Adding visual elements to your site is an easy way to make your pages more engaging. You might include marketing banners, product images, galleries, or video tutorials. Unfortunately, including a bunch of files can weigh your site down and result in slower performance.
Lazy loading is a great way to relieve pressure on your server while increasing the loading speed of your website. It delays images from rendering for visitors until they’ve scrolled down to their place on the screen. Better yet, some lazy load plugins are free, easy to use, and come with extra features for website optimization.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the best lazy load plugins for WordPress. Then, we’ll show you how to choose the ideal tool for your needs.
The seven best lazy load plugins for WordPress
Let’s take a look at seven of the best lazy load plugins for your WordPress website!
Note: Jetpack's lazy load feature has been depreciated to align with the latest web standards. Learn more here.
Jetpack Boost is an all-in-one optimization plugin that increases your overall website loading speed. Not only will you have an efficient lazy loading tool, but you can also enjoy plenty of other features to improve your web performance.
What’s more, Jetpack is one of the most beginner-friendly options on this list. With a clean, intuitive dashboard, it couldn’t be easier to navigate your way through.
What really sets Jetpack Boost apart is that it’s built specifically to help you improve metrics like First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Therefore, using Jetpack Boost can help you improve your Core Web Vitals, user experience, and search engine rankings.
Key features of Jetpack Boost
- Simple reports with an instant performance score across mobile and desktop devices
- An intuitive, clean dashboard to view your performance and adjust your settings
- Additional optimization tools that generate critical CSS, among other things
Pros of Jetpack Boost
- It provides SEO insights to enhance your search rankings and Core Web Vitals.
- You can automate critical CSS with a premium plan.
- It’s made by Automattic — the people behind WordPress.com — so you can rest easy knowing it’s reliable and compatible with most popular themes and plugins.
Cons of Jetpack Boost
- While you can opt for Jetpack’s own CDN, you won’t be able to use a third-party CDN like Cloudflare.
Ease of use
Jetpack Boost is incredibly easy to set up and maintain. You can install Jetpack Boost just as you would any other WordPress plugin. Then, simply head over to your dashboard and toggle on each of the settings individually.
Smush is a popular image optimization plugin, with over one million active installations. Besides lazy loading in WordPress, Smush also offers image optimization, compression, and resizing tools.
Like Jetpack, Smush is very easy to use. In fact, once it’s installed, you can get it up and running in just a few seconds. Better yet, Smush is compatible with many themes, plugins, and browsers, so you can go about your business as usual.
Key features of Smush
- Image optimization, compression, and resizing tools
- Automatic file compression as you upload images to WordPress
- The ability to view all Smush image data directly in your image blocks
Pros of Smush
- You can choose to optimize images individually or in bulk (up to 50 images at a time).
- You can limit the output locations of media like widgets, content areas, and thumbnails.
- Smush Pro comes with Smush CDN and WebP conversion, and it stores backups of your original images.
Cons of Smush
- Smush skips images over 5MB, which could be problematic for some websites like those with portfolios.
- The compression options with the free version may be too simplistic for some users.
Ease of use
Getting started with Smush is super simple. You can activate the features with just the click of a button. This instantly defers the loading of images below the fold. Simply head to the plugin’s settings, visit the Lazy Loading section, and hit Activate.
3. Lazy Loader
Lazy Loader is a simple, straightforward plugin that does exactly what it says. You won’t get any fuss or frills with this tool. Instead, you can simply enable/disable lazy load on certain elements and add a spinner animation to loading content.
Additionally, Lazy Loader can be applied to many types of content, including videos, iframes, audio content, images, and even backgrounds, scripts, and page styles. Therefore, while there are no fancy features to play around with, Lazy Loader is certainly a robust tool.
Key features of Lazy Loader
- The ability to lazy load background images and scripts with manual modifications
- A checkbox to enable/disable lazy loading for specific posts and pages
- The ability to use the native lazy loading feature in browsers to modify iframes and images
Pros of Lazy Loader
- It defers the loading of all types of content, from page styling to iframes and scripts.
- You can disable lazy loading for images with specific CSS classes, and add filters for the plugin to process.
Cons of Lazy Loader
- You’ll need to modify the markup to use it for background images not inserted with inline styles and scripts.
Ease of use
Lazy Loader requires a little more technical expertise if you plan on using it for background images not inserted with inline styles and scripts. But for any other elements, Lazy Loader is pretty easy to set up. Under Settings → Media, configure the exact options that you want, and the plugin gets to work immediately.
Optimole is a full-service cloud-based system that offers lazy loading and resizing. It also enables you to optimize and compress images in WordPress. Plus, you can even take advantage of the Optimole CDN for faster content delivery.
A unique feature of Optimole is that it replaces all image URLs with cloud-based URLs and compresses them on the fly. Moreover, you can enjoy extra features like format-based optimization, smart cropping, and watermarks.
