ShortPixel is an image optimization service with plugins available for WordPress. If you have a business website and you’re dependent on a good SEO rating, then you know that load times can really affect your ratings. That’s where ShortPixel comes in.
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Last Updated: Sep 14, 2023
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But is it really the tool you need to make your SEO dreams come true and does it live up to the hype?
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about ShortPixel, including all its features, who could benefit from it, the pros and cons, its reputation, and how much it costs in this ShortPixel Review.
Probably the best way to start off this ShortPixel review is with a description of ShortPixel. Of course, you’re wondering what it is and what it does right?
In simple terms, ShortPixel optimizes and reduces the file sizes of all the image files on your website, and then stores the new optimized images on their own CDN (Content Distribution Network), which is a series of servers located all over the world whose job is to store copies of your website.
When a visitor comes to your website, ShortPixel replaces the image files with the image files it converted and optimized.
This makes for a better visitor experience because there are shorter load times, and it provides your website with better SEO ratings which means that more people will be able to find and visit your website.
As part of our ShortPixel review, we want to cover ShortPixel’s history and reputation, as well as their features and pros and cons. ShortPixel was first introduced in 2014, and they released their first paid version a year later.
They developed a client library in 2016, and in 2017 they introduced a PHP tool used to optimize images, as well as a website optimizer, and a command-line interface.
In 2018 they came out with ShortPixel Adaptive Images which boasts lots of useful tools that aren’t found in the original plugin.
In their seven years of business, they’ve converted more than 1.8 billion images. They’ve served over 230,000 customers.
And they have a reputation for having good customer support services, as well. They claim to have helped 20,000 people through their customer support.
If you’re reading this ShortPixel review and wondering if it’s right for you, keep reading. We’ll tell you who this plugin is most suited for.
Here’s a list of people who could find ShortPixel useful:
While we were hitting the books to learn about the software for this ShortPixel review, we found that it supports a number of file types.
Of course, ShortPixel optimizes JPG and PNG files, but it also optimizes GIF (including animations), PDF, WebP, and AVIF files.
Many websites featuring high-quality photographs probably won’t use the GIF and PDF files much, but if you have a blog that uses lots of GIFs or you offer PDF guides on your site, this is a nice feature.
Most other image optimization services offer only JPG and PNG file optimization. Furthermore, you have the option to automatically convert PNG files to JPG files, and create PNG files with transparent backgrounds.
Now we come to the meat and potatoes of this ShortPixel review: the features. Here are the features you can expect from ShortPixel:
One of the most interesting features we found while conducting research for this ShortPixel review is that ShortPixel allows you to choose from three different image compression types.
Lossy: This is the standard setting that they recommend. Of the three compression types, this is the one with the best compression rate.
The goal of this compression type is to compress your files as much as possible, which means you may lose some of the details in the file. But by all reports, ShortPixel does a great job of performing lossy compression.
Glossy: This option is great for photography sites and people who sell high-quality images.
ShortPixel still compresses images when you choose this option, but they retain a lot of their details, unlike images compressed using the Lossy setting. This means that your website will still feature high-quality images.
Lossless: If you don’t want to lose any of your image’s details, this is the setting for you. It barely compresses the files, and you’ll notice that there isn’t much difference between the original and the compressed file size.
If you’re reading this ShortPixel review and wondering how an image optimizer condenses image files, this section should help explain that.
When you upload an image there’s a lot of EXIF, or “extra information” embedded in it. Some of this information includes things like the type of camera used to take the photo, the date, time, location, and other identifying information that isn’t necessary to simply upload the photo to your site.
All of this extra information adds to the file size of your images.
ShortPixel gives you a “Remove EXIF” option, which removes all of this unnecessary information.
This is a really useful feature and we would really kick ourselves if we didn’t include it in this ShortPixel review. The way this works is that when a page is loading for a viewer, it initially uses a low-quality version of your image.
Then once the site is fully loaded, it’s replaced with a high-quality image. This reduces load times and increases the viewer experience.
One of the best features we can mention in this ShortPixel review is the option to automatically compress your files.
This allows you to compress any image file that you upload to WordPress automatically, rather than uploading it and then going into the plugin to convert it.
Everyone knows that thumbnails are important because they provide visitors with a preview of the images of your page and give them a taste of what they can expect.
