Optimole is a new image optimization plugin, service and CDN for WordPress websites.
There is a free plan currently available for small sites as it has heavy constraints. Medium to large sites can purchase a premium plan starting at $19/month which includes Amazon's CloudFront CDN.
Automatically optimizes all your site's images through compression, conversion, resizing, lazy loading, and using an image CDN. This cuts down on extra bulk to improve page speed and efficiency.
Easy implementation utilizes their native WordPress plugin. It will automatically handle all the optimizations, image replacement and serve scaled images instantly. Advanced features like a custom domain require help from support.
- Generous free version, reasonably priced paid plans
- Optimole plugin for WordPress handles all of the complicated optimization for you
- Can serve WebP images for improved speed without sacrificing quality (including retina images)
- Automatically serves the optimal image size, quality and format based on your visitor's browser and device
- All optimization is done on off-site so all of your local image library is untouched
- Lazy loading images is done natively with blurred placeholder images during the load
- Works with a custom domain if on the ‘Business' plan or higher (requires support's assistance for configuration)
- We saw an average savings of nearly 80% image data savings from using Optimole on already lossy compressed images
- Works on WordPress with both Gutenberg and third-party page builders
- Helpful support
- Basic free tier is limited, advanced features require a paid plan
- There are free or lower-cost optimization alternatives, but none that offer this degree of enhancement
- Image degradation can occur in some select cases
- May not play well with existing optimization plugin
During our review period using the Optimole image optimization plugin, we saw dramatic increases in page speeds and larges cuts to the overall data size of our pages. When we optimize images using Optimole, they are cut by nearly 80% in data savings on average without any notable lack in quality.
For the price, the Optimole service plans are a no-brainer if you wish to take your WordPress image optimization to the next level without the hassle or complexity of configuring it all yourself. If you are looking for an easy way to optimize images, this is a no-brainer solution that allows us to pretty much keep our hands-off.
We trust Optimole to automatically serve WebP images, size compression, solve image replacements, rewrite image URLs, carry out lazy load and handle responsive images over a CDN with locations around the globe.
A Recommended Service
The Ideal Buyer
Optimole is a service that could realistically benefit any WordPress site owner both on a personal and commercial level. However, it does have some minor costs associated with it that may not be within all potential user's budgets. If you care about SEO or improving the customer experience on your website across all locations and devices, then you shouldn't forget image optimization and Optimole is an easy investment.
- Optimole Monthly Plans & Pricing Options
- Features: How Does Optimole Improve Your Images?
- How Easy Is Optimole To Setup & Configure For The First Time?
- Optimole Performance Results
- Optimole Review – Final Verdict
WordPress is the platform of choice for many modern websites. This is due to it being open source, easy to manage and has a huge assortment of quality plugins, themes and services available for it.
Google now considers webpage speeds as a ranking factor in their mobile search algorithm. With mobile traffic on the rise, the focus on having a fast webpage speed is as important as ever.
Don't get me wrong, the page speed factor is one of many major ranking factors within the search engine's algorithm. However, it remains an important one that will help you gain an edge over your SEO competition.
One of the easiest ways to speed up a WordPress website is through proper image optimization. There are a lot of ways for webmasters to stay on top of this, like image compression, resize large images and serve images through content delivery networks.
Achieving perfect image optimization for a WordPress website isn't easy and there are many steps involved. An innovative image optimization service called Optimole. Their approach takes the difficulty out of this complex task and offers an image optimization plugin that can compress images, resize images, enable image replacement, lazy load and serve perfectly sized images through a content delivery network based on your visitor's device and browse.
In the following Optimole review, we will be discussing the service from a new user's perspective. We will cover the most important topics including Optimole pricing, notable features, installation and performance.
Optimole Monthly Plans & Pricing Options
Optimole isn't a traditional premium WordPress plugin, it is more of a premium WordPress service. With that comes monthly costs for those running a medium-to-large sized website. As of their recent launch, they do offer a free plan for small WP sites. This isn't guaranteed to be around forever as the Optimole service grows in popularity and frankly it is rather constrictive for most websites.
Each premium Optimole plan has a monthly subscription fee. They do offer an annual plan which requires you to pay a 10-month rate in one lump sum and it'll give you 2 extra months free. Here are the offered Optimole monthly plans, their associated costs and limitations:
Optimole Free Version – $0/month
A fully functional free version of Optimole for those with tiny websites or are looking to test the service without committing any money. The free plan is limited compared to the premium tiers as you are are capped at just 5,000 visitors a month.
