Optimizing Images Using Pixlr

Keep Your Images Small and Your Web Visitors (and Web Host) Happy

web-space-hogWordPress is very generous in that by default it allows a maximum upload size of 50MB.  Unfortunately, this also means to the novice WordPress user, uploading a 5-25MB picture to a post or page is OK.  Unless you have a photography type site that needs to have these high resolution images available (think Flickr), these images can slow down your site and take up unnecessary server bandwidth.  Don’t be a “server space hog” and optimize your images BEFORE you upload through the Media tool. Here is a simple way to do this using a free online service called Pixlr:

  1. Go to http://www.pixlr.com
  2. Click the Pixel Editor button (Butterfly image on left)
  3. Select Open Image from Computer (you need to know the location of your images in advance).
  4. This will bring up the image editing screen.  Note, if your image is very large, you may be seeing a smaller version of it on the screen.  Look in the far left bottom corner.
  5. There are lots of fun things you can do with your image, but for this tutorial, we simply want you to know how to make the image smaller and get it ready for the web.
  6. Across the top you’ll see some menu items.  Select Image > Image Size.  A small dialogue box will open.
  7. With the Constrain Image box ticked, click on the Width and then use the slider bar to get it to around 250 px (the height will adjust automatically) and hit OK
  8. If your image looks very tiny, check out the screen size in bottom far left.  It may say 30% but the real dimensions of the image are shown right next to it.  You can type 100% if the box if you want to see the full size.
  9. Now you’ll got to File > Save.  Here you can rename the image (think SEO and no spaces — ie. pixlr-tutorial-resize-images).  No need to add the .jpg extension; that is done for you.  Choose My Computer and then save the image to where you can easily find it.
  10. That’s it.  Now you can upload this image to your website and it will load nice and fast for your visitors and your web host won’t be cranky that you uploaded a 5MB picture without good reason.

What About Photo Galleries?

If you have a Photo Gallery on your site, you’ll want to upload images that are larger size and then the plugin will take care of creating the thumbnails.  Set the size to these images to about 640px by whatever it defaults to.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, please contact us.

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