The free version can handle 5K monthly visitors from over 200 locations. But if that’s not enough, you can always upgrade to the Pro version to accommodate 50K visitors per month.
Key features of Optimole
- A global CDN at no extra cost
- Full support for page builders
- Cloud image library support and AVIF support for lower image sizes
Pros of Optimole
- It doesn’t affect layouts, so you can improve your User Experience (UX).
- Optimole supports all image types including WebP and retina.
- It optimizes in real-time based on each visitor’s device.
Cons of Optimole
- Lazy loading isn’t as effective as other tools (sometimes the image is replaced with a blurred image momentarily).
- The Pro option is pricier than others on this list.
Ease of use
Optimole is a fully automated plugin. Therefore, you can “set and forget” the settings, and the tool works in the background of your site, requiring very little ongoing maintenance. Plus, you can uninstall Optimole just as easily, and your site will be left completely intact.
There is a free version of the Optimole tool that is very functional. Alternatively, you can upgrade to accommodate more traffic, use the tool on unlimited sites, and access email support. Paid plans start at $19.08 per month.
LazyLoad is a powerful yet lightweight plugin with scripts weighing less than 10KB. We say powerful because LazyLoad takes care of all assets on your site, including avatars, thumbnails, iframes, background images, YouTube videos, and more.
Key features of LazyLoad
- The ability to lazy load images in post content or widget text
- Filters that deactivate lazy loading on some pages
- Automatic (or manual) lazy loading for background images
Pros of LazyLoad
- It targets specific goals such as improving metrics on PageSpeed Insights or boosting First Input Delay scores.
- It uses a “transparent” placeholder for images (as opposed to blurring images).
- It replaces YouTube iframes with a preview thumbnail.
Cons of LazyLoad
- Reviews claim that LazyLoad can disrupt image placement, layouts, and other design elements on your site.
- It isn’t the most mobile-friendly plugin.
- It receives less frequent updates than other lazy load plugins.
Ease of use
LazyLoad is easy to install and configure if you stick with the basic options. But, if you want to achieve greater control, like excluding certain pages from lazy loading, you’ll need to manually edit your functions.php file.
LazyLoad is a free plugin by WP Rocket. Additionally, if you already have the WP Rocket Cache plugin, LazyLoad is included.
Better yet, YouTube videos are also loaded in a privacy-enhanced mode. Plus, you can enjoy plenty of customization options, like tweaking the Play button or hiding related video suggestions once the video ends.
Key features of Lazy Load for Videos
- No vendor lock-in and no custom shortcodes, so your videos will still work if you decide to stop using the tool
- GDPR compliance, enabling you to display a privacy disclaimer above preview images
- A custom color for your Vimeo player and progress bar
Pros of Lazy Load for Videos
- You can set your embeds to autoplay if you prefer.
- You can hide annotations and YouTube controls to create a clean, neat space.
- It includes extras like pre-roll/post-roll advertisements that you can apply to all videos.
Cons of Lazy Load for Videos
- There are some compatibility issues with the Jetpack “Shortcode Embeds” extension, BuddyPress, and the YouTube Embed WordPress plugin.
Ease of use
Like other plugins on this list, Lazy Load for Videos is super simple to install and manage. Plus, it’s easy to turn the plugin on and off at any time.
7. a3 Lazy Load
Finally, a3 Lazy Load delivers an exclusive lazy loading service. It’s very easy to set up, even for beginners, and it’s mobile-friendly.
While the plugin enables your pages to load faster, you can also toggle the setting for videos and iframes, thanks to a3 Lazy Load’s extensive customization options. Better yet, you’re able to include/exclude particular elements and even add some smooth transition effects like fade and spinner.
Key features of a3 Lazy Load
- The ability to use the plugin with content-heavy sites (it’s been tested with 1000 images)
- Lazy loading for thumbnails, avatars, widgets, custom post types, and more
- Full compatibility with WordPress embeds
Pros of a3 Lazy Load
- You can add fade and spinner effects to loading images.
- You can use the On/Off feature to include and exclude elements.
- It’s fully compatible with other useful plugins like WooCommerce, so you can integrate it easily with your online store.
Cons of a3 Lazy Load
- It only works with media that’s been added using core WordPress functions and won’t work with any custom written functions.
Ease of use
a3 Lazy Load is super easy to set up and customize for all user levels.
There’s a free version available, or you can upgrade to premium. Paid plans start at $24.99 per month for use on five sites. What’s more, you can try a3 Lazy Load free for 14 days and easily cancel the subscription if you decide against it.
The best lazy load plugin: comparison table
|Easy to use||Additional image optimization features||Fully compatible with popular plugins||Free version available|
|Lazy Load for Videos||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|a3 Lazy Load||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Verdict: what’s the best lazy load plugin for WordPress?
The best lazy load plugin depends on your website needs. For instance, if you have many high-quality images on your site, you might prefer a plugin that offers image optimization features like compression and resizing.
