ShortPixel Adaptive Images vs. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

Do I still need ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO) if I installed ShortPixel Adaptive Images (SPAI)? Should I deactivate SPIO? Which one is better?

These are some of the questions we receive regarding our two plugins, and here's an attempt to make things clearer.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO)

SPIO optimizes your physical image files on your server. It only works locally. To learn more about how SPIO works, click here.

Who is it for?

  • If the audience of your website is local and your website is hosted in the same city or small country, then we would generally recommend using SPIO. Just optimize all the images once and this should make the images of your site load faster for your audience.
  • If you need to free up disk space from your server, then you should use SPIO with the backup option deactivated. This is the only way to reduce the physical used space of your server.
  • If you need to create WebP files and you prefer to have them on your server alongside your original images, SPIO can do this. To learn more about this, click here.
  • If you are on a budget, SPIO is usually cheaper in the long term, as you only need to optimize your images once. SPAI usually incurs ongoing costs due to offering a CDN service, while SPIO does not: it only requires new credits for the new optimized images.

How are the credits counted?

SPIO uses 1 credit for every image optimized. Here you can read how SPIO uses your credits.

ShortPixel Adaptive Images (SPAI)

SPAI downloads your images, optimizes them, stores them on ShortPixel's CDN, and it replaces the image URLs when your front pages load, on the fly. It doesn't edit any of your original image files. To learn more about how SPAI works, click here.

SPAI is much more sensitive to conflicts with themes or plugins (because it uses JavaScript to modify the URLs of the images) so please make sure to:

  1. read this article
  2. thoroughly test your website after activating SPAI. Don't worry, if you encounter any problem, just deactivating it will restore everything back to the previous state of things. Feel free to contact us then so we can help you out.

Who is it for?

  • If the audience of your website tend to be widespread (e.g. whole US, North America, Europe, South America, or global), then SPAI is likely to be the best option as it will considerably speed up the image delivery via the ShortPixel CDN.
  • Images are the heaviest component in a website, so even if your audience is local, you can still use SPAI if you'd like to offload the image delivery to our CDN servers. This is useful in shared hosting, when usually one has a certain bandwidth limit and the server doesn't have a lot of resources available.
  • SPAI is also the recommended option if your website receives "Properly size images" or similar warnings when testing the site with GTMetrix, PageSpeed Insights or another website speed tester. With SPAI you'll serve scaled images whenever possible and this can lead to dramatic gains in some cases. For example, if you have a 100x100px placeholder on your website and the image used is 1024x1024 pixels, SPAI will resize it to 100x100 pixels and optimize it.
  • SPAI is the recommended option as well if PageSpeed Insights or another website speed tester recommends you to "Defer offscreen images", as it serves the images with a lazy load technology out-of-the-box. This means that you'll serve the images only when they are about to be seen by your visitor. Good for SEO!
  • If you want to serve WebP files but you don't want to create additional files on your server, with SPAI you can serve, on the fly, images in "next-gen formats" like WebP regardless of the CDN you are using. This means you can make Google happy with a click of a button! :-)

How are the credits counted?

SPAI usually requires new credits on a monthly basis. Here you can read how SPAI uses your credits.

Can I use both plugins?

You can keep both SPIO and SPAI active as they won't conflict with each other, but we would generally recommend to have just one plugin active.

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