Early this year, we at Cloudinary decided to go all in and build something bigger and better than what we’d built before. The team kept its word: Cloudinary’s WordPress Plugin Version 3.0—called WP Plugin V3 in the rest of this post—is here and it’s awesome!
WP Plugin V3 is a total revamp of the previous version, complete with an array of new features and optimization enhancements that further leverage Cloudinary’s capabilities for WordPress websites. The new plug-and-play plugin works well across the board: from website to agencies, as well as enterprises and e-commerce stores. Developers and hosting platforms can tweak the plugin to match their use case and then incorporate it into their solution, workflow, or platform—all with ease.
Plug-and-play, which leverages several prominent features of Cloudinary seconds after activation of WP Plugin V3, yields a stupendous user experience on websites. Moreover, thanks to image and video optimizations, smart lazy-loading, and automated generation of responsive images, your site’s Google Core Web Vitals scores would improve instantly.
Uploading media files to your Cloudinary account prepares them for delivery to visitors through our blazing-fast content delivery network (CDN) from desktops, tablets, and mobile devices with various connection speeds, ensuring the fastest access to your site. Behind the scenes is a customized delivery mechanism with adjustable compression levels and formats to best match each visitor’s needs—with no involvement at all from WordPress—freeing up your server from having to resize, compress, or optimize images or videos.
As a start, WP Plugin V3 automatically uploads your media files to your Cloudinary account. Those files are images and videos in your WordPress media library along with items that are visible to your visitors and that originate from plugins, themes, content folders, and even the WordPress core.
Note that WP Plugin V3 supports sites of all sizes and complexities, from simple blogs to colossal e-commerce marketplaces to communities and even multilanguage sites.
WP Plugin V3 can automatically optimize and resize your site’s images for the strictest responsive-design standards, adapting those images for delivery at the exact (pixel-perfect) size and compression level requested by the visitor’s browser, which results in superfast delivery to all devices irrespective of their size or network speed. For those with a slow connection, Cloudinary automatically delivers the most optimized media with minimal or no quality loss.
Furthermore, the new user-friendly wizard makes it a cakewalk for you to start enjoying Cloudinary’s remarkable features even without configuration changes.
WP Plugin V3 is fully compatible with all popular page builders, e.g., Elementor and Divi, that help build, manage, and optimize websites. The plugin also works perfectly alongside plugins for building forms, for fine-tuning SEO, for establishing communities, or for managing a multilanguage setup.
From content upload to delivery, WP Plugin V3 can automatically upload media to your cloud storage on our platform and deliver those assets through a versatile CDN—not from the hosting server—saving you storage and bandwidth costs, as well as strengthening performance by shortening load times for site visitors.
Cloudinary’s free plan includes delivery through a CDN. However, our multi-CDN setup, available for paid customers, serves the content that is closest to your visitors, ensuring the fastest loads and stability.
WP Plugin V3 intelligently resizes images in a responsive, on-demand manner by auto-generating responsive breakpoints (additional sizes) according to the criteria set by the visitor’s browser, taking into account the browser window’s size, the device screen’s device pixel ratio (DPR), and the actual, measured image size. V3 enables much easier creation of responsive breakpoints with an improved UI that clues you in the visual effect and details of the breakpoints and sizes that will be in place.
As an illustration, if a visitor requests a 1,000-px.-wide image, which shows on the browser at exactly 220-px. width and which is viewed from an iPhone with a DPR of 2.0, the plugin would request Cloudinary to generate and deliver a 440-px.-wide image in real time, which would look perfect on the visitor’s screen and load your entire site at optimal quality with the most riveting user experience.
For the shortest load times, a unique, customizable lazy-loading technology of WP Plugin V3 prevents images from loading if the visitor is not viewing them. The benefits are many, including faster page loads and savings in bandwidth and system resources.
In addition, to further accelerate loading, prior to loading an optimized image, the plugin requests Cloudinary to generate a smart and almost weightless image as an initial placeholder. That image then transitions to an optimized version, affording a smooth and all-rounded viewing experience.
WP Plugin V3 benefits enterprises in two ways:
- With WP Plugin V3, you can create a single delivery point by adding external sources (domains and subdomains) for storing your media. You can also optimize and deliver static media that’s sourced from other domains outside your WP media library, achieving more optimization, faster performance, and shorter loading times.
- You can specify media files with certain extensions, called hooks, and deliver the files from your organization’s hosting environment.
WP Plugin V3 also offers the following significant capabilities:
- WP Plugin V3 supports WooCommerce, one of the most popular WordPress e-commerce solutions. The plugin offers the same benefits to WooCommerce users as it does for most regular WordPress users. All the optimization and creative transformation capabilities of WP Plugin V3 guarantee the fastest page loads, not only increasing conversions but also boosting sales. Cloudinary’s advanced and configurable Product Gallery can also replace WooCommerce’s gallery for better-performing PDPs with optimization behind the scenes as well as look and feel that matches the storefront design.
- Optimized video performance with support for the Cloudinary Video Player. For details, see the documentation.
- An integrated dashboard that displays your account’s usage statistics, your image sources, and their compression ratios without the need to switch to the Cloudinary console. As a result, you gain an insight into the amount of bandwidth savings for your customers.
- A Cloudinary status option that shows the status of your media assets on your site’s front end. That’s valuable data for understanding the effect of WP Plugin V3 on individual assets and for seeing which transformations are being applied.
- The ability to extend the functionality of the plugin with developer hooks. For details, see the plugin’s page on GitHub.
Since its inception in 2003, WordPress has attracted a huge customer base. According to a W3Techs survey, 42.3% of all websites leverage WordPress as their content management system (CMS)—a market share of 65.2%. Now that WP Plugin V3 is available as an easy-to-use, plug-and-play, and effective optimization tool, do take it for a free test drive. Simply, download it from the WordPress marketplace, sign up for a programmable media account, and check out the documentation.