April 25, 2022

EWWW Image Optimizer: Top Features & Alternatives

Running any kind of website, be it an artistic endeavour or an eCommerce shop, poses challenges. One challenge is maintaining your site’s quality without jeopardizing its loading speed.

According to Google, slow loading speeds cause high bounce rates. When a page’s load time slows from one second to five seconds, the chance a user will bounce increases by 90%.

The best way to decrease your site’s load time is to make it lighter and leaner. Plugins like the EWWW Image Optimizer let sites maintain beautiful graphics and imagery without using up as much bandwidth.

But what exactly does image optimization do for your site? And is the EWWW Image Optimization plugin actually good at what it claims to do? We’ve answered these questions—and more!—in this guide to EWWW IO.

What Is Image Optimization on WordPress?

Image optimization is a method of making image files load faster. It decreases the file size of the image while—ideally—maintaining the image’s quality.

Optimization may change an image’s format or resolution to decrease the file’s size. There are a few strategies to balance the need for image quality with the need for a lightweight file.

Image optimization also improves an image’s performance on a website in other ways. You can optimize diverse image traits, including: Alt Text and Image names, thumbnails, and dimensions.

This improves your website’s appeal and readability on different devices.

Lossy vs. Lossless Compression

There are two types of images: vectors and bitmaps.

Vectors use geometric principles to create images from coordinates. Bitmaps are made of pixels. Compression shrinks either type of image. It can do this by:

  • Changing an image’s file type
  • Reducing the image’s resolution
  • Changing the image’s dimensions
  • Reducing an image’s bit depth

The two primary modes of image optimization are lossy and lossless compression. Lossless compression doesn’t actually remove any data from the file. Lossy compression, on the other hand, does permanently delete some of the file’s data.

Lossless compression doesn’t impact an image’s quality. It simply shrinks a file by altering the image’s dimensions.

Lossy compression enables far leaner files than what you’ll get with lossless. But, because it will delete information, you risk a lower-resolution result than what you’re looking for.

Why Use an Image Optimization Plugin?

WordPress plugins are useful software components. They add new features to your pre-existing WordPress software.

An image optimization plugin lets site managers compress and prepare image files for the web more efficiently. It’s a more streamlined method of finishing digital tasks, and it doesn’t require you to download an entire image editing program.

Heavy Images Load Slower

Heavy image files cause pages to load more slowly. Larger files take more bandwidth to send their information. When a website visitor loads a page, the information travels through the network in packets, across frequency bands.

The more information travelling at once, the more bandwidth gets used. When all bands are in use, the flow of information slows down. Bottlenecks occur, as client computers struggle to decrypt too much information at once.

Smaller image file sizes carry less information. This keeps traffic moving faster.

Image optimization plugins keep images small. One popular optimizer is the EWWW IO plugin.

EWWW Image Optimizer: Overview

Ewww image optimizer WordPress plugin image

EWWW Image Optimizer is a free plugin for WordPress. Its cloud-hosted variant is a subscription service that begins at $7 per month. EWWW IO includes:

  • Image optimizing content delivery network (CDN)
  • WebP image format conversion
  • Lazy loading integration
  • Efficient JS/CSS file compression
  • Compress API
  • SWIS page caching engine
  • Google Fonts optimization

Developers designed each facet of the software to enable site managers to optimize images and pages. The plugin’s options are divided into four settings tabs, a media library, and a “bulk optimize” option.

EWWW IO: Free Plugin vs. Subscription Services

The free EWWW Image Optimizer plugin offers fewer features than the paid subscription. But, the features are still high-quality. And, neither version imposes file size limits.

With the free EWWW IO plugin, you get adaptive image format conversion options, including conversion to WebP. Lazy loading, auto-scaling, and compression utilizing its algorithmic compression/quality ratio are also all free.

free version

The subscription services add the Compression API. This gives you more compression options, including lossy compression of JPEG files. You also need the subscription service to access SWIS optimization options, including:

  • Page caching
  • Google Fonts optimization
  • Asynchronous CSS load
  • DNS pre-fetch hints
  • Minify (trim white space)

EWWW IO also offers SWIS Performance subscriptions independently from its standard plans. The independent SWIS subscripton starts at as little as $2.50/month for a single site.

Easy IO

The easy-to-use version of EWWW IO starts at $5 per month. It has more automated features and settings than the free EWWW IO plugin, but uses the same image compression API.

