimized using this plugin so far, why not add yours to the jumble?

  • Time Saved: 9/10
  • Performance: 10/10
  • Easy to use: 10/10
  • Extensibility: 7/10
  • Price: 6/10 ($49 per month)

Want to read more? Check out our review of MonsterInsights!

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