What Is the WebP Format and How to Avoid It.
If you have tried to save any images from the web, you may have noticed an unfamiliar image format called WebP. This image file format is intended to replace other formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF files, but has not been widely used yet.
If you are uploading data in WebP image format, you may find it difficult to open it. Luckily, there are many image converters that you can use to convert your image to a more usable format.
What Is WebP?
WebP was first announced in 2010 but wasn’t released until April 2018. While it can be difficult to interact with, the WebP format has its advantages. First of all, it supports both lossy and lossless image compression. In other words, the data can be compressed to a much smaller size but still perfectly reconstructed, or even more compressed at the expense of some reduction in image quality.
The main advantage of WebP is that it can produce files with the same image quality as many popular formats, but with a smaller file size. It’s not just about images, though: WebP can also be used for animation files, as well as ICC profiles, XMP and Exif metadata, and more. WebP also supports transparency, also known as alpha channel.
What browsers support WebP?
Google Chrome has native WebP support for lossy, lossless and animation formats if you’re on the latest versions. Firefox, Opera and Microsoft Edge also support all of these formats.
Pale Moon, a popular open source browser derived from Mozilla, and the Google Chrome browser for Android support both lossy and lossless WebP formats.
If you’re still using Internet Explorer – a bad idea due to lack of support – you’re out of luck. The browser does not support WebP.
Some people still mistakenly believe that Safari does not support WebP, but Apple added support for this format in Safari 14 for Mac and iOS devices.
How Does WebP Work?
Image compression has been a common part of the web for many years, but different methods have different approaches. WebP is one of the most advanced ways to reduce the size of an image without reducing its quality.
How this works depends on the type of compression. Lossy WebP compression uses a tool called predictive coding that looks at pixel values to predict the values around them. It encodes the difference in those values. While this is effective in reducing the file size, it also reduces the quality of the image.
Lossless WebP compression is slightly less efficient at reducing image size, but maintains the same level of quality. It identifies image fragments to restore new pixels, or uses matching color palettes if an image fragment is not found.
Depending on the use case, WebP can result in file sizes that are three times smaller than PNG.
What Are the Benefits of Using WebP?
WebP caught on and became popular for several good reasons, the first of which is its superior compression ratio. In other words, WebP images take up less bandwidth than other types of files, such as JPGs; however, WebP images are delivered only if the browser supports them, while JPEG images or equivalent are delivered if the browser does not support them.
Smaller image sizes speed up web page loading times, especially on computers that have a hard time loading high-quality images. If you are looking to optimize your website as much as possible, the WebP file is one of the best tools available to you.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using WebP?
The number one hurdle for WebP is interoperability. While most major browsers support WebP image files, not all do. Thankfully, WebP is no longer limited to the operating system and is available for both Linux and macOS.
Another disadvantage is that there is some loss in image quality when using a lossy format. The file size becomes much smaller, but due to the way the compression algorithm works, there is some quality drop that cannot be avoided.
The final hurdle is the compatibility of the WebP transition with content management systems such as WordPress. If you want to put an online image in your media library, you may find that WordPress does not accept this file type. According to WordPress, version 5.8 of the software supports WebP in the same way as PNG files and JPEG files, but if you haven’t updated your website, this can be a problem.
How to Save a WebP Image as a Different Format
The traditional way of saving images doesn’t always work with WebP, at least if you lack the right tools. When you choose Save As, you may find that you don’t have any other aspect ratio options.
The quick fix is to install a conversion plugin. Plugins like this will let you convert a WebP to something like a PNG image right in your browser before you save it. One option is “Save Image as Type” in the Chrome Store.
If you’re on Windows, you can use Microsoft Paint to open the downloaded WebP file and convert it to another format without downloading additional software.
Use a different browser
If you load a WebP image in a browser that does not support this format, a different type of file will be loaded instead. From here, you can save the image as usual as a JPG or PNG file.
WebP can be annoying, especially if you’re saving a lot of images from the web, but it can also be a boon for web hosts everywhere. Don’t lose your cool if you encounter this; in just a few steps you can get around the biggest problems with it.
What Is the WebP Format and How to Avoid It
What Is the WebP Format and How to Avoid It