Updated: May 2020
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Use tandem plugins for some image speed trickery. The plugins are Hide Featured Image (7.6k download) and Default Featured Image (also a 7.6k download).
What if you’re using a blog list page or a column grid plugin with hundreds of images? The shortcode or theme pulls thumbnails of the huge featured image from the posts. The dimensions stay huge and the image thumb is mathematically resized in the browser window. Nasty for speed. But maybe you don’t want the big featured-image page weight on the post either.
Use Default Featured Image plugin to place a single generic thumbnail image globally on all posts. Now you don’t need to upload individual featured images to posts. Leave that selection blank. Make the default image a 150-pixel square thumbnail size. Not a 2000-pixel wide full-screen dimension. That prevent loading up your blog list or grid with fat images.
Why would you do that?
When you only need the image as a signpost or page divider.
Now use Hide Featured Image plugin to globally deactivate the featured image in the plugin settings. That keeps it from appearing in the header on posts. Or selectively deactivate posts individually with a checkbox on each post’s backend. That keeps the default from appear on specific posts. The image then only appears on the bloglist or masonry grid. Much faster loading and cleaner.
There’s no dogmatic rule requiring a featured image appears on each post.
These plugins provide creative ways to solve image speed problems.
OFF-DIRECTORY PLUGIN: https://gist.github.com/bueltge/2930032
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