Lossy vs Lossless image compression – A guide to the trade-off between image size and quality

With the launch of WP-Optimize’s new smushing image compression feature, many people may be unaware of the advantages and disadvantages of the Lossy and Lossless compression methods. This blog will explain in detail what kind of results and savings you can expect to achieve with each compression format. 

Lossy Compression

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most popular image compression for most users is Lossy, which can be categorized as achieving greater space saving compression (compared to Lossless), but losses some of the data and image quality from the original image in the compression process. While you can save more data with Lossy, the data saving isn’t completely without cost, as with increased compression comes a slight increased degradation in the image quality and the inability to you reverse the compression, which results in the permanent loss of file metadata.

You should choose the Lossy method of compression If you are purely trying to reduce the size of your images and save data. But remember that the advantage of smaller files will be tempered by the small reduction in quality in your images and the permanent loss of metadata.

This isn’t to say that your new compressed image will resemble a digital camera photo from 2002 however. The image will still be very high quality and present as a professional and clear image, but you may start to get some compression artefacts appear with high levels of compression.

With Lossy compression enabled, the below image was compressed from 230.26 KB to 64.92 KB, giving an almost 75% reduction in size.

Original JPEG image

How image looks converted with Lossy compression

Original image zoomed in 300%

Lossy image zoomed in 300% – 230.26 KB to 64.92 KB, a 75% reduction in size

Lossy Summary

Pro – Can reduce the images to small sizes and save lots of file data, making your website load quicker and perform better.
Con – The smaller you make the file size, the lower the quality of your original image. Deletes original image data permanently.

Lossless Compression

Lossless is a term that refers to a class of data compression algorithms that compresses your image, but allows the original data to be restored and reconstructed from the compressed file data should you ever need it. Lossless compression differs to Lossy by maintaining the original image quality, while reducing the image data size by removing unnecessary meta-data from the submitted files (usually JPEG or PNG files). The main benefit of this type of compression is that the user has the ability to keep all the original data and revert to the original image, but can still achieve a smaller file size, without sacrificing image quality.    

As previously mentioned, one of the main benefits of Lossless compression is being able to keep and restore every single bit of data that was within the file after it is uncompressed. This is in contrast to Lossy compression, where metadata is not saved during the compression process and results in data being unable to be restored should you wish to reverse the compression.

As a Lossless image will only temporarily delete the file data, this allows it to be transferred quicker, which results in faster loading speeds for your website. While the amount of space you will save is not as much as if you were to use Lossy compression, it does give you higher quality images and the option to fully restore should you need it.

With Lossless compression enabled, the below image was compressed from 230.26 KB to 172.18 KB, giving just over 25% reduction in size.

Original JPEG image

Converted with Lossless compression. Every pixel is identical to the original image – only the file size is smaller

Original image zoomed in 300%

Lossless image zoomed in 300% – 230.26 KB to 172.18 KB, a 25% reduction in size

Lossless Summary 

Pro – Decreases image file size but maintains original quality of image. Full restoration of data available.
Con – Using Lossless compression results in larger files sizes in comparison to Lossy compression, which can result in slower loading speeds.

Custom

We understand that some users may wish to decide their own balance between maximum compression and best image quality. With the custom option, you can manually choose which settings your prefer for image compression and save them for future use.

Overall Compression Summary

Making a choice between Lossless or Lossy compression depends on what you want to achieve and what works best for your site and users. In general terms, if you have a website that needs to showcase high quality photographs (such as a wedding photography business), you should stick to Lossless compression as it will still display your images in their original highest quality. But if your site is for a local garage for example, where the highest quality images are not so important, Lossy compression could work best as original high quality photos are not essential to the success of your business.

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WP-Optimize 2.2.13 new update released

We are pleased to announce that we have released an updated version of WP-Optimize 2.2.13 for both free and paid versions.

The latest update includes a few fixes and tweaks that we hope will make your WP-Optimize experience even better.

We recommend the update for all WP-Optimize users.

The full changelog is as follows;

  • FIX: Fixed RTL layout
  • FIX: Detect more relationships between tables and plugins in orphaned database tables optimization
  • FIX: Fixed orphaned relationships optimization
  • TWEAK: The informational list of WP core tables missed some possible extra tables on multisite

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How to make your WooCommerce store run faster with WP-Optimize

How to make your WooCommerce store run faster with WP-Optimize

Page Speed is the foundation to a great online shopping experience. Of course an excellent user experience with an eye-catching store is essential, but page speed is the most crucial benchmark for any WooCommerce website. Just a one second delay can result in the user deciding they have had a bad user experience and create a loss of trust in the brand, which can lead to abandoned carts and increased bounce rates. This results in not just a potential loss of a sale, but far more importantly, a dissatisfied customer.

