ShortPixel is an image optimization WordPress plugin that offers professional-level features… for FREE. In this ShortPixel review, I’m going to explain all the features of the plugin, and demonstrate why I give it such a high rating.

There are several quality image optimization plugins out there, and ShortPixel is just as good—if not better—than anything else on the market.

Need to optimize more than 100 images/mo.? For less than $10, you can purchase 15,000 credits that never expire. Buy Credits »

Table of Contents

ShortPixel Installation & API Key

Before you can use the ShortPixel image optimization plugin, you need to request an API key. It’s completely free, but you do need to provide an email address. If you manage multiple websites, you can use the same API key for all of your sites.

ShortPixel API key settings

Enter your email address and click Request Key. You will receive an email with your API key, as well as a password to access your new ShortPixel account. Then simply enter your API key into Step 2 and click Validate.

ShortPixel Options & Settings

Before you optimize any images, you should take a moment to configure your settings. There are several options to choose from, so let’s briefly touch on each one.

Image Compression Type

  • Lossy: Recommended. Lossy offers the best compression rate, and will shrink your image size considerably. 99% of the time, the human eye will not be able to tell the difference.
  • Glossy: Best for photographers. Offers some compression, but maintains quality for high-resolution images.
  • Lossless: Only in rare cases. Provides very minimal compression, but might be needed for technical drawings or images from vector graphics.

Other General Settings

  • Include Thumbnails: Recommended. This will optimize all sizes of the image, and not just the full size image.
  • Image Backups: Recommended. Keeping backups will allow you to restore your original images.
  • CMYK to RGB Conversion: Recommended. CMYK is used in print, while RGB is for images on the web.
  • Remove EXIF Data: Recommended. This is extra information that is typically not needed.
  • Resize Large Images: If you upload very large images (3000px+ wide), you should enable this option. I recommend setting your images to a maximum width of 2000-2500px and maximum height of around 1200-1500px.

Advanced Settings

  • Additional Media Folders: In addition to your Media Library, you can choose images stored in other locations to also get optimized.
  • Convert PNG to JPG: I do not recommend this option. If you upload transparent PNG images, you will lose the transparency if you convert them to JPG.
  • WebP Versions: Optional. WebP images can be even smaller in file size than JPG or PNG. ShortPixel can create a .webp version of each image you upload.
  • Optimize PDFs: Recommended. Let ShortPixel optimize your PDF files to reduce their file size as well.
  • Optimize Media on Upload: Recommended. This means ShortPixel will automatically optimize all images uploaded to the Media Library.

Get ShortPixel

ShortPixel Features

All the ShortPixel plugin features are included with their FREE plan. The only difference between the free and professional plans are the number of images you can optimize.

The free plan limits you to 100 images/mo., while there are multiple paid plans to choose from.

Image Compression

This is the main purpose of the ShortPixel plugin; to compress & optimize your images. You have 3 levels of compression to choose from, so you can choose to optimize for increased page load times, or retain a little more image quality. It’s entirely up to you.

ShortPixel image compression details in WordPress admin
View image compression details in the Media Library

NOTE: You must be in “list” mode to see the ShortPixel Compression info in your Media Library. Media Library list & grid mode icons

Supports JPG, PNG, GIF, WebP Filetypes

ShortPixel supports optimization of all common image file types found on the web today, including the newer .webp format, as well as the animated .gif.

ShortPixel webp image settings
WebP image settings in ShortPixel

Supports PDF Compression

The ShortPixel plugin will also optimize and compress your PDF files. I have personally used this feature, and saw a HUGE reduction in file size without any noticeable difference in the quality.

Automatically Optimize on Upload

Your images will automatically be optimized (based on your personalized settings) every time you upload an image to your Media Library. Just configure your settings once, and let ShortPixel handle it from there.

Optimize Thumbnails

Not only will this plugin optimize the original image, but it will also compress each of the additional sizes that WordPress automatically creates for you.

Optimize Images Outside of the Media Library

If you store images somewhere other than your Media Library, ShortPixel has you covered. Just type in any folder location where you store images, and those will be optimized as well.

