WordPress.org has announced that it will support the WebP Enhanced Image Format. Version 5.8 of WordPress is scheduled for late July 2021 and will ship with full support for the (relatively) new image format.
WebP image format
WebP is a new generation image format suitable for replacing images encoded in JPG, PNG and GIF formats. WebP is capable of producing superior image quality at significantly smaller sizes.
WebP lossless images are images that retain the original image quality while maintaining a smaller size. WebP lossless images are 26% smaller than original images.
Lossy images are WebP images that have a slightly lower quality but can be compressed to an even smaller and still more than acceptable size. Lossy WebP images can be 25-34% smaller than the original image.
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Web server and browser support for WebP
WebP was announced by Google as an open licensed image format in 2010. The Internet has reached a point where the new format is supported in all modern browsers.
This makes 2021 the perfect year to consider moving images to WebP. Most modern browsers and hosts support the new format.
WordPress support for WebP
WordPress has announced that image handling in the WP Media Library will be exactly the same as any other currently supported image format.
According to WordPress.org:
“As of WordPress 5.8, you can upload and use WebP images in WordPress just like you would today with a JPEG or PNG image (as long as your hosting service supports WebP).
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The only problem with WordPress support for WebP is if the host doesn’t support WebP.
“In WordPress, the lossless WebP format is only supported when the hosting server uses Imagick until LibGD adds support. Also, animated and alpha formats are not yet supported for resized images (lossy images are created when loading in these formats instead).
WordPress 5.8 site health warning updated
WordPress 5.8 will feature an updated health alert section with new fields to indicate if the web host is capable of supporting the WebP format.
This will make it easier for publishers to know at a glance if they are able to take advantage of the new WordPress features and if not, request them from their web hosting provider.
A comment in the WordPress.org announcement noted:
“5.8 also adds new fields to Site Health to help determine if a site is capable of processing WebP formatted image files.
… The following fields are new in WP 5.8:
- Imaginary version
- File formats supported by ImageMagick
When WebP is not listed as a supported file format, the site owner will need to contact their hosting provider.
WordPress can convert images to WebP
WordPress 5.8 currently cannot convert images to WebP. However, there are many popular WordPress plugins that can convert images to the new format, thereby significantly speeding up the website.
The announcement noted that there are plans for future support for WebP image conversions at the time of upload.
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This means that in the future a publisher may be able to upload a JPG image and choose to convert it to WebP.
Screenshot of the WordPress WebP conversion user interface (UI)
WordPress.org described the project:
“The media component team is also exploring the possibility of WordPress doing image format conversion on uploaded images, using WebP as the default output format for undersized images. “
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Screenshot of the proposed user interface for converting image format to WebP
Support for WordPress 5.8 WebP
This announcement is important because it shows that WordPress.org continues to focus on helping publishers achieve their website goals quickly.
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WebP support is an important step for WordPress that will help publishers achieve higher Google Page Experience scores.
It is these types of improvements that keep WordPress at the forefront of content management systems.
Official announcement from WordPress.org
WordPress 5.8 adds WebP support
WordPress WebP Image Conversion GitHub page
Modern WordPress images
Technical explanation of Google Developer WebP
A new image format for the web
Finally, WordPress supports the WebP format, which is essential today to lighten the weight of pages, and therefore to maximize the speed of their display on the browsers of our computers as well as on our smartphones and other touch pads. This is a criterion of great importance today, both for the referencing of sites in the Google search engine, and for the convenience of the experience of the Internet users to whom the site is addressed. But to make a site even more efficient, it is equally important to be able to host your wordpress site on a dedicated server that you will then be the only one to administer. Having full freedom of action on your site is a guarantee that it will be exactly as you imagined. Also with hosting on a dedicated server, you will have control of the server and can configure it your way, to make the most of it. Again, the end users, i.e. Internet users, will be the real beneficiaries, and you have to think especially of them when developing your WordPress site. Already this CMS is very easy to learn and an inexperienced developer can even use the WordPress foundation to develop a site that doesn’t look like all those blogs or informational sites we’ve seen everywhere on the web for ten years. Whether it is to sell products or services, or to promote artists or professionals in the entertainment world, everything is possible on the basis of these technologies, which have the particularity of having been developed over the years, together with the rest of the web. Proof of this today is the ability to post WebP images on a WordPress site!