One of the nicer features that we need to mention in this ShortPixel review is a setting that allows you to optimize even your thumbnail images.
What happens to the original copies of your images? With most image optimization services, the originals are lost.
But it’s worth mentioning as part of this ShortPixel review that you have the option to save backups of your original images with ShortPixel.
You just need to click the option in the settings. However, it’s also important to remember that these backups take up storage space.
If you’re on a WordPress Hosting Plan that provides you with limited storage, then these backups may not be worth it to you.
As you’ve been reading this ShortPixel review, you’ve probably been wondering whether you can optimize images you’ve already uploaded to your site, or if you can only optimize future uploads.
It depends on how you set up your settings. But you have the option to optimize images retroactively.
The Bulk Optimization tool will tell you how many of the images you’ve uploaded need to be compressed. From there, you have the option to optimize all of your images in one sitting, which can of course take some time.
Or, you can choose specific images to optimize, choosing to optimize a few rather than all of them at once.
Another interesting thing we discovered while we were doing research for this ShortPixel review is that ShortPixel doesn’t limit image file sizes.
Other image optimization services enforce file size limits, but not ShortPixel. So you can optimize both small and large file types.
One of the things you’re probably wondering while reading this ShortPixel is how you’ll know if the details of the newly compressed images have changed in a way you don’t like.
It’s important to have a copy of the original image so that you can tell whether you like the original or the compressed version better.
Luckily, ShortPixel allows you to check them both out at the same time, side by side so that you can inspect them and make a decision.
But you’ll often find that the compressed file isn’t much different from the original, other than it’s a smaller file now.
If you were reading this ShortPixel review and wondering about adaptive images, this section will tell you everything you want to know.
The full-sized version of an image is different across different devices. So, a full-sized desktop image is different from a full-sized mobile image. ShortPixel automatically ensures that the image file is adapted to the device your viewer is using.
You can use ShortPixel to exclude certain images based on their URL. You can choose to exclude GIFs or PNGs not to load, or for specific images not to load on a specific page.
This is quite helpful, and it’s a feature you don’t see much on other image optimizing services, so we felt it was a good idea to include it in this ShortPixel review.
One of the most interesting things we found during our research for this ShortPixel review is that when you buy a subscription plan, you’re not buying service for one website. Instead, you can use one membership on an infinite number of websites.
Of course, if you need to convert thousands of images across several websites then you’ll need to purchase one of the more pricey subscription plans or a dedicated server plan, but it’s still nice that you have the option to do so.
If you’ve been reading this ShortPixel review and wondering if agencies can use this service or if you can use it as a business owner with employees, the answer is yes. You can create sub-accounts and delegate work to other people or, you could create sub-accounts for clients.
This is another useful feature that we want to point out in our ShortPixel review. If you’ve created and customized a website by either hiring someone to design it for you or using a website builder, then chances are that your images aren’t optimized.
Using ShortPixel’s archive optimizer, you can upload .zip archive files, and it will optimize all of the images in them without changing the structure of the files and folders it contains.
You can control the compression level, customize the maximum resize dimensions of your images, convert image files to next-gen formats like AVIF or WebP, choose to maintain EXIF information in your images, and convert images with CMYK colors to RGB.
There are a lot of image optimization options on the market, such as Kraken.io, ImageRecycle, JPEG Optimizer, and Optimizilla.
But while these other services will adequately optimize your images, they require you to optimize them before you upload them to WordPress.
But if you use the ShortPixel plugin for WordPress, it will automatically optimize your images when you upload them to WordPress, which is far more convenient.
While we were doing research for this ShortPixel review, we wondered if anyone had performed independent testing on their own website to see how ShortPixel affects performance. Luckily, we found some interesting statistics from this page.
This person created a WordPress page, complete with eight different images (four were JPGs and four were PNGs). Here’s how the page tested before using ShortPixel to optimize the images:
So, the page performed reasonably well before using ShortPixel to optimize the images. Here’s how the page performed after using ShortPixel:
This is pretty telling. The image file size went down 53%, and the load time went down 0.23 seconds.
This person conducted some experiments as well and found that their images went down between 71.85- 82.37%.
It’s not often that we find this sort of experimentation with software, so we were pleased to find actual numbers that we could include in our ShortPixel review.