The free tier has access to the responsive and smart lazy-loading features as well as their Amazon CloudFront CDN (200+ locations), but their support is limited to just 48 hour response windows from email support.
Starter Plan – $22.99/month or $19.08/month for the annual plan
The starter plan is the first tier of the paid plans, and it starts at $22.99/month or it drops down to $19.08/month for those paying annually. For this low monthly cost, your limits increase to 25,000 visits to your website. As expected, the personal plan utilizes their smart lazy-loading and automatic responsive images.
The CDN with the premium tiers bumps into the Cloudfront CDN which is powered by Amazon's cloud services (aka AWS). The customer support options for the Starter tier are slightly better, offering 12-24 hour responses from email support.
You will not be able to use a custom subdomain for serving the image assets with the starter plan. Instead, you will have a random Optimole URL serving your images. This isn't the best for SEO, but not everyone will care about this.
Business Plan – $47/month or $39.08/month for the annual plan
Moving up to the mid-tier $47/month ‘Business' subscription, this is the Optimole plan that we are currently using on our site. While the jump up in price is steep to some, you are granted large increases in plan limits. This includes 100K monthly visits, which is generous enough for most websites.
With the Business plan, you get access to the same AWS Cloudfront CDN as the starter plan. You also get access to a custom domain meaning in our case, we use the traditional subdomain of cdn.thetechreviewer.com to serve our images. The pain with this custom domain feature is the setup.
To get this configured, I had to contact the Optimole support and open a ticket. One of the support reps helped me as they had to configure this within their CloudFront settings. I then had to make a CNAME with the proper URL reference and it worked shortly after. If you aren't familar with making DNS changes, this might be confusing to do.
Custom Plan – $?/month
Optimole offers custom plans if you are an enterprise level site that needs higher limits. There is no advertised price for the custom plan, but those interested can contact Optimole support.
They should be able to sort you out and give you a pricing estimate for your site's needs. Beyond higher limits, custom plans offer priority support meaning you'll get the fastest response times.
Features: How Does Optimole Improve Your Images?
There are a TON of different image optimization services for WordPress websites. To achieve what Optimole does, you'll need to combine many types of these services to work in tandem. Even then, it is very difficult to achieve the same speed increases offered by Optimole.
There are three main optimization practices that Optimole offers within their service:
Image Compression & File Conversion
A common form of image optimization is compression which reduces the file size. This is the same as popular compression services like ShortPixel, Imagify or Kraken. These services will remove unnecessary metadata saved within the images. Often, these services will carry out lossy compression which may lower image quality in exchange for a large data savings.
Optimole offers both lossy and lossless optimization algorithms so you can choose to whether you want to favor data savings. Within their native WordPress plugin, they offer you to choose from low, medium or high compression or leave it on auto. The automatic is what we use and the algorithm will choose the best balance of savings and image quality.
Beyond compression, Optimole will actually convert your images to WebP to serve them to supported browsers. If you aren't familar with WebP, it is a next-generation file format developed by Google. WebP allows you to further compress the file size of images without losing further quality compared to a compressed JPEG.
The catch with WebP is that it is as of now only supported by a handful of browsers and platforms. These include Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Microsoft's Edge. So converting your files to WebP isn't always useful if your visitor's won't be able to natively view them.
Optimole uses the visitor's viewing device to serve the ideal image type that will be the fastest and most compatible
Automatic Image Resizing & Serving Through A CDN
Depending on your setup, you may be serving oversized images for your visitor's viewing devices. This results in wasted data transfers and often a slower loading time compared to a properly resized image.
Optimole handles all this on the fly. It optimizes your images in several sizings allowing it to serve the best possible image for your visitor's display at the fastest speeds. The greatest part about this, is Optimole remains Retina-image friendly. Optimole can automatically detect and load the larger, crisper images for the best viewing experience on a Retina display.
If you are uploading a large image and don't want to shrink it with an image editor then you can have Optimole set a max resolution. This feature means any image uploaded that is larger than this will be resized upon upload. This means it will not store unnecessarily large images without any good reason.
Optimole images will be served through their Amazon's 200+ location CloudFront CDN. This will speed up image delivery and render times significantly compared to serving directly from a local server.
You can setup lazy loading through many different WordPress optimization plugins or services (CloudFlare, WP Rocket or Swift Performance to name a few). However, Optimole's works the best from our experience.
The main downfall that some Optimole users may complain about is their lazy-loading technique uses filler images. These placeholder images show as pixelated versions when the full-resolution is still loading.
We prefer this technique as it doesn't stay like this for long, but we know some prefer the no images at all until the full resolution renders.
