Smush Parallel Processing Compresses Images 8x Faster…For Free!

Enjoy the fastest ever image processing times with the latest version of Smush. Spend less time waiting for your images to be optimized with up to 8x more processing speed compared to the competition.

Just when you thought the most popular WordPress image optimizer (currently boasting a 5-star rating and over a million+ active installs) couldn’t get any better… Smush takes it to the next level.

In this article, find out just how much time you can save optimizing images with superior processing speed and see how Smush stacks up against its toughest competitors.

Skip ahead to any section of this article:

What’s In The Latest Version Of Smush
Smush vs. Other Image Optimization Plugins

You’ll realize how much time you can save and why this award-winning plugin is breaking speed records for image optimization.

Let’s get to it!

What’s In The Latest Version Of Smush

Our hard-working developers are constantly improving Smush. Here’s what’s included in our Smush updates.

Parallel Processing Speed

As mentioned in the introduction, the processing speed is now better than ever.

Multiple images are processed in parallel, which makes lightning-fast processing speed a reality for your image files.

Before, images were sent to Smush’s API and were processed one at a time. Now, multiple thumbnails (and originals — if enabled) are processed in parallel for multifold improvement in processing speed.

This saves you tons of time. There are no more waiting long periods for images to be processed.

Recovers Gracefully from API Side Issues

Since Smush makes calls to an external service through HTTP requests, there are always possibilities of things failing randomly (e.g. temporary network issue).

We now have a Retry Mechanism that helps recover from any issues without having to show any errors. That means less time you’ll be dealing with failed optimized images.

Before, if a temporary network issue caused the Smush request for one of the image sizes to fail, it also treated all the other sizes as failures.

Now, in Bulk Smush, it’s no longer a problem. With the retry mechanism in place, it prevents all images from failing if there are issues with only one.

With that being said, let’s take a look at…

Smush vs Other Image Optimization Plugins

We wanted to see how Smush’s speed stacked against a couple of the other most popular optimization plugins. So, we decided to give it a go with speed tests.

As you’ll see — testing is easy to implement. We simply set up a few websites, added some images, installed a plugin to each site, and optimized images.

This can all be done for free, and it’s highly recommended that YOU try it out for yourself. We’d love to hear what results you were able to achieve.

Here’s a breakdown of what we did…

Setting Up Testing

To get started, we set up a WordPress site and created a template so that the site was duplicated. We did this instantly with the help of InstaWP.

InstaWP is a quick and easy way to set up a new WordPress site for testing.

InstaWP allows you to set up WordPress sites and templates – at no cost. It streamlines the testing process creating a new site with just a few clicks.

Once the admin of the new WordPress site was created, we added images to the site for free with the Instant Image plugin.

The Instant Image plugin lives up to its name by delivering images – instantly!

With the Instant Image plugin, you can quickly add images to your site with one click. We went through and added 60 images for testing.

The plugin adds them immediately to your media library.

Since we have the site set up, we want to head back to InstaWP and Save Template to duplicate the site we just created.

We’ll create four more websites based on our original site with 60 images. Why? Because we’ll be testing four other plugins, along with Smush.

The plugins we’re testing are:


We’re using the FREE version of each plugin. There are no upgrades or anything else involved.

Finally, we’ll upload one plugin to each site (e.g. Smush to one, Imagify to another, etc.).

And that’s it! We’re ready for testing.

Oh, well…one more thing. Get a stopwatch ready. We’re going to time each one and see how they match up.

It’s a plugin image compression speed test. Ready…set…GO!

Imagify Speed Test

Imagify is ranked highly as a WordPress optimization plugin.

We’ll kick things off with Imagify. Imagify is a popular image optimization plugin with a 4.5-star rating and over 600K active installs.

We installed Imagify, started our timer, and implemented bulk optimization.

Imagify shows you the percentage of its progress.

As the percentage of optimized images kept increasing, all was going well. But then…uh-oh

Uh-oh… all of my image optimization credits were used up and I’ve barely begun!

The optimization ground to a halt midway (not even midway) through. The free version didn’t have enough credits to optimize my 60 images. It only was able to get to 45% of them.

Imagify gave me a detailed report of what was optimized.

The result was it took 11:08 to optimize 45% of the images.

ShortPixel Speed Test

ShortPixel is smiling anxiously awaiting the speed test!

With a 4.5-start rating and over 300K active installs, ShortPixel is up there in the ranks as a well-known image optimization plugin option.

An indicator to start the optimization process is clearly labeled.

ShortPixel has a 4-step process. It begins with the images you want to optimize, a summary, the progress, and results.

This test has our 60 images ready to be optimized.

