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:

  • First of all, you can keep both plugins active as they won't conflict with each other but we'd generally recommend you have just one plugin active.
  • SPIO optimizes your physical image files on your server, while SPAI downloads your images, stores them on our CDN and replaces their URLs on the fly when your page loads. Learn more about this here (SPIO) and here (SPAI).
  • 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 fast for your audience.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 also the recommended option 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!
  • While SPAI uses the same credit pool as SPIO, it usually requires new credits on a monthly basis. Here you can read about how SPIO uses your credits, and here how SPAI does it.
  • Also good for SEO and included in SPAI: you can serve, on the fly, image in "next-gen format" like WebP regardless of the CDN you are using. This means you can make Google happy with a click of a button! :-)

CAVEAT: 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.

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