Updated: October 2019
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When you’re working hard to optimize a website, you learn that image file size is an important detail for speed. Many online publishers haven’t the time to learn Photoshop or other image editing programs. Automated optimizers are the next best thing and can speed your production. But which ones do a good job and how good is good enough? Big questions.
We’ve tested some nice online utilities for optimizing images, but only three stand out. These can be as frugal as optimization done in standalone programs like Photoshop. Don’t just ignore image speed issues. Sadly, halving the image weight on your home page will not make it load twice as fast. There are many other things to take into consideration. Nonetheless, image size and weight are the biggest contributors to site bloat. It’s worth your time to learn a few compression tricks.
Images are the biggest lump of sluggish web page weight. Everyone hates slow loading pages. Automated image workflow is an effortless way to improve user experience. Without difficulty, you can achieve the right balance of image file size and best quality. Optimizing images helps reduce your website visitor’s frustration.
We did a simple test of online optimizers with just two images. We weren’t interested in the nuances. We only wanted to know if the optimization tools met a minimum processing criteria. We describe our goals below under the section “PagePipe’s quick-test criteria.” Here are the two test images:
Test Banner JPEG Image
Test Camera Output JPEG Image
PagePipe recommends only three web image-optimizer utilities.
Please try the 3 image utilities and see if they have value for the web file sizes you use.
DynamicDrive image results are displayed by Quality-10 increments. We liked this simple, still-image visual feature a lot. DynamicDrive had an upload size limit of 2.86MB. That is too small for images straight out of a digital camera. We couldn’t upload the larger test JPEG because it is 5.5MB. We still like this browser-upload utility best for most web work because it shows all ten results for comparison. No fiddling with controls. Visual selection is easy.
17k, -85% savings
11K, -91% savings
121K, -98% savings
3. Web Resizer
Web Resizer Results:
19.29k, -83% savings
63.94k, -98% savings
Size limit = 10MB, 2,000px wide, Cropping or resize option.
PagePipe’s quick-test criteria.
- We’re only interested in compressing photograph files. The online compressor is best if it works for two different samples: a large digital camera file and a smaller web banner. Both JPEG images. Specifications for test images are below:
- The software needed for image optimization must be only the browser. No other programs or plugins; such as Adobe Air, Windows Only, Flash, etc.
- We want to upload the test images by browsing or drag-and-drop.
- We consider it a bonus if the browser imaging tool has an image resizing option.
- The tool must work. Seriously? If it fails, it’s off the list.
- We’re only interested in lossy compression for the most page-weight reduction. Lossy is a type of compression where a certain amount of information is discarded. It is best. 50 to 70 percent reduction in file size.
- We prefer optimizers with reduction control in steps of 10-increment quality settings. 90Q down to 10Q range. We pushed down to 10Q for testing when possible.
The 7 random losers.
We’ll share these just so you don’t wonder if we tried them or not:
We’ve used smush before. It’s part of Yslow performance measurement tool by Yahoo! It never makes much of a difference. There are better alternatives. Many swear by this method. We don’t think it’s that cool by comparison. On the test, it failed to upload the images. We tried again – and gave up. We didn’t care that much. You only use lossy settings on the pro version. The free plugin has 10 percent reduction. That isn’t good enough.
We think Kraken has potential with the WordPress plugin version. But the online browser version doesn’t allow you to make quality settings. Our trees-rocks test image only compressed by 12.4%. Unimpressive. And the larger “wood” image wasn’t allowed. They said for that size we’d have to upgrade to Pro version with an upper limit of 16MB. Forget it!
RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool)
For Windows only. Disqualified.
FAILED uploading and gave an error message.
“Sorry, there was a problem with the image(s) you are uploading. Please ensure your image is a supported format and complies with your quota.”
Our images worked fine everywhere else? Go figure. Yes. We tried more than once.
Desktop app for Adobe AIR. Disqualified because it requires more than a browser.
TinyPNG – 5MB limit
Has a 5MB limit and made no difference. “Zero Percent” change on the trees and rock image.
Compressor.io didn’t cut it either. trees – rocks only compressed by 24%. That’s not good enough for us. The “wood” image was better (-72%) but no resizing option. It wasn’t of much value for those big, fat digital camera images.
Free PDF Download – PagePipe Guide to Image Optimization
Slow speed is caused by images that aren’t optimized. It’s a trade-off between file size and image quality. Learn about proper image optimization. Heal the Internet.
72k, 8-page, 8.5 x 11 inch, printable b&w
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for image optimization. No common formula. That’s why robot-plugin optimization is usually too conservative and overcautious. They don’t compress enough. The human eye is the best judge of how much is enough. Every image is different in potential gain. Only optimize on your 10 most important landing pages. You don’t need to worry about every image site wide.
Even though you could squeeze an additional 200k of image weight from the homepage, it wouldn’t make a significant difference. Why? Browsers load images in parallel.
Comparison of image optimization