You can see there are 60 images and 252 thumbnails in the optimization process.

Once the optimization started, it abruptly ended.

Like Imagify, the lack of credits had us hanging, and the optimization process didn’t complete all the work. In fact, it only processed 18 images.

As you can see, it processed about 30% of our media library.

The race to the finish line wasn’t completed with ShortPixel’s free version. The result was it took 2:28 to optimize 18 images.

Optimole Speed Test

Optimole is an extremely popular image optimizer.

Optimole is another popular image optimizer with 90K active installations and a 5-star rating. With a cloud-based system it banks itself on the “set it and forget it” way of optimizing images in real-time.

Once activated with a license key (which is free), it immediately begins its image optimization process.

However, after waiting an hour, it states it’s still optimizing images…

They mention that optimization is still happening behind the scenes.

Optimole compresses images on the fly so that when an image is requested, it will apply the specific transformation required by the device and send it to your visitors — ensuring each image is perfectly sized for each device.

However, there’s not much more specific information beyond that on its dashboard. After an hour, a couple of images are compressed, .07MB saved file size for the latest ten images, and 70% average compression.

There’s just a message of reassurance that visitors will view the best images from their devices automatically. But, the image optimization process is not completed.

A note that all is well while image compression is being completed.

In other words, it’s not that it’s not working — but a bit in the dark about how well it’s working immediately.

Since it was over an hour and still no solid results of optimization, the final clocks in at hours for 60 images to be completed compressed, though it may offer immediate results — depending on specific images. Speed Test

A plugin that has “Smush” in its name grabbed our attention.

With bulk image optimization, numerous setting options, and over 200k active installs, is another popular choice when it comes to your WordPress images.

It starts by mentioning how many non-optimized pictures you have, so it’s pointed out the 60 that we’re using to test with.

It states how many it will optimize to a good quality rate.

Once clicking “Optimize All Pictures,” — the race is off! It gives a status of how optimization is going.

At this point, it’s at 7%.

When completed, it gives you the status of how it went by showing you the space saved, total reduction, attachments optimized, images optimized, and total images optimized.

The results are in!

The time it took to compress everything was 16:02. Quite a bit of waiting, but it did get the job done.

Smush Speed Test

We’re #1 for a reason. Part of the reason is, as you’ll see, a need for speed.

We decided to save the best for last. After all, Smush has a lot of advantages — beyond just the speed factor.

For example, there are no credits to buy once you hit an optimization limit. Nope. The free version of Smush will pause at 50 images; however, just click resume, and it starts right back up. That’s not the case with most other image optimization plugins.

So, let’s start at the beginning. We have our 60 images – the same as the other example. And they require compression.

Smush makes it clear how many images you need to compress.

Clicking Bulk Smush gets us moving…


Smush’s progress moves very quick.

When Smush hits 50 images, as I mentioned, it pauses. With a click of a button, it starts immediately back up again, so there was no point in stopping the timer.

When it’s done, it’ll show you the results. This includes a number of images optimized in the media library and your savings.

As you can see, Smush took care of 100% of the images in the media library.

The result was it took 1:38 to optimize 60 images.

Final Results

As you can see, the outcomes were across the board. Some didn’t even make it through the finish line, while a few came out on top. Here are the final results based on time:

1st Place: Smush 1:38 

2nd Place: ShortPixel 2:28 (didn’t finish)

3rd Place: Imagify 11:08 (didn’t finish)

4th Place: 16:02

5th Place: Optimole Hours

Of course, other variables can determine the speed of image optimization. That includes good hosting, a strong internet connection, image sizes, and other possible factors.

This speed test was simply created to demonstrate where Smush is at today, and the hope is that you’ll give it a test run yourself against your current image optimization plugin.

Results may vary, but you’ll see that speed is on Smush’s side with speed and other functions – no matter your situation.

Quickly Optimize Images with Smush

As you can see, with up to 8x faster processing, Smush can save time and optimize your images quickly so you can spend time focusing on your WordPress business instead.

Don’t take my word for it when it comes to a speed test. As I mentioned, try your favorite image optimization plugin and see how it compares.

Plus, our developers have some more exciting goodies for Smush coming soon, so stay tuned…

For more on Smush, be sure to look at our How to Get the Most Out of Smush Article.

And if you do a speed test yourself, does Smush complete the race quicker? Take a pit stop and tell us how your results turned out in the comments!

New to Smush?

You can install Smush completely free on the directory, or sign up for the free WPMU DEV plan, which includes Smush, plus a whole suite of WP plugins and site management tools.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on February 28, 2023, to include new test results against even more of the competition. (Luckily for us, Smush continues to smash it out of the park.) The article was originally published on August 25, 2022.

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