WordPress 5.8 Introduces Support for WebP Images

WebP support is coming to WordPress 5.8. This modern image file format was created by Google in September 2010, and is now supported by 95% of the web browsers in use worldwide. It has distinct advantages over more commonly used formats, providing both lossless and lossy compression that is 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images.

WebP is currently used by 1.6% of all the top 10 million websites, according to W3Techs, and usage has increased over the past five years.

W3Techs: Historical yearly trends in the usage statistics of image file formats for websites

Adding WebP support to core won’t make all WordPress sites instantly faster, but it will give every site owner the opportunity to reduce bandwidth by uploading WebP images. In the dev note, Adam Silverstein suggested converting images to WebP using command line conversion tools or web based tools like Squoosh, but there are also many plugins that can perform conversion on upload.

WebP Express uses the WebP Convert library to convert the images and then serves them to supporting browsers. It is used on more than 100,000 WordPress sites. Imagify is one of the most popular plugins in use with more than 500,000 active installs. It has a Bulk Optimizer tool that can convert previously uploaded images with one click. The EWWW Image Optimizer plugin, used on more than 800,000 websites, also has support for automatically converting images to the WebP format.

By default, WordPress will create the sub-sized images as the same image format as the uploaded file. More adventurous users can experiment with Silverstein’s plugin that offers a setting for specifying the default image format used for the sub-sized images WordPress generates. A new wp_editor_set_quality filter is available for developers to modify the quality setting for uploaded images.

“The media component team is also exploring the option of having WordPress perform the image format conversion on uploaded images – using WebP as the default output format for sub-sized images,” Silverstein said. “We are also keeping our eyes on even more modern formats like AVIF and JPEGXL that will both improve compression and further reduce resources required for compression.”

WordPress 5.8 is expected to be released on July 20, introducing WebP support for uploads. The new release also adds information to the Media Handling section of the Site Health screen, showing the ImageMagick/Imagick supported file formats for the site in case users need it for debugging.

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11 responses to “WordPress 5.8 Introduces Support for WebP Images”

  1. Gtarafdar says:

    It’s an essential addon to WordPress core. Unfortunately, SVG support still not available ☹️

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  2. Now can we get support for the .jfif variation of JPEGs? For some reason many images I’ve been getting off of my browser to use has this extension, but WordPress won’t recognize.

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  3. Really looking forward to this!
    I’m truly impressed by the last couple of major updates – woop woop!

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  4. Alain Aubry says:

    WebP is also an option when using the LiteSpeed Cache plugin, in fact I am using them since a long time. Fully automatic.

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  5. Clarence Johnson says:

    I’m excited for this image support.

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  6. AlexM says:

    Does this also add a jpeg fallback to uploaded webp images (as picture element)?

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    • Yes. WebP will be loaded only on those browsers which support it. An incompatible browser will show original version (PNG or JPEG).

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    • Isabel says:

      No, it looks like this will not be the case, according to the dev note (linked to in the article). If you upload a WebP, it will show WebP image without a fallback to JPEG or PNG. There is a discussion about considering adding a possible fallback solution for unsupported browsers (the picture element), but that’s not guaranteed. But there may be plugins that can help you provide a fallback.

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  7. Lera says:

    Yeah, waiting for WordPress 5.8

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  8. Niall Flynn says:

    Hopefully SVG next. This is handy for folks whose hosting does not already do this. Most hosts SiteGround etc have been doing this for years.

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  9. sur says:

    Now Adobe’s turn, so we could actually design using webp. Or maybe Adobe will bring us .avif first, a better option in all the studies that I’ve seen.

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