As mentioned previously, some weeks ago I moved this site into a brand new VPS. Such a move is pretty transparent to readers, but gave me a chance to rework the site, enhancing the WordPress installation in some interesting ways. I think that some of what I’ve recently discovered might be useful to others.
This new WordPress installation has been refined with respect to how it handles media. One of the niceties that I’ve discovered is a WordPress plug-in called WP Smush.it. This plug-in leverages a Yahoo API to automatically implement a best practices approach to optimizing images as they are uploaded to the site.
It happens that I have a long history in the realm of graphics. Further, I think that a blog is well served to have some kind of imagery with literally every post. However, hand-tuning images for use online is kind of old skool, and very tedious.
In the past I’ve used services like PunyPNG, which does a great job but remains a manual process. WP Smush.it is so very impressive because it automatically processes each image as it’s loaded to the site. It’s completely transparent to the process of writing, making it extremely productive.
Once the plug-in is loaded to the site WP Smush.it intercepts the Media menu, reporting whatever byte count improvement it was able to achieve for each image. The reduction in byte count is often substantial.
When I loaded the WP Smush.it plug-in there were already many hundreds of images in use. Happily, WP Smush.it includes a batch mode for processing such legacy sets of files. The plug-in reported that it would take at least 25 minutes to process every file, then with one click it went about optimizing the entire file set.
The result is a site where the images don’t have undue negative impact the load time of the pages. The operation of the plug-in seems robust. It’s presented me no problems, and every single image is now auto-optimized. How awesome is that?
If you’re a WordPress user then you should try WP Smush.it. I give it my highest recommendation.