Additionally, if most of your media files are videos or WebP formats, then it’s important to find a plugin with this capability since some tools will only work with JPEG/JPGs and PNGs.
Better yet, you couldn’t ask for an easier tool to set up and configure. Once it’s installed on your site, simply head to the dashboard, where you’ll use toggles to enable/disable each of the settings. Then, Jetpack Boost works in the background of your site, requiring little to no ongoing maintenance.
How to choose a lazy load plugin
Now that you know the best lazy load plugins for WordPress, here are some ways to narrow down the right option for your site.
1. Make sure it matches your skill level
Some users might want a more hands-on tool with lots of control configurations and customization options. But for a beginner, all these settings can be intimidating. That’s why finding a lazy load plugin that matches your skill level is important.
If you don’t have a lot of tech experience, you’ll probably prefer a tool that’s easy to install and works automatically. There are plenty of options with “set and forget” options, so there’s no need to tinker around with complicated features and ongoing maintenance.
2. Check for additional features
If you’re looking for a lazy load plugin, you might simply want a method to delay the loading of images below the fold. Some of these plugins, like LazyLoad and Lazy Loader, do just what they say on the box.
But, for more complex, content-heavy websites, you can benefit from tools that provide additional features to enhance your content delivery. For instance, if you have a portfolio, you might want optimization and compression tools. Meanwhile, photography websites could find a watermarking feature useful.
3. Find out which image formats and sizes are supported
Typically, most plugins will accommodate popular image formats like JPEGs and PNGs. But not all tools offer lazy loading for animated images like GIFs or videos. Plus, some newer image formats like WebP and Retina might be ignored.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that the lazy load plugin you choose can support all the file types you intend to use on your website. Additionally, keep in mind that the free versions of some plugins are often a lot less powerful. Therefore, while a free lazy load plugin may seem like the best option in the short term, it might not work on large media files.
4. Make sure it’s compatible with other plugins on your website
The last thing you want to do is to get started with a lazy load plugin only to find that it isn’t compatible with other plugins essential to the running of your site. For example, if you own an online store, you probably rely on a platform like WooCommerce. Meanwhile, forum sites utilize specialized plugins like bbPress to gain functionality.
If the plugin isn’t compatible with other software you’ve installed, you risk breaking your site. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the integrations and compatibility of your preferred tool. A good example of this is the Lazy Load for Videos plugin, which doesn’t work with a specific extension of Jetpack.
In general, Jetpack Boost, because it’s made by the people behind WordPress.com, will work reliably with most themes and plugins.
Frequently asked questions about WordPress lazy load plugins
Now that you know how to choose the best lazy load plugin for your site, here are some of the most popular questions about lazy loading.
What makes a good lazy load plugin?
A good lazy load plugin can delay loading your images below the fold. Doing so speeds up the delivery of content that’s immediately visible to your users. While this is the default feature, you can also find lazy load plugins that offer additional features like image optimization, compression, and resizing tools.
On top of that, the best lazy load plugins are automated, easy to use, and compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce. Plus, it’s vital to find a tool that doesn’t damage your UX or adjust the image quality too visibly since this can be frustrating for your visitors.
How much does a lazy load plugin cost on WordPress?
There are plenty of free lazy load WordPress plugins. But many providers also offer a paid option that might include extra features or handle larger file sizes. It’s important to note that some free tools can be very limited.
Is it easy to set up a lazy load plugin on WordPress?
Lazy load plugins vary in their ease of use. You’ll find more complex tools that require a more hands-on approach and configuration. But you can also opt for simple lazy load plugins that are easy to install and use.
One of the best features of Jetpack Boost is that you can set it up with just a few clicks. Then, use toggles to enable or disable individual features. Plus, you can deactivate the plugin at any point without damaging your site.
What other features can I get with a lazy load plugin?
You can find lazy load plugins that offer a streamlined service. But if you want to access additional features, it’s worth choosing a tool that offers other features to improve the performance of your site.
Boost your site’s performance with a lazy load plugin
While adding images is a great way to spruce up your site, too many photos can disrupt your UX with slow loading times. Fortunately, with the right lazy load plugin, you’re able to deliver content faster and keep your site running smoothly.
To recap, here are some of the top WordPress lazy load plugins:
- Jetpack Boost: An easy-to-use plugin with additional features for speed optimization.
- Smush: A popular image optimization plugin with compression and resizing tools.
- Lazy Loader: A simple, fuss-free way to lazy load your images.
- Optimole: A full-service cloud-based system that includes a CDN.
- Lazy Load by WP Rocket: A lightweight but powerful plugin that helps you target specific goals.
- Lazy Load for Videos: The best option for video lazy loading, with plenty of customization tools.
- A3 Lazy Load: A user-friendly plugin exclusively dedicated to lazy loading.
Overall, using Jetpack Boost is the best plugin to implement lazy loading on your site. Plus, with a bunch of extra features, you can optimize your entire web performance. Get started with Jetpack Boost today!