WebP: Definition, Basics & Popular Image Conversion Tools




Updated 2/3/2024

This guide covers what you need to know about WebP, an image file format by Google. Learn the pros and cons and find top tools for web images.

webp format cover - file with plants

Image file formats come in many types, each offering different pros and cons. WebP is a format that has many benefits for online images. This guide covers what you need to know and provides further resources for working with WebP files.

What is WebP?

WebP is an image file format developed by Google that provides high-quality lossless and lossy compression for images on the web.

It offers great images at small file sizes, making it a strong choice for online images compared to other image types like JPG, PNG, and GIF.

WebP Pros and Cons

WebP is an excellent image format, but it has a balance of benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the top considerations:


  1. Smaller File Size: WebP images are significantly smaller than equivalent JPG or PNG files, which means faster load times and reduced bandwidth usage. This particularly benefits mobile users, slower internet connections.
  2. Good Quality at Lower File Sizes: WebP maintains image quality even at lower file sizes, a significant advantage over JPEG and PNG.
  3. Transparency Support: Like PNG, WebP supports transparency, but with smaller file sizes, making it a good choice for icons and graphics.
  4. Animation Support: WebP can be used for animations, offering an alternative to the older GIF format with better quality and smaller file sizes.
  5. Lossless and Lossy Compression: WebP supports both lossless and lossy compression, allowing flexibility depending on the quality and file size requirements.
  6. Color Profile and Metadata Support: WebP can store color profiles, metadata like EXIF, and other important image data, which is key for certain web applications.
  7. Reduced Page Load Time: Smaller image sizes contribute to faster page load times, improving user experience and boosting positive SEO signals.


  1. Software Compatibility: Not all sites and software support WebP. For example, Google Docs doesn’t know what to do with a WebP image, so you need to use other options.
  2. Conversion Requirement: Existing JPEG or PNG images must be converted to WebP, which can be time-consuming, especially for large image libraries.
  3. Variable Support for Features: While WebP supports animation, the feature set isn’t as extensive as in formats dedicated to animation like GIF or newer formats like AVIF.

WebP Tools

There are many solutions for working with WebP files. These options can help you convert your images or otherwise manage them for the web.

  • Command Line Tools: You can install utility tools for the command line to batch convert multiple files and perform related tasks. This might sound intimidating, but it’s a great option if you need to convert many images.
  • Squoosh: An image compression tool built by Google’s Chrome team. Great tool for common conversions.
  • CloudConvert: An online that lets you upload and convert files. Capable of doing batch conversions, but the free plan offers limited functionality.
  • Photoshop: Supports WebP files, though it’s a bit tricky to figure out. Capable of batch editing images if you record macros.
  • Performance Lab: A WordPress plugin that will automatically convert JPGs to WebP when uploaded.

Bottom Line

WebP represents a significant step forward in the field of web image optimization. Its adoption can lead to faster web pages and a better user experience, especially on mobile devices with slower internet connections. ?


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