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How to Compress PDF Online for Free

The process to compress a PDF file online is a relatively simple one because there’s nothing to download and install beforehand. All you need to do is to go to the corresponding URL of the PDF compression website, upload your file or files, tweak the compression parameters if required, and process the file before downloading it or sharing it. But even though the process is so straightforward, there are several other factors to consider; for instance, can I compress a PDF file free of charge, what are the security considerations when I compress PDF file online, and so on.

In this article, we’ll share three useful online PDF compression web services that are well-known and highly reliable. We’ll also show you their desktop equivalents in case you decide to compress PDFs offline rather than online.

How to Compress PDF online: 3 Solutions Explained

How to Compress PDF Online

#1 Wondershare HiPDF

hipdf Compress pdf online

HiPDF is powered by one of the fastest and most efficient PDF compression engines around. It is secure, accurate, and can compress PDF online as a batch if you choose to subscribe to HiPDF. In addition, there are modules for nearly every PDF-related task, from editing to file conversion to forms management to optical character recognition or OCR. Let’s begin by reviewing the compress PDF online option in HiPDF

Step 1 Head to the HiPDF Compress PDF web page and click on Choose File to upload your document - you can also drag it from its Explorer folder and drop it directly into the browser tab to import it

compress pdf online hipdf

Step 2 Next, once you see that the file upload is successful, choose a compression level based on how small you want your PDF to be shrunk

online compressing result hipdf

Step 3 Finally, click the Compress PDF button and wait for the compression to be executed; you can hit Download when it’s ready

Further Actions:
HiPDF also allows you to perform other types of actions on the file after it has been compressed and before you click Download. Some of these include conversion to other formats, adding watermarks, editing PDF content, and more. In addition, you can directly share the file with other people online from within the HiPDF interface on your browser.

Compression Quality:
Once you compress a PDF file online using HiPDF, you’ll see that the quality of the file has been optimized based on the compression level you chose during the above process. The High preset involves intense compression that removes embedded fonts, reduces image size and resolution, renders images in grayscale, and so on. Other presets have default settings for each of these parameters, which gives the user more control and less confusion over what to keep and what to do away with.

Batch Process:
If you’d like to compress PDF files online as a batch, you can sign up on the site and subscribe to HiPDF on a paid plan before processing your document workload. However, the advantage of using the free plan is that the compression quality is exactly the same as for the paid version, with some limitations on the number of pages and number of documents that you can process per day.


Free for PDF documents of up to 50 pages

Excellent balance of compression vs quality

Easy to use and no registration required for processing single files


2 file limit per day for free compression

Batch compression is a paid service under a subscription plan

HiPDF Desktop Version:
The desktop version of HiPDF is called Wondershare PDFelement, a robust Mac/PC PDF editor with the same powerful compression capabilities and a plethora of other features that include PDF editing, file conversion, annotations, PDF security, form filling, creation, and signing, file and page organizing, OCR, Batch Process, and others.

Wondershare PDFelement Pro DC

Simplify your Workflow with the Document Cloud for PDFelement.

pdfelement pro dc

#2 Smallpdf

Another versatile web tool to compress PDF online is Smallpdf. Similar to HiPDF, Smallpdf offers multiple modules for various PDF tasks such as compression, file conversion, annotations, security, editing, and so on. It also has a desktop version with even more features, which we’ll talk about at the end of this section. First, let’s look at the online PDF compression process:

Step 1 Go to the web page for the Smallpdf compression tool and upload your document by dropping it there or using the Choose Files button; alternatively, you can also import from cloud services such as dropbox by clicking the down arrow next to Choose Files

smallpdf compress pdf online

Step 2 On the next page, select the Basic compression level to compress your PDF file for free, then click Choose Option

smallpdf compression result

Step 3 The file will be compressed and you’ll see several options: download, share, or continue with other PDF tools such as protection, editing, file conversion, and so on


Powerful compression engine

Easy-to-use interface

Multiple tools on one website


High compression is not available when compressing a PDF file free

Expensive relative to other similar tools

Support ended for macOS desktop version

Smallpdf Desktop Version:
Smallpdf previously had desktop versions for both Windows and Mac but recently stopped support for the Mac Reader version. The Windows version is not a PDF editor but it does offer tools for compression, reading, conversion, protection, page numbering, and organizing PDFs. The team plan, which gives you access to the web, desktop, and mobile apps, starts at $7 a month under an annual contract.

#3 ILovePDF

The third tool you can consider to compress PDF online is ILovePDF, a popular product that is simple to use. It also comes with a range of PDF operations such as editing, conversion, file management, page management, security, and more. The online PDF compression tool works as follows:

Step 1 Drop your PDF file into the ILovePDF Compress PDF browser tab or use the Select PDF file option to import it

ilovepdf compress pdf online

Step 2 On the next page, choose one of the three compression preset options and click the Compress PDF button

ilovepdf compression degree

Step 3 Your compressed PDF will be automatically downloaded and you’ll be prompted to choose the target folder on your local system; in addition, you can choose to continue processing the file with other PDF tools, save it to a cloud service, or share it in the form of a link or QR code


Slick interface

Easy operation

Affordable upgrades


No PDF editing online or offline

Limited tools in the paid plan

iLovePDF Desktop Version:
iLovePDF is available as a desktop PDF Reader for macOS and Windows (32 and 64-bit) but does not have editing capabilities. Starting at around $7 a month, the premium plan gives you access to the full suite of PDF tools for web, desktop, and mobile. You can also use it as a free PDF reader if you don’t need access to any of the other tools.

A Few Last Things to Consider

The compress PDF online process is relatively simple, as we’ve just seen, and there are several tools that can do the job well. However, you must take into consideration the fact that compression levels and compression quality are not the same across the board.

Moreover, using an online PDF compression tool puts you at risk if you’re on an unsecured Internet connection such as a public Wi-Fi hotspot. If your PDF contains confidential or sensitive information, that might be counterintuitive. For that reason, we recommend using a desktop editor like PDFelement to compress PDF files; even though you have to download and register the product, you get secure access to all the PDF tools you need for editing, converting, securing, sharing, organizing, converting images to text (OCR), batch processes, and much more.

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