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How I Cut My WordPress Load Time In Half Using A Free Plugin

Learn How We Shaved 1.5 Seconds Off Our Load Time By Switching From WP Smush To ShortPixel

We recently switched from WP Smush to ShortPixel and significantly increased our page speed.  This got our home page load time down to 1.33s (on Pingdom).  This is due to the fact that the free version of WP Smush doesn’t compress your images much.  In our case it was only 13%, since we were using their free version.  To get full compression you have to upgrade to their paid version.

ShortPixel is another free WordPress plugin similar to WP Smush, but it doesn’t limit the quality or amount of compression when using their free version.  However, they do limit you to 100 images per month, but atleast they are fully compressed.  This resulted in 58% compression and a significant drop in load time, bringing us down to 1.33s.  

WP Smush (Free) - 13% Compression

Smush - Only 13.2 percent reduction

ShortPixel (Free Version) - 58% Compression

ShortPixel Did Much Better With 58% Reduction
page speed down to 1.33s after using shortpixel

How To Setup ShortPixel

You can have ShortPixel setup on your site in just a few minutes.  Sign up for the free ShortPixel Plan here.  Install and activate the plugin and you will see a dashboard like the image below.  Click the button next to the API key to get an API key.  It will be inserted automatically, but will also be emailed to you as well.  After that there are a few settings to go through.  The most important one is the amount of compression:  Lossy, Glossy, or Lossless.  Lossy will result in the most compression.  If you are someone like a professional photographer where quality matters you could choose Lossless or Glossy.  Most people will see no disadvantage to going with Lossy and getting the largest page speed benefit.  After that there are a few other options like whether you want it to optimize thumbnails as well.  Check out this post if you want to learn more about the WordPress plugins we are currently using and getting great results with.  We have a great list that is extremely easy to use, works well together, and is most importantly fast for visitors.  

ShortPixel Dashboard
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