In this section of our ShortPixel review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about where to find the ShortPixel WordPress Plugin, how to install it, and how to customize your settings once it’s installed.
You can download the ShortPixel WordPress Plugin here.
Here are the steps to install the plugin:
Once you’ve installed the plugin and entered your API key, you’ll have access to the settings and be able to customize them.
You’ll see settings that allow you to choose between lossy, glossy, and lossless optimizations, thumbnail optimization, and whether you want to backup copies of original images.
Once you’re satisfied with your settings, you can hit the “Save and Go to Bulk Process” button. It will then begin optimizing all the image files on your site.
This will take a while if you have a lot of images, but it will provide you with a status bar to let you know how far along in the process it is.
Keep this tab open as closing it will stop the bulk optimization. You can still use WordPress by opening another tab, however. After the bulk optimization is complete, you can view the results under the plugin’s Settings page.
You don’t need to upload photos to a specific folder or use another program to upload them. This plugin allows you to upload images to WordPress and automatically optimize them.
However, if you use another program that uses a different media library or saves files in a specific location, like NextGen, ShortPixel won’t optimize those images.
To ensure that this is a comprehensive ShortPixel review, we’re going to tell you how to configure your advanced settings once you’ve installed the plugin and configured the standard optimization settings.
Click the “Advanced” tab. You’ll see options that allow you to use a number of features.
Here you can search through media folders and select them, directing ShortPixel to optimize the images in those folders and their subfolders.
This setting automatically converts PNG images with no transparent pixels into JPG images. Of course, this greatly reduces the file sizes of the images. It won’t convert PNG images that already have transparent pixels.
This setting will convert images with CMYK colors to RGB colors, which can be viewed on computers and mobile devices more easily and reduce image file sizes.
If you use this setting, you have the option to use WebP versions of your images. This image type is three times less bulky than PNG images, and 25% more compact than JPGs.
If you use Cloudflare, you’ve probably read through this whole ShortPixel review to get to this answer. Yes, ShortPixel will work with Cloudflare.
This is the most important question for many people, so we couldn’t leave it out of our ShortPixel review.
If you’re reading this ShortPixel review wondering if the plans are expensive because you’re on a budget, there’s good news: ShortPixel is free by default.
You can optimize up to 100 images for free. This is great for users who don’t have loads of images to optimize, but if you have more images or upload more than 100 images per month then the subscription plans are better suited to you.
|ShortPixel Monthly Subscription Plans||Plan Features|
|Free||– 100 images/month|
– 5,000 images/month
– 12,000 images/month
– 55,000 images/month
Here’s a look at the various ShortPixel monthly subscription plans:
|ShortPixel One-time Plans||Plan Features|
– optimization of 10,000 images
– optimization of 30,000 images
– optimization of 50,000 images
– optimization of 170,000 images
We were pleased to find during the research for this ShortPixel review that they not only offer monthly subscription plans but also one-time plans.
This allows you to optimize a bulk amount of images without paying monthly fees. Here’s a look at the one-time plans:
|ShortPixel Server Plans||Plan Features|
|Dedicated 4||– $350/month|
– 4 cores and 8 threads/month
|Dedicated 8||– $500/month|
– 8 cores and 16 threads/month
|Dedicated 24||– $1,000/month|
– 24 cores and 48 threads/month
We were even more surprised to find that ShortPixel offers plans on dedicated servers for people who upload a large number of images monthly, so we felt we needed to include these plans in our ShortPixel review, as well. Here are the dedicated server plans:
Of course, this wouldn’t be a fair and unbiased ShortPixel review if we didn’t tell you about some of the drawbacks of the service. Here are some of ShortPixel’s drawbacks:
You’re required to use an API key to set up the plugin. It’s a fairly simple process to enter the API key, but many users find it unnecessary and it’s easy to see why it can be a little annoying to some people.
We mentioned earlier in this ShortPixel review that you’ve got the option to optimize thumbnail images, which is a cool feature. However, optimized thumbnail images count towards your optimized image allotment for the month.
We discussed the ability to backup original images in a previous section of this ShortPixel review.
This is a convenient feature, but the downside to saving backups of your original images is that your backup images are stored in your WordPress media servers. This can cost you money in the long run.