EWWW Image Optimizer Features, Pros, and Cons

EWWW IO can run its optimization programs on your server. This requires a bit of technical savvy, and it can put some strain on a server. So, most users choose to use the API Key and run EWWW IO on the cloud.

On top of the compression options, EWWW IO can optimize images and pages through debugging, removing metadata, and re-writing URLs.

Compress API

EWWW IO uses Compress API to compress new images automatically. It can also compress all your existing images.

The API utilizes cloud computing, to empower either lossless or lossy compression as needed. Compress API also enables bulk optimization.

Optimizing Content Delivery Network (CDN)

The Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a global, distributed network of computers. EWWW IO uses proxy servers within a CDN.

This enables any user who loads your website to receive data from the server geographically closest to them. That, in turn, cuts their load time down considerably.

WebP Image Format Conversion

WebP is a new, modern image format. It enables high-quality lossless and lossy compression for images online. WebP images, post-lossless-compression, are typically 26% smaller than PNGs.

EWWW IO can also convert images to JPEG, PNG, GIF, and PDF. It can also compress each of those file types.

SWIS Page Caching Engine

Page caching stores your site’s output as a static HTML file. A web server can serve this file immediately, without trying to compile it every time someone requests the file.

SWIS is a caching engine which includes CSS and JavaScript file minification, deferring of JS files to prevent render-blocking scripts, loading CSS asynchronously, asset compression and serving them through a CDN to name a few.

SWIS performance

Lazy Loader Integration

Lazy loading optimizes your page’s load time without cutting any content. The page does not load all content and assets at once. Instead, it only loads an asset when it will be in view of the user.

EWWW IO lets you implement lazy loading with blank placeholder images. This maintains auto-scaling without increasing the site’s size.

Google Fonts Optimization

Google already maintains optimized variants for each of its fonts. EWWW IO chooses the optimal font for your site every time it loads. It does this by gathering and combining all Google Font code on your page into a single CSS.

Then, it applies font displays rules. It also uses its SWIS page caching engine. This combination lets browsers display your site’s text immediately, even before fonts load.


One of the most impressive aspects of EWWW IO is its lossy jpg conversion. The software utilizes the JPEGmini SaaS.

As a result, while the lossy compression tosses out information, its impact on the final image is almost invisible.

EWWW IO’s Advanced Settings are also worth exploring. This tab lets you exclude specific images from optimization. It also lets you schedule automated optimization for images in a given theme.

One of the greatest benefits of EWWW is its bulk optimization options. It also allows for unlimited file sizes, so you can automatically optimize unedited files upon upload.


EWWW IO’s user interface leaves a lot to be desired. It loses points for low ease of use. It also requires users to make some complex adjustments to their server if they don’t want to use the cloud service.

Top-Tier Image Optimization Plugins: Is EWWW IO the Best Option?

EWWW IO has a lot of features, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s best suited to sites that utilize high-resolution images in a range of file types.

Here’s how EWWW IO stacks up against three other popular image optimization plugins.

EWWW IO vs. Smush

Both of these plugins have useful bulk optimization options.

Unlike EWWW IO, Smush doesn’t have any advanced features. And, its free variant doesn’t enable any lossy compression.

But, Smush is easier to use than EWWW IO. Users recommend Smush for beginners.

EWWW IO vs. Imagify

Both EWWW IO and Imagify enable users to choose the degree of loss during lossy compression. And, both offer automated features.

EWWW IO offers more file-type conversion options, and it enables more bulk optimization.

Imagify offers easy backup options. It easily integrates with WooCommerce, among other popular plugins.

EWWW IO vs. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

ShortPixel Image Optimizer and EWWW IO both enable optimization of a wide range of file types. Both enable image rescaling, and both serve images from a CDN.

But, ShortPixel lets users optimize up to 100 images each month for free.

Expert WordPress Optimization Support

WordPress offers incredible integration options. But, navigating and using those options to the best ends for your site takes time and skill.

It can be challenging to learn whether a plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer is right for your site, or if you actually need to solve an entirely different problem.

Our experts can help. WP Assist’s Page Speed Optimization service gets at the heart of what’s causing slow load times. Faster pages lead to more page views and fewer bounces.

Whether you’re looking for a one-time troubleshooting service or long-term management, contact us. Our experts are ready to solve your problems.

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