May 25, 2021

How to Reduce Image Size Without Losing Quality (and Save Space)

Searching for a way to reduce image size and save space on your server without losing quality?

If you have many large, unoptimized images, they can take up a ton of space on your server. This can be a real problem at certain hosts, as you’ll see limits as low as 5 GB or 10 GB on the entry-level tiers of some hosts (especially in the managed WordPress hosting space).

Thankfully, there are some tactics that you can implement to reduce the size of your images and save space without a drop in image quality. Better yet, if you’re using the images on your website, these tactics will also help your website load a lot faster.

In this post, we’ll start by sharing the two tactics you can use to reduce image size without losing quality. 

Then, we’ll show you step-by-step how you can use some free or affordable tools to implement those tactics and shrink the size of your images today.

Let’s get started!

Two Ways to Reduce Image Size And Save Space Without Losing Quality

There are two high-level tactics that you can use to reduce image size without losing quality:

  1. Resizing image dimensions
  2. Compressing images

1. Resize Image Dimensions

Resizing image dimensions is exactly what it sounds like – you change the image’s dimensions, which shrinks its file size. Whether or not this affects the quality of the image depends on how you’re using the image.

For example, if your original image is 3,000 px wide, but you’re only showing it on an eCommerce product page where the image is 500 px wide, you could safely resize the image down to around ~1,000 px* without affecting the quality that your actual visitors see.

* Why 1,000 px and not 500 px? Because you typically want to ~double the displayed dimensions of your image to account for Retina screens. So by doubling the displayed dimensions, you ensure that all of your visitors will see the image at full quality.

So – if you’re not using the full-resolution images, you should start by resizing them to shrink the file size that way.

2. Compress Images

Once you’ve made sure that your images are sized to the proper dimensions, the next way that you can reduce image size is to compress the image files.

There are two types of compression:

  • Lossless – this offers a small reduction in file size with no change in quality. 
  • Lossy – this offers a more significant reduction in file size but might have some effect on quality. There are different levels of lossy compression – you can do minimal lossy compression, which probably won’t be noticeable to the human eye for moderate size savings. Or, you can do aggressive lossy compression for maximal size reduction but with a noticeable drop in quality.

If you don’t want any change in quality, you should use lossless compression. 

However, if you’re using the images on a website, you can usually get away with a moderate lossy compression approach. 

Yes, there technically is a small loss in quality, but most humans won’t be able to tell the difference. In the next section, we’ll show you a tool that lets you compare the lossless and lossy compression so that you can see for yourself.

How to Reduce Image Size Without Losing Quality

Now that you know the available tactics let’s get into the actionable tools that you can use to implement image resizing and compression.

Suppose you’re using WordPress and looking to resize multiple images you upload to your site. In that case, you can use a dedicated WordPress plugin to automatically reduce the size of all of your images and save server space.

Or, if you’re not using WordPress, you can find cloud-based tools or desktop software to help you reduce image size for images that you can use anywhere.

Let’s go through your different options – here’s the order in which we’ll cover them:

  1. WordPress
  2. Cloud-based tools
  3. Desktop software

1. Reduce Image Size on WordPress

To reduce image size and save space on WordPress, you can use the free Imagify plugin. Imagify lets you optimize ~200 images per month (20 GB) for free. Or, paid plans start at $4.99 per month for 500 MB or $9.99 per month for unlimited.

It will let you automatically optimize new images that you upload to WordPress, and it also includes a feature to bulk optimize your site’s existing images with a single click.

To get started, install and activate the free Imagify plugin from WordPress.org. You’ll then be prompted to enter an API key, which you can get by registering for a free Imagify account.

How to Reduce Image Size with Imagify - Step 1

Once you’ve done that, go to Settings → Imagify to configure your optimization settings in your WordPress dashboard.

At the top, you can control your Optimization Level. If you want zero drop in quality, you should choose Normal. However, Aggressive will be fine in most situations, and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference – you can use the visual comparison tool to test different compression levels.

If you want to save space on your server, you should also uncheck the box to Backup original images. This will delete the original unoptimized image and only keep the optimized version to save space. Just make sure you’re still storing a copy of the original image somewhere else if needed (like your local computer):

How to Reduce Image Size with Imagify - Step 2

If you scroll down in the settings area, you’ll find the Resize larger images setting, which lets you automatically resize large images to a certain max dimension. Again, for zero drop in quality, you’ll typically want to set this to be around double the dimensions you’ll be using the images. You can also disable this feature by unchecking the box if needed:

How to Reduce Image Size with Imagify - Step 3

Now, Imagify will automatically optimize images as you upload them to your site. Because you unchecked the Backup original images box, it will also automatically delete the original unoptimized version to save space on your server. Again, if using this approach, we highly recommend storing copies of the original images on your local computer so that you still have them if needed.
To optimize some or all of the existing images on your site, you can go to Media → Bulk Optimization:

How to Reduce Image Size with Imagify - Step 4

2. Reduce Image Size Using Cloud-Based Tools

If you’re not using WordPress, you can also find cloud-based tools that let you reduce the size of your images by compressing and/or resizing them.

The fastest option is to use the Imagify web app, which lets you resize and compress images in one step if you register for an account. Just as with the WordPress plugin, you can optimize 20 MB of images per month for free, and paid plans start at just $4.99 per month after that:

Imagify web app

If you’re looking for free options that allow unlimited use, you’ll typically need to use separate tools to resize and compress your images, which adds a little extra work.

To bulk resize images, you can consider these tools:

And then, to bulk compress images, you can consider these tools:

  • Free Imagify web app – lets you choose between lossy and lossless compression. Individual images cannot exceed 2 MB. You need to register for an account to access automatic resizing and remove the 2 MB limit.
  • Kraken Web Interface – lets you choose between lossy and lossless compression. Individual images cannot exceed 1 MB.
  • TinyJPG and TinyPNG – only offer lossy compression, so you shouldn’t use these tools if you want to use lossless compression.

3. Reduce Image Size Using a Desktop Software

If you need to reduce the size of hundreds or thousands of images, using cloud-based tools might not be an option because it’s difficult to upload and download that many images.

For that reason, you might prefer to use desktop software instead. Here are some good options:

Reduce Image Size and Save Space Today

If you want to reduce image size and save space without losing quality, there are two main tactics that you can use – resizing images and compressing them with lossless or non-aggressive lossy compression.

To help you implement both tactics at the same time, you can use the Imagify WordPress plugin if you’re uploading images to a WordPress site or the Imagify web app if you’re using images elsewhere.

Do you still have any questions about how to reduce the size of your images? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to help!

Imagify, decrease the size of your images, increase the speed of your website: try it for free
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