Improving Website Media (Images) Optimization of Wordpress Sites

  1. Removing unused media files

Note: You will be cleaning up unused media files by deleting them forever. This action cannot be undone. Make sure that you have a complete WordPress backup in place before proceeding further.

Method 1. Clean up WordPress Media Library using Media Cleaner

1, Install and activate the Media Cleaner plugin.
2. Go to Media » Cleaner page to analyze your WordPress media library. The plugin may ask you to reset itself, during this process it will create a new table in your WordPress database to store data.
3. Click on the Start Scan button to run the media analysis
Media Cleaner
Media Cleaner will now look for files that are in your media library but are not used on your website. This may take a while depending on the size of your media library and the content you have.

Media cleaner results

4. Select the files that you don’t want to keep and delete them. You can also click on the Delete All button to instantly delete all unused media files.

IMPORTANT: You will be cleaning up unused media files by deleting them forever.

Method 2 : Clean Up WordPress Media Library using Media Deduper

Note: We will be using the Media Deduper plugin. It is also available as both a free and paid version.. However, we recommend using the pro version because it allows you to prevent deleting duplicate images in the WordPress gallery, Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, and more.
  1. Install and activate the Media Deduper plugin
  2. Visit Media » Manage Duplicates page and click on the Index Media button to analyze your media library.
Manage duplicates
  1. After reviewing the files, you can select all files or specific duplicates. Next, simply select ‘Smart Delete’ from the Bulk actions drop-down menu and then click the Apply button.
Smart delete

Note: Smart Delete feature will make sure that images that are being used on your website are not deleted. It will also merge duplicate images allowing you to reuse media files without reuploading the same file.

  1. Using image compression tools

Use one of these 5 media compression tools for your website based on need and requirements:
That being said, let’s take a look at the best WordPress image compression plugins, and how they stack up in terms of image optimization, performance, and quality.

2. EWWW Image Optimizer

3. Compress JPEG & PNG images
Compress JPEG & PNG images
4. ShortPixel Image Optimizer
5. WP Smush
WP Smush
The free version of the plugin doesn’t perform that well. See our review of WP Smush with pros and cons.

Comparison Test Scores for Image Compression Plugins

Now that you know about the different WordPress image compression options, let’s take a look at how they compare against each other in terms of performance.
To measure this, we ran test by uploading the same image using each of these plugins.

Testing JPEG Image Compression
We used the following JPEG image for our tests, it is 118 KB in file size.
JPEG test image
Here are a set of sample test results:
Compressed Size
Saved (%)
Method 76 KB 30.59% Lossless
EWWW Image Optimizer 112 KB 5% Lossless
Compress JPEG & PNG images 114.7 KB 2.8 % Lossy
ShortPixel Image Optimizer 69.2 KB 41.94% Lossy
WP Smush 112 KB 5% Lossless
Testing PNG Image Compression
Testing PNG image compression
We used the following PNG image for the test, and it is 102 KB in file size.
PNG test image
Here are our test results:
Compressed Size
Saved (%)
Method 36 KB 63.8% Lossless
EWWW Image Optimizer 97.5 KB 1.9% Lossless
Compress JPEG & PNG images 34.3 64% Lossy
ShortPixel Image Optimizer 37 KB 63.5% Lossy
WP Smush 99 KB 2.9% Lossless
Which is The Best Image Compression Plugin for WordPress?
If you are not looking for flexible options in your image compression plugin, then gives you the best results in terms of performance by making the real difference in image file size.

If you are willing to pay for image compression, then you can try ShortPixel which performed really well in our tests.

EWWW Image Optimizer is a great plugin with flexible settings, but you will need their paid API key to get access to compression levels which make the real difference.

We hope you found this comparison of best WordPress image compression plugins useful. You may also want to see our list of common image issues in WordPress and how to fix them.

Related Information for Website Optimization:

  • Divi or Elementor for building out new global template based sites.  They are really lean coding plugins that allow you to re-use elements from other sites (and reduce dev time).
  • Use a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache to speed up the site loading times.
  • Install Wordfence for improved site security.
  • Use Rankmath for SEO optimisation.  We’ve heard good reports on this and a client site has had huge success:
  • Use TreeSize Pro to find out which files are too large for your wordpress install.