If you’re converting panoramic images, then you’ll likely not be satisfied with the results. Panoramic images converted using ShortPixel tend to come out a bit blurry.
You don’t have the option to specify which file sizes should be compressed, which seems like a missed opportunity.
That is, it seems like there should be an option to convert any image over a certain size (I.e. 100 MB). But because it’s not an option we thought it was worth mentioning this drawback in our ShortPixel review.
We don’t feel like this would be a thorough ShortPixel review if we didn’t mention the fact that ShortPixel periodically times out and logs you out after periods of inactivity. This can be quite annoying to some users.
Another annoying aspect of their service that we would be remiss of if we didn’t mention it in our ShortPixel review is the fact that some credits roll over, and some don’t.
If you purchase one-time credits those roll over for the life of your account. But monthly credits expire. It’s difficult, confusing, and annoying to figure this credit system out.
If you’re reading this ShortPixel review to find out whether there’s a free trial, there’s not. However, ShortPixel is free by default for up to 100 optimized images so a free trial really isn’t necessary. But they do offer another type of promotion.
ShortPixel has a referral program that you can take advantage of. If you refer someone to their service and they optimize 50 images, you get 100 image credits/ month for life.
You’re limited to 1,000 of these referral credits per month, but that’s enough that you shouldn’t sleep on it. If you run a small blog then you could share your referral code on social media and take advantage of the program, which could benefit you.
This really wouldn’t be an unbiased ShortPixel review if we didn’t discuss other image optimization options with you. Here are a few alternatives to ShortPixel that you can consider if you decide that ShortPixel isn’t right for you:
TinyPNG optimizes and condenses WebP, JPG, and PNG images. It also optimizes Animated PNG or APNG files, which ShortPixel does not.
However, it doesn’t convert PDF files, you get one type of compression type (lossy), and there’s a 75 MB file limit with the premium plan, whereas ShortPixel doesn’t limit file sizes.
But they offer a subscription plan that costs $25 per user per year, which is more affordable for some people. And they have a wide variety of integrations, which makes it an alternative service worth mentioning in this ShortPixel review.
OptiMole compresses PNG, JPG, and WebP images, but not PDF files. You do have the choice of lossy or lossless compression with their image optimization service, however.
There’s no file size limit and they offer a free plan, like ShortPixel. They also offer some features that ShortPixel does not, like the ability to add watermarks to your images and automatically downgrading image quality for users with slow internet connections and it works with a number of website builders.
These extra features make OptiMole worth mentioning as an alternative service in this ShortPixel review, but the drawback comes when you start checking out their subscription plans.
Each plan limits you to a certain amount of website visitors per month. For instance, with the free plan, you’re limited to 5,000 visitors per month. The paid subscription plans limit you as well.
Eww compresses only JPG, PNG, and WebP images, but it provides serval plugins that ShortPixel does not. It also allows you to scale and resize images, which is a nice feature that isn’t currently supported by ShortPixel.
Those are really where it’s a favorable comparison in this ShortPixel review end, however. Eww doesn’t offer a free plan so it really falls behind ShortPixel in that regard, and we can’t really recommend it as a budget option because of that.
Imagify optimizes PNG and jPG images, and you have the option to convert them to WebP images. There are three different compression settings: Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra. The “Normal” setting is lossless and the other two are basically varying degrees of lossy compression.
You can backup original copies of images like you can with ShortPixel, as well. They have a free option, which is one of the reasons we mention it as an alternative in this ShortPixel review.
But two of their price tiers (both the free and the $4.99 monthly “Growth” option) limit the number of images you can optimize. You get unlimited images with the infinite plan for $9.99/month.
ShortPixel is one of the best image optimization services on the market. Of course, as with any quality technological service, there are a few drawbacks.
But overall, ShortPixel is worth checking out if you’d like to decrease your website’s load times and increase the viewer experience.
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The ShortPixel plugins work on any publically accessible website.
If the file extension is supported by WordPress, then Enable Media Replace will work.
The Image Optimizer on ShortPixel offers 3 levels of quality including Lossy, Glossy, and Lossless.
Yes, Adaptive Images on Shortpixel works with Autoptimize.
No, you do not need to optimize your images before using the ShortPixel Image Optimizer and Adaptive Images tools because they will do all the optimizing for you.