When dealing with slow loading websites, extra-large image file sizes is always at the top of the list for items that add to the total page size. A large page size means a slower load time. And a slow load time means website visitors will leave your website, especially if your website takes over 6 seconds to load. Most website testing software recommends a web page load speed of 2-3 seconds. Read on to learn how WebP speeds up websites.

Different compression formats

For most websites, developers use a .PNG file when they want a transparent background and a JPG image when looking for a clearer image. Both image formats use compression algorithm to reduce the file size. There are both lossless and lossy image compression formats available. Recognizing the need to improve a website visitor’s experience, Google created the WebP image format to reduce image file sizes. According to Google, WebP lossless image files are 26% smaller than PNG image files and lossy image files are up to 34% smaller than JPG image files. This is a significant reduction in image file sizes.

Predictive coding

The compression algorithm uses predictive coding (like that used to compress videos) to predict the surrounding image pixels. This means the image file does not have to save each pixel in the file. For example, newer iPhones take photos that are 3264 by 2448 pixels in size (about 8 million pixels). In lossless JPG, this is a 12 MB image file size. In PNG, the same file is 4.6 MB. WebP can reduce the JPG file to 7.9 MB and the PNG file to 3.4MB.

Free conversion tools

Google has released WebP conversion tools for converting PNG and JPG images. The software is free to use and is available for download from their website. To take advantage of WebP image compression, you must convert your images before uploading them to the web. As the WebP image format is new, few websites are using it. Newer versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge all support WebP. The Safari web browser does not offer full support yet. When looking to reduce the page loading speed of your website, have a look at using the WebP image format. Your website visitors deserve the best experience you can provide them.

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