Meow Apps

Optimize Images & CDN for WordPress

How to optimize images or which CDN to use with WordPress are very common questions I get. Of course, they also need to be compatible with my plugins.

Introduction

First, I will start with solutions to avoid absolutely. Then I will tell you what you should do, and then introducing the different solutions. If you are only looking for the best solutions and that you have a bit of budget for your website, you can go directly to the All-in-One Solutions section.

What to avoid

Amazon S3

Avoid using S3 with WordPress. Don’t even think about it. Not now. It was not meant to be used with S3, and even if there are plugins allowing you to do that, it is a hack. I don’t doubt it is an interesting idea, unfortunately, you will encounter many issues, with many plugins as many core functions of WordPress will stop working properly. Moreover, S3 is not a CDN. It will not make any website faster, worse, it might even slow it down (relatively to your hosting service quality). CloudFront (Amazon CDN) will be required to actually make it worth.

When WordPress natively handles remote storages, it will become safe to use. For now, stay away from it.

JetPack

Avoid using JetPack. It might look simpler at first, but it is better to handpick the best solutions for you instead of using a solution overloaded with too many features and restrictions. I am not saying it is necessarily a bad plugin, but I would go for lighter and more focused solutions.

What to do

You should use a CDN absolutely, that will give you the biggest boost in term of performance. Then, you can also use an image optimizer, though that is more tricky as it is not instant (the images need to be all processed) and your files get modified. You can also choose a solution that does everything, including the file optimization, on the server (All-in-one Solutions).

Use an Image Optimizer. Many sizes (thumbnails) are created by WordPress for every image you upload. They are usually heavier than they should and that is why it is really recommended to optimize them. This is usually done with a plugin which runs the optimization either on your WordPress install directly, or on a remote server. Your files will be directly modified.

Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN). This is a service that stores your static files (images, JS, CSS, etc) on very fast servers around the globe in order to serve them at the highest speed possible, the closest as possible to your visitors. A plugin will be required (or some kind of HTML rewriter), and all the links to your static files will be modified to go through the CDN instead. The CDN will automatically get the files from your server on the first requests (and will refresh those files regularly).

Image Optimizers

I have tested all those plugins successfuly.

CDN Services

All-in-One Solutions

Today, there are two solutions I recommend. They do it all, they optimize your content on their own servers (so they don’t modify your own files and don’t use your server to perform that job) and they serve them using a CDN. Of course, that is more pricey, but it worth it.

Anything to say? Need help?

Did you find a better solution? Do you have an opinion about one of those services? Do not hesitate to participate in the comments. If you need help to make your website faster, do not hesitate to contact Meow Apps.