How to Compress Images Before Use

In the previous article, How To Compress Images; For Faster Site; Gtmetrix Trick, you use gtmetrix to get compressed images after they’re already live. Wouldn’t it better to compress images before use!? Yes.

There are a variety of image compression tools. There are online web services, desktop tools and even WordPress plugins that use online web services. The goal is the smallest possible filesize with minimal visual impairment. Let’s explore the ways.

WordPress WP Smush.it

If you use WordPress, highly recommend using the WP Smush.it plugin. Compressing images couldn’t be easier. Once installed, it intercepts non-optimized images and uses Yahoo Smush.it to compress images. It tells you how much it saved:

How to Compress Images Before Use with WP Smush.it

WP Smush.it also has a bulk tool, which is very handy for getting all of your existing images compressed.

bulk_smush.it

LIMITATION: The Yahoo Smush.it service limits file upload size to 1MB, according to it’s FAQ. It’s common for photos to be larger than 1MB. You’ll need to use a desktop tool to compress these images first. Don’t worry if they’re fully optimized or not, just need to get under 1MB and then let WP Smush.it or one of the online web services, described below, do the rest.

Compress Images Without WP Smush.it

If you’re not a WordPress user, or have images larger than 1MB, then use desktop or web tools.

Web Tools

Web based with a 1MB per file upload limit. Very nice of Yahoo to offer this for free to the world.
Web based tool similar to Yahoo Smush.it with a 2MB limit, but it only does PNG files. It performs lossy image compression on PNG files, meaning it sacrifices a touch of visual quality for significant savings in size. Tiny PNG performs image compression for free in hopes of alluring sales of their Photoshop plugin. If you have Photoshop and can afford this plugin, would make for a good way to get your photos web optimized.
Web based tool that compresses JPEG images. Could be the best JPEG compression available, because it reduces the filesize significantly without being able to tell the difference visually on a monitor. The plans are pricey, but you can sign up for a free account and use the Web Service to upload albums and then download the resulting compressed jpegs. The paid plans are for the desktop version. There is also a “Try it now for free” option. You can upload images one at a time and then download the new compressed image.

Desktop Compression Tools

Mac users may delight in this free and open source tool for lossless image compression.
Windows users may use this free software to compress images with a combination of lossy and lossless compression. It’s simple to use and has a slew of options.

FILEminimizer

FILEminimizer_after

In this example, it converted a folder of 29 images that were orginally 3264×2448 pixels and approximately 1.7MB each. The resulting images were 640×480 pixels and approximately 44KB each. This brings up a really good point about images on the web. A 640×480 image is usually plenty big for the web. A really good practice would be to resize your images first with FILEminimizer Pictures, then run them through either Tiny PNG or JPEG Mini to get fully web optimized. I took one of the resulting 44KB images from FILEminimizer and uploaded to JPEGmini and it reduced the size to 34KB.

How To Compress Images Before Use

In summary, the complexity of image compression for use on web pages can be minimized with WP Smush.it, as long as you’re using WordPress and your images are less than 1MB to begin with. It takes some discipline and extra process to use an online web service, such as Yahoo Smush.it, Tiny PNG, or JPEG Mini. It’s highly recommended to use a desktop tool, such as FILEminimizer Pictures, first to resize images to their intended display dimensions, then use one of the online web services to squeeze out even more size. This process can be daunting at first, but any web professional will tell you that optimizing your images will be big bang for the buck. It’s worth the extra work. The reward will be a faster loading web page for your site visitors.

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