When queried on how long it should take a site to load, 47% of customers expect a load time of around 2 seconds. When it comes to WooCommerce, the chances of slower page speed is higher as there is a constant influx of new, updated products and categories being processed. While these updates are happening in the background, your database and server space is continually increasing, which can slow down your site.

At the time of writing this article, the WP-Optimize free version plugin has more than 800,000 active installations. There is also a premium version available that includes additional features and tools for optimizing your website and WooCommerce store. We are continually working hard to make the plugin better and help solve real-world problems our users are facing in terms of site optimization.

The need for optimization

As time passes, your WordPress database can become unwieldy due to the garbage data it accumulates with each passing day. WP-Optimize removes this useless data, freeing up valuable megabytes while also increasing speed and efficiency. This plugin can also clean up your comments table, removing all the spam and un-approved comments that have built up – with just with a single click.

WP-Optimize also gives you the option to use lazy loading for your WooCommerce store. Lazy loading is a function that allows your site to only load parts of a web-page when they are visible to the user, which results in faster loading pages. This allows the user to instantly start viewing the visible sections of the site, rather than wait for all the images and information on the page to load.

Please note: It is highly recommended you first perform a backup of your site and WooCommerce store with UpdraftPlus before you start setting up the optimization process.

Optimize your WooCommerce Store

To get started, get your copy of WP-Optimize and install it on your WordPress site.

Next, head over to the WP-Optimize>Settings page. Under ‘Database’ you will see pre-selected options for optimization. Keep all pre-selected options as they are and click the ‘Run all selected optimizations’ button.

If you would prefer to run each optimization separately, WP-Optimize also provides a ‘Run optimization’ button next to each option.

Next, under the ‘Images’ section, you will see the orphaned image list ‘Unused images’. If you do not plan to use these orphaned images, then deleting them can save you valuable server space. To delete them, just select the images you wish to delete and hit the ‘Remove selected images’ button.

The final feature we recommend using is the previously mentioned ‘Lazyload’ feature, which can help you speed up your WooCommerce store. To enable this setting, click on the ‘Lazyload’ tab and tick both ‘Images’ and ‘Iframes and Videos.’

Conclusion

Speeding up your website can help your customers save time by making their purchases quicker and easier, resulting in happy customers that are more likely to return in the future and recommend your site to others. Try out the techniques techniques discussed and be sure to let us know how you get on in the comment section below.

 

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WP-Optimize 2.2.12 now released

We are pleased to announce that we have released an updated version of WP-Optimize 2.2.12 for both free and paid versions.

We recommend the update for all WP-Optimize users.

The full changelog is as follows;

  • TWEAK: Updated information on More plugins tab
  • TWEAK: Fix header layout when a system or third party notification are shown
  • TWEAK: (Premium) Fix layout in unused images list mode
  • TWEAK: Improve data reliability in javascript
  • TWEAK: Improve orphaned relationships data optimization
  • TWEAK: Wrong message for “remove spam and trashed comments” optimization
  • TWEAK: Output additional information if table was not deleted
  • FIX: Added escaping for table names in database queries
  • FIX: Fix another possible fatal error due to missing get_plugins() function
  • FIX: Improve identification of installed/active plugins

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WP-Optimize 2.2.11 now released

We are pleased to announce an updated version of WP-Optimize 2.2.11 for both free and paid versions.

We recommend the update for all WP-Optimize users.

The full changelog is as follows;

  • FIX: A regression in the “identify table by owner” feature caused optimizing to silently fail on some tables
  • TWEAK: Added ability to exclude lazy load images by class“`

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WP-Optimize 2.2.10 released

We are pleased to announce an updated version of WP-Optimize 2.2.10 with newly added features, fixes and tweaks.

We recommend the update for all WP-Optimize users.

The full changelog is as follows;

  • FEATURE: Added the ability to download unused images list (Premium version) as a CSV file
  • FIX: Load scripts and styles only on WP-Optimize pages
  • FIX: Fix a possible fatal error due to missing get_plugins() function
  • TWEAK: Remember selected optimizations on Database page
  • TWEAK: Prevent PHP notices when saving settings or optimizing in some circumstances“`

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