WP Smush Review: Do You Really Need it? (2018)

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? Let’s see in this WP Smush Review whether you really need it on your website!

WP Smush Review

1. Why use it

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.

Readers love beautiful pictures along with high-quality content. Images help in optimizing your content and posts. However, 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 image compression.

WP Smush Install

Compression here means reducing the image file sizes without affecting the quality. Doing this manually is tedious and time-consuming. How can you do this in a smart manner rather than doing it the hard way?

WP Smush to the rescue! WP Smush can seamlessly compress all your images automatically. It also works on your old photos by squeezing them to reasonable and optimal sizes and fine-tuning them for your site.

2. Installing and Configuring it

WP Smush settings

To install the plugin, 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.

3. Features

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. You can use it to optimize NextGen images, Amazon S3 images and images from other plugins or themes. It also works well with all other plugins including Elementor.

It’s time now to analyze in this WP Smush Review, the two versions available: Free and Paid. The free version is about enough for basic optimizations in small images (up to 1MB). However, the paid version of the plugin comes loaded with many additional features that can help you achieve the best possible performance:

  • Improved page loading speeds due to superior compression rates
  • Automatic image scaling
  • More extensions supported: PNG, JPEG, GIF and WebP
  • Optimizations of images up to 32MB of size

3. Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 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).

Cons

  • 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

In this WP Smush Review, we went through most of its strong points and how you can use it to drastically improve the performance of your website.

It’s worth mentioning though, that the 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.

Having said that, WP Smush is generally considered the best overall, being selected as the winner of the Torque back-2-back Plugin Madness contest.

  • 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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