It is no secret that website speed matters a lot when it comes to improving the performance of your website. Google has openly stated on numerous occasions that faster page load times equal better user experience and as such, websites that load fast have a better chance of getting a higher search engine rank.
Now, since majority of the websites tend to rely on images, it is often noticed that uncompressed and large images play a big role in slowing down a website. Quite obviously, optimizing and compressing your images will improve your website’s performance manifolds.
There are many such tools out there that let you compress and optimize images and other related media on your website. One such tool is ImageRecycle, that lets you optimize not just images but even PDF files.
In this post, I will be reviewing ImageRecycle to check its usefulness when it comes to compressing images.
ImageRecycle: Major Features
ImageRecycle is not anything new or outright innovative. In fact, for quite a while, WordPress users have had plugins such as WP Smush, whereas other online tools, like TinyPNG, have existed with similar functionality. The idea here is simple: to optimize and compress your images, so that file sizes are reduced, page load times are improved, and the quality is not compromised.
That said, ImageRecycle comes with its own set of unique features, that are not found in many of its competitors. To begin with, it offers not just JPG and PNG, but also GIF and PDF compression. Compressing PDF files is something that can come handy for various blogs and magazines.
Beyond that, as a Pro user of ImageRecycle, you can also resize images and optimize entire pages with the help of CSS parsing. Furthermore, Pro users also get to restore original images if the need ever arises, with a one month retention period.
ImageRecycle already has a WordPress plugin, and is integrated well with various other platforms, including Joomla, Magento and Shopify. If that does not work for you, it also offers integration API for languages such as Python, Node.js, Ruby and JAVA.
I decided to give the ImageRecycle plugin a try on my WordPress website that had all types of image content: PNG, JPG, GIF as well as a few PDF files.
The mode of operation is simple: you just install and activate the plugin, enter your API key info, and off you go! Since I have this habit of customizing everything before actually using it, I headed straight to Settings → ImageRecycle to see what all options I can tweak.
The options are pretty innovative, and that impressed me right away: you can specify which folders the plugin should look into, for finding images to optimize. Plus, you can also specify maximum and minimum file size for images that the plugin should deal with (say, if an image is below 10 KB, it need not be compressed further, and so on).
Thereafter, you can specify the compression type for each file type: PDF, GIF, PNG and JPG. You get to choose from original quality, no compression or best compression saving.
Once you set it up, you can just forget it, and let it do its work automatically. Alternatively, for existing images, head over to Media → ImageRecycle, and then you can select images to optimize.
In my experience, I tried optimizing a 103 KB GIF file, and all it gave me was an error message: “An error occurs.”
That’s all, no further details provided. I checked the error logs on my server, nothing from this plugin. I then tried compressing PNG and JPG files, and it worked well.
I could not get it to work for GIFs initially. It might be a conflict with other plugins that were active on my site (Wordfence, Jetpack, WP-Optimize and WordPress SEO by Yoast), because once I installed it on a new site with no other plugins (same server), it worked fine for GIFs too.
In any case, I would have at least expected a detailed error message about the issue — “An error occurs” just does not suffice.
In terms of compression, while ImageRecycle have gone to great lengths to explain how their optimization engine works, I decided to give it a spin with a fairly large image. I selected a 4.11 MB JPG image via their web uploader, just to see how it fares. Here are the results:
A compression of 82%. Impressive!
Support and Documentation
ImageRecycle have a very active support forum, wherein you can post your questions and comments about the service.
Existing documentation contains guides with screenshots, about integrations with different CMSs and usage across other website tools. This is sufficient, because at the end of the day, a simple image optimization service does not require any further docs. Plus, the plugin is also backed by usage video guides, so if the text documentation does not suffice for you, you can turn to that.
Also, there is ticked-based support for premium users of the plugin, and it also applies to anyone who has an active trial account.
ImageRecycle costs $7 per month for 1 GB of content that can be compressed. Bigger plans are available at $14 per month for 3 GB, and $50 per month for 50 GB. All plans offer extensions and plugins for different CMSs, professional support, and other bells and whistles.
I do find, however, that the pricing model needs improvement. $7 is an acceptable figure for the cheapest plan, but 1 GB of max content limit is futile, especially because ImageRecycle allow you to add unlimited websites across this plan. Even a small bunch of moderately busy websites might consume 1 GB of image content transfer within a fortnight maximum, so the limit for the $7 plan needs to be raised.
Apart from that, ImageRecycle does seem like a very unique service, especially because it is one of the very few ones out there that can work with PDFs and GIFs too. The fact that it integrates well with many different platforms further adds a bonus point to ImageRecycle, and if you are looking for a tool to help you optimize and compress images for your website, you should consider giving ImageRecycle a try!
Oh, and before I forget, ImageRecycle also has a referral program that, among other awesome things, gives you 3 GB of optimization for free! Learn more here.
What do you think of ImageRecycle? Share your views in the comments below!