So What Is WebP?
WebP is nothing but an image format specially developed for the websites.
This particular image format was first introduced by Google in 2010 and was a combination of lossless and lossy image compression methods.
The main goal was to create an image format smaller in size while maintaining the quality level of the original image.
Although there has been lot of different image file formats available to use, but if you research well, you will see that only three of those formats has been commonly used for the web: PNG, JPEG, and GIF.
- JPEG images are perfect for photographs. They can hold lots of colors but they tend to be big in file size and if you try to compress them, might not give you the same quality.
- PNG images are best in such cases where it does not involve a lot of data. Since this type of images support transparency, you can use them for logo and interface screenshots, but not for photography.
- Gif images are perfect for animations but if you wish to use them as static images, they will not deliver you the same performance.
As you can understand all three of these image formats have their advantages as well as downsides. This is exactly where WebP image format comes in.
It’s a compressed image format that allows you to use images of the similar quality without having to sacrifice too much of space.
With the use of Lossless and Lossy compression options, WebP provides you the benefit of storing more data in a smaller file size.
If you go through different data you can see that WebP files are at least 25% smaller than any file format that you can think of.
Advantages of WebP images
First and foremost reason of using this file format is to get a web-focused image file format which is better than any of the existing file format.
Irrespective of the file format you choose, image files will take a lot of space in your server.
In particular, if your website is rich in media files, it is going to experience a lot of lag while users try to open the website, especially when you have a lot of users opening the site at the same time.
This is the reason why you need to find a way to provide the users with a lighter version of media files – at least the image files – which might help them open the site faster.
You may choose to compress your files in order to make them lighter, but normally you will have to sacrifice on the quality of the image.
This is where WebP is really good. Although it compresses your original image, it retains similar image quality while giving you a smaller file size.
While using WebP images, you can actually save at least 25% disk space compared to JPEG and PNG.
And if you look at the quality of the final images, you have to admit, it’s the best compressed file format that you can get till date.
Disadvantages of WebP images
Well, since this WebP image format is relatively new to the web world, not all of the browsers support them completely.
If you check some of the best browsers in the web, world you will see that Google Chrome has the best compatibility with WebP file format.
Although some desktop browsers might support WebP to some extent, their mobile versions do not support the file format at all.
How to use WebP images on your WordPress site?
In case you use WordPress as your website platform, it’s really important to know how you can use the WebP image format on your website.
Well, first of all, WordPress does not support WebP image format as of yet, so by default you cannot use this type of image files.
But there are actually plugins and other tools that you can use to good effect.
This is basically a plugin that helps you convert your images to WebP format automatically provided your visitor has a browser that supports WebP file format.
In case the browser does not support the WebP format, your visitor will get to see the original file format.
Optimus Image Optimizer
This is another of those plugins that you can use to optimize your images. You can get it downloaded from the WordPress plugin repository.
You might have to buy the premium license in order to enable the WebP file conversion.
Once you have enabled the option, you can convert your images files to WebP format and the server will keep both of them just to ensure your website loads the file format that is required.
And since this plugin uses lossless compression, it helps your JPEG and PNG images to be compressed and still retain the same quality.
You can also choose to use the bulk optimizer in case you need to convert a lot of files to the newer image format.
WordPress Cache Enabler
Once you have converted your image files to WebP format, you will have to configure your server so that your WordPress site shows WebP format files to the supported browser and the original images to those browsers which don’t support WebP files.
For this you can use WordPress Cache Enabler Plugin. Once you install this plugin, you need to create a WebP cached version.
Once done, it will create a .webp version of your page which will help your WordPress site to load faster in those browsers which supports the .webp file format.
Now that you know, how to you can create WebP files and use them on your WordPress site, it should be easier for you to build fast, easy loading websites and rest assured that you will never lose visitors due to slow websites.