Other Notable Features
- Non-destructive to original WP image library – Optimole will not touch your existing local image library and instead host and serve their optimized files on their own servers. This means you'll lose the performance benefits if you stop using Optimole, but your original media will remain untouched.
- All screen resolutions and devices supported – Optimole will always serve the best image for the visitor's native display.
- Watermark Support – those worried about image theft or proper attribution of images can upload up to five watermarks that Optimole will place on your optimized images that will be present upon serving the images to your visitors. The watermark settings offer size, position and opacity customization options.
- Fast processing – the Optimole optimization process operates in real-time and your visitors will receive their an optimized image without a delay.
- Native WordPress plugin – installing and configuring Optimole on WordPress is a breeze.
- Compatible with Page Builders – one of the biggest dilemmas for us was choosing an image optimization method that worked well with Elementor (our page builder of choice). Optimole works with Elementor, Beaver Builder & WordPress 5.0's Gutenburg block editor.
- Optimization Statistics and Monitoring – within the WordPress plugin and Optimole website, you'll gain valuable data insights such as monthly usage, average compression percentages and recently optimized images.
How Easy Is Optimole To Setup & Configure For The First Time?
One of the best parts about Optimole from a user prospective is that takes all the complications out of advanced image optimizations. There is a native Optimole app for WordPress found within the public WordPress plugin repository. After installing it on your site, just signup for an Optimole account and link your API key to get the process started.
From there Optimole will begin optimizing and serving your image library according to your visitor's device. Everything is done in the background so there is no disruption to the user experience. All optimizations are processed off-site. This means you won't experience any increased resource usage on your own server nor will your local media files be altered in anyway.
The beauty of the Optimole service is that it offers a non-destructive optimization experience. If for any reason the service goes downhill or you don't think you need Optimole anymore, you can uninstall the service and not experience issues. That is besides the speed increases as you'll now be serving them from your local WordPress image library versus the CloudFront CDN.
Optimole Performance Results
Before using Optimole, our image optimization started with image compression services such as Shortpixel and Imagify.
We initially used Lossless compression, but eventually switched to Lossy about 5 years ago. The switch was made as services have gotten so good at removing the bulk while keeping the image quality close to the original.
Coupled with resizing our images to the maximum Retina resolutions and using a CDN, we thought our image optimization was pretty good. It wasn't until we started testing the Optimole service that we realized how much farther we could go.
Our Overall Optimole Performance Statistics
We've been testing the ‘Business' plan of Optimole for years now. Here is an overview of stats for a 30-day period:
- 319832 image transformations
- 79.72% average compression (remember the vast majority of these images were ALREADY Lossy compressed)
- 100GB of images optimized (our plan only covers 50GB, we will discuss this issue in the next section)
- 28.31GB of viewing bandwidth used through the CloudFront CDN
We found these to be pretty unbelievable statistics especially considering the average compression being almost 80% smaller than our local images which were already compressed to Lossy.
Real Optimole Results: How Much Smaller Is Our Page Size?
While the statistics are impressive, the question is how much does this Optimole save us when it comes to the actual load time and page size?
We ran a test within minutes of each other on the same sample page on our site. The same page is a review of the Steelcase Leap office chair. This was a great testing article as it is an average piece of content for us being an in-depth review with nearly 3K words. Coupled with our lengthy reviews, there is an assortment of high-resolution photos showing off the quality and design.
Comparing the two, we are seeing some major shifts in the positive direction in terms of both page speed as well as page size.
- Page speed has gone from 1.75s to 1.30s which is a .45s faster or a 25.7% improvement
- Overall page size has dropped from 4.3MB to 1.4MB which is 2.9MB smaller or a 67.44% improvement
- Total image size on the page dropped from 3.2MB to just 342.7KB (causing it to drop behind scripts in terms of the overall content size) which is 2.87MB smaller or a 89.54% improvement
- You are seeing a few more requests added (six to be exact) which are a a direct result of using Optimole's service, but these added requests are irrelevant when the page speed and page size are cut so dramatically
Optimole Review – Final Verdict
Depending on your needs, Optimole could be a very valuable service for handling your advanced image optimization. From a user standpoint, it has a lot to love including reasonable pricing, unmatched features and excellent ease of use.
There is a pretty big downfall in its current state with the primary Optimole image processing quota calculated in a confusing and unpredictable manner. Fortunately, we do know the team is aware of the issue and will see that it gets resolved shortly.
We came into this Optimole review not knowing if the service could live up to our expectations. We are blown away with our results and plan to remain customers for the extended future as nothing has come close to the power and performance of Optimole.