ShortPixel optimize other images setting

Restore Original Images

ShortPixel restore/compare flyout menu
Choose to restore the original image, or re-optimize with different settings

Should you ever need to restore your original images, and remove the ShortPixel compression, you can do so with one click. This works for individual images, as well as restoring all images in bulk.

ShortPixel stores the original version of your images in a folder on your server, so this will require additional disk space. Original images are stored in:


If you are running low on disk space, and are comfortable with your compressed images, you can bulk delete all the original images that are stored in the ShortPixel backup folder.

Bulk Image Optimization

ShortPixel bulk image optimization settings
Simple, intuitive bulk optimization screen

Need to retroactively optimize a bunch of images that you’ve already uploaded? No problem. Use ShortPixel’s bulk optimization feature. You have two options:

  • Select a handful of images to optimize in bulk
  • Bulk optimize every single image in your Media Library
ShortPixel bulk edit options
Choose specific images; then bulk edit them

I love their intuitive interface for bulk optimizing images. You can:

  • See exactly how many images have yet to be optimized
  • See a breakdown of original images vs. auto-created thumbnail sizes

And you can even bulk restore your entire Media Library if you want to set all images back to their original versions.

No File Size Limit on Images

Some image optimization plugins have restrictions on how large your images can be in order for them to be optimized. ShortPixel does not have a limit. Your images can be as large as you’d like, and they will still be optimized.

Visually Compare Images

One of my favorite features of ShortPixel is the image comparison tool. After an image has been compressed, you can quickly preview the original image with the compressed one, side-by-side.

ShortPixel compare images animation
How to compare images with the ShortPixel plugin

This makes it easy to see if the compression affected the image quality.

Get ShortPixel

Image Compression Statistics

ShortPixel dedicates an entire page to your image compression stats. The following information is available from within your WordPress admin area:

  • Average compression of all images (as a percentage)
  • Total disk space saved
  • Estimated bandwidth saved
  • Total number of processed files
  • Total size of your backup folder (with original images)
ShortPixel statistics page
A preview of the ShortPixel statistics page

You will also see your ShortPixel plan information:

  • Your monthly plan (or if you’re on the free plan)
  • Your one-time credits (if purchased)
  • Number of images processed this month
  • Images remaining in your plan

ShortPixel Plans & Pricing

All ShortPixel plans, including the free plan, come with ALL FEATURES. You only need to upgrade if you have more than 100 images/mo. to optimize.

WP Smackdown readers get 50% more images for each plan. Just use this link to sign up on ShortPixel’s website.

  • FREE: up to 100 150 images/mo.

Monthly Plans

These are monthly subscriptions that auto-renew each month.

  • 5,000 7,500 images/mo. for $4.99
  • 12,000 18,000 images/mo. for $9.99
  • 55,000 82,500 images/mo. for $29.99

One-Time Plans

These are one-time plans for a set amount of images. They never expire.

  • 10,000 15,000 images for $9.99
  • 30,000 45,000 images for $19.99
  • 50,000 75,000 images for $29.99
  • 170,000 255,000 images for $99

Get ShortPixel

ShortPixel Online Tools

In addition to the ShortPixel WordPress plugin, you can also use their online tools. The free, online image compression tools come with some restrictions, but provide an easy way to test the how much optimization you could achieve if you were to use the plugin.

Website Image Optimization Test

ShortPixel website optimization test

Instead of uploading images, you can enter a URL from your website, and ShortPixel will…

  • Scan all of your images
  • List out each image that they were able to compress
  • Show you how much compression you could achieve with each image
  • Provide a link to download the compressed images

Test your website »

Online Image Compression Tool

There is a limit of 50 images, and 10MB per image. Once you login and sign up for a free account, the limits are lifted.

Try the ShortPixel online image compression tool »

Online PDF Compression Tool

You can also use their PDF compression tool to optimize the file size of any PDF files you are uploading to your website.

Try the online PDF compressor »

ShortPixel Plugin Review Summary

This is truly one of the most powerful, easiest-to-use WordPress image optimization plugins you will find anywhere. All of its powerful features are available for free, and small sites with fewer than 100 images/mo. can take full advantage.

The image compression you get is excellent, with almost no visible difference to the naked eye. And the plugin is flexible enough to let you tweak the amount of compression, or revert back if need be.

ShortPixel is my go-to plugin for WordPress image optimization & compression.