What Is WebP? A Beginner’s Guide

10 Jan, 2024

Many websites are starting to adopt a new image format called WebP. What is WebP, and why is it a better image format than alternatives?

If you’re looking for a high-quality image format that takes up less space than JPEG or PNG, WebP is worth checking out. Developed by Google after acquiring On2 Technologies, WebP offers rich images in a smaller size. It combines the best qualities of JPEG and PNG, providing advanced lossy and lossless compression.

WebP is an excellent image format for optimizing website performance. It can provide smaller file sizes without sacrificing image quality, making it suitable for many website owners.

In this article, you’ll learn all about WebP – what it is, the advantages and disadvantages it presents, and how to use it on WordPress. You’ll also learn how to convert and save a WebP file to your computer.

So let’s get started!

What is WebP?

WebP is a new image format that promises to reduce image size while maintaining good quality. It uses both lossy and lossless compression methods, so you can be sure your images will look great no matter how small they are.

The Benefits of WebP

How can you resist using WebP images? They have many advantages:

  • Faster loading times
  • Smaller file sizes
  • Better image quality
  • Broader browser support

I’ll explain them below.

  • Improves the performance of websites. The WebP format is more lightweight than JPEG and PNG, meaning smaller image file sizes will increase a site’s loading speeds. This makes it an ideal option for websites looking for improved performance.
  • It saves a lot of bandwidth. If you’re running a website, you know that bandwidth is crucial. The faster your server can send data to your users, the better. That’s why WebP is so great – it can free up space for more content. This is crucial for websites with many images, like food or travel blogs. So if you’re looking to save some bandwidth, WebP is definitely the way to go!
  • Improves search engine optimization (SEO). Google’s search engine ranking algorithm considers various factors, including page speed. Faster-loading pages are more likely to rank higher than slower-loading pages. So by using lightweight images on your website, you can improve your site’s page speed, and thus its ranking in Google search results.
  • Use high-quality images. Images are an integral part of any website. They help engage users and create a more dynamic and visually appealing site. However, if your website is slow to load, you could be losing potential visitors. This is where WebP comes in. It offers high-quality images while maintaining fast loading speeds. So you don’t have to sacrifice image quality for more incredible speed – with WebP, you can have the best of both worlds!
  • Present multiple types of images. If you’re looking for a versatile image format that supports transparent and animated graphics, look no further than WebP! This cutting-edge format is quickly gaining popularity among web developers and designers. So why not give it a try? You may find that you prefer WebP over other image formats.

Looking at WebP compared to JPEG and PNG, you can see some clear advantages. For example, with WebP, you get better compression, so your files will be smaller and load faster. Plus, its support for transparency gives you more flexibility when creating graphics.

JPEG files are perfect for images with many colors, making them the ideal option for still photos. However, keep in mind that JPEGs use lossy compression, so you may see a decline in quality when these files are resaved or edited. Another downside to using JPEGs is that they don’t support transparency or animation.

The PNG file type is an excellent option for retaining high image quality, as it uses lossless compression. This format is perfect for images with many pixels, like text-heavy infographics. Additionally, PNG supports transparency, ideal for web design elements and logos. However, keep in mind that PNG files are usually larger than other image formats. Furthermore, PNG does not support animation.

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WebP offers the best of both worlds – a smaller file size with equivalent quality to PNG or JPEG. This makes it an ideal format for images on the web. In fact, WebP can offer savings of up to 25-34%! So if you’re looking to reduce your image sizes without sacrificing quality, make sure to give WebP a try.

There are many reasons to choose WebP over JPEG and PNG. For starters, WebP offers significantly smaller file sizes than JPEG and PNG, meaning faster page loading times for your users. Additionally, WebP provides better image quality than JPEG and PNG in most cases, resulting in sharper images with more accurate colors.

Take a look at these sample images from the Google WebP Gallery. The website compares JPEG and WebP images similar in quality to see the difference for yourself.

Take a look at the images on this website. You’ll see that there’s not much difference in quality between the JPEG images on the left and WebP images on the right. However, the WebP files are significantly smaller than the JPEG ones. This makes them a more efficient choice for online use.

Google WebP Gallery

WebP offers fantastic image quality, significantly reducing file size compared to traditional JPEG images. This means faster loading times for your website and happier visitors who don’t have to wait long for pages to load. So why not try using WebP images on your site today?

So if you’re looking for the best possible image format for your website or app, choose WebP!

The Disadvantages of WebP

While there are many benefits to switching to WebP, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of. For example, software – especially web browsers – may not always support the format.

Although support for the WebP file type has gradually improved on popular web browsers over the years, some browsers still don’t have this functionality.

Several popular web browsers have supported WebP for years, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Most recently, Safari began supporting WebP as well.

Can I Use WebP

I understand that you may be wondering if other remaining browsers will support WebP in the future. We can reassure you that more browsers are likely to follow suit in supporting this image format soon. Even if they don’t support WebP, you can safely ignore them because they are legacy browsers with a relatively small user base.

So feel free to try WebP for yourself right now!

When it comes to other software, not all support the WebP format yet. Some image viewers and editors do not work with WebP files. For example, Adobe Photoshop doesn’t natively support it yet. To edit a WebP file in Adobe Photoshop, you would first install any third-party plugins.

Using WebP images with WordPress

If you’re using WordPress 5.8 or later, you can now upload WebP images to the media library!

To add new WebP images, go to Media > Add New. Select the files you want to upload and check whether they appear in the media library without any issues. Adding an image is also available when creating a post or editing a page.

WebP Image in WordPress Media Library

Unfortunately, WordPress WebP support does not automatically convert your existing images into your media library. You can use an image optimization plugin to convert the files into WebP when shown on your website.

If you’re looking for a way to convert your existing images to the WebP file format, popular WordPress plugins like ShortPixel and Optimole can help. Converting your current photos to the WebP file format offers smaller file sizes and improved performance.

Suppose you’re looking for a manual approach. In that case, you can use the Photon API to convert your JPEG and PNG images into whichever file format you want – including WebP. Keep in mind that this option is only available if you’re using WordPress.com or your self-hosted WordPress site is connected to Jetpack.

Suppose you’d like to convert your media files to the WebP format elsewhere than WordPress. In that case, you can also use popular online tools like Convertio. After the conversion is complete, you can download the files to your computer and upload them to your WordPress website.


Suppose you’re looking for an image format that offers superior quality and smaller file sizes. If so, WebP is the next-generation option to consider. This format builds on technologies used by JPEG and PNG so that you can be confident in its performance.

We understand that you may have some trouble using the WebP format. In this article, we’ve explored different ways to work around any issues you might face. We hope this article has helped you understand WebP and use it effectively. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.

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Jafar Muhammed

Jafar Muhammed has 10+ years of experience in WordPress, web hosting, domain names, DNS, CDN, server administration, etc. He is an open web advocate. He is the CEO of Rovity, the fastest-growing premium shared hosting startup in India.