If you want to speed up your WordPress site, finding ways to reduce the size of your images offers a big return on your investment. On average, images account for about half of a webpage’s file size, so even small improvements can have big results.
WebP is a modern image format that can help you reduce the size of your images without changing how they look. On average, learning how to convert an image to WebP can shrink its size by approximately 25-35% with no to a very less loss in quality.
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What is WebP?
So…what is a WebP file? In a nutshell, WebP is an image format that’s developed by Google. For example, you have image formats like JPEG or JPG and PNG, right? Well, WebP is an alternative file format for images.
WebP is focused on delivering the same image file, just with smaller file sizes. By reducing the size of your image files, you can still deliver the same experience to your website’s visitors but your site will load faster.
For example, in Google’s WebP compression study, Google found that a WebP image file is on average…
- 25-34% smaller than a comparable JPEG image.
- 26% smaller than a comparable PNG image.
This is why, if you run your site through PageSpeed Insights, one of the many recommendations is to serve images in next-gen formats like WebP.
So how does Google’s WebP format achieve these reductions in file size?
WebP supports both lossy and lossless compression, so the exact reduction will depend on whether you’re using lossy or lossless compression. With lossy WebP compression, WebP uses something called “predictive coding” to lower the file size. Predictive coding uses the values of neighboring pixels in an image to predict values and then only encodes the difference. It’s based on VP8 key frame encoding.
Lossless WebP uses a much more complicated set of methods that were developed by the WebP team. If you want to learn about the WebP compression techniques in detail, refer to this article.
How to Use WebP Images on WordPress?
You can’t just upload WebP image files in your Media Library and directly use them in WordPress like you can with JPEGs and PNGs.
If you are unable to upload in WebP, you can use a WordPress plugin that converts your original images to the WebP format and also provides the original image as a fallback if a visitor’s browser doesn’t support WebP.
For example, if you upload a JPEG file to your site, the plugin will:
- Convert the JPEG file to WebP and use the WebP version for visitors browsing with Chrome, Firefox, etc.
- Show the original JPEG file to visitors browsing with Safari and other browsers that don’t support WebP.
That way, everyone can see your image and everyone gets the fastest experience possible.
Below, are some of the best WebP WordPress plugins.