How to Serve Images in Next Gen Formats in Best Way - eCommerce Thesis

How to Serve Images in Next Gen Formats in Best Way

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, website performance plays a crucial role in user experience and search engine optimization. One effective strategy for improving website speed and performance is to serve next-gen image formats. In the world of web development, images play a crucial role in creating visually appealing and engaging websites. Traditionally, formats like JPEG, PNG, and GIF have dominated the web, balancing quality and file size. However, as technology advances, so do the requirements for faster loading times and better image quality. Enter next-gen image formats, such as WebP and AVIF, which promise to revolutionize how we use images online by offering superior compression and quality characteristics compared to their predecessors.

What are Next-Gen Image Formats?

Next-gen image formats like WebP and AVIF are the latest advancements in web imagery, designed to significantly improve web performance and the user experience. Unlike traditional formats, WebP and AVIF offer remarkable compression algorithms, reducing file sizes without compromising on image quality.


Developed by Google, WebP is notable for its ability to provide high-quality images at considerably smaller file sizes than JPEG and PNG. It supports transparency like PNG and animation like GIF, making it a versatile choice for web developers.


The newer kid on the block, AVIF, stands for AV1 Image File Format. It’s based on the AV1 video codec and offers even greater compression efficiency than WebP. Its adoption is growing as it promises to push the boundaries of image quality and compression further.

By adopting these formats, websites can enjoy faster loading times, an essential factor for SEO and user experience, without sacrificing visual quality.

Benefits of Using Next-Gen Image Formats

Adopting next-gen image formats like WebP and AVIF brings a multitude of benefits to your website, directly impacting your site’s performance, search engine optimization (SEO), and the overall user experience.

Improved Website Loading Times

The smaller file sizes of next-gen formats mean your images load faster, reducing the overall page loading times. This is crucial for keeping users engaged, as longer loading times can lead to increased bounce rates.

Enhanced Visual Quality

Next-gen formats utilize advanced compression algorithms, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds: high-quality images at reduced file sizes. This means you no longer have to compromise on visual quality for speed.

Positive Impact on SEO and User Experience

Faster loading times and improved visual quality not only enhance user satisfaction but also positively affect your website’s SEO. Search engines favor websites that provide a good user experience, and quick-loading, high-quality images are a key factor.

How to Implement Next-Gen Image Formats on Your Website

Switching to next-gen image formats involves converting your existing images and ensuring your website serves these formats efficiently. Here’s how to get started:

Converting Existing Images

  • Tools and Online Converters: Utilize tools like Squoosh or CloudConvert for easy conversion of your images to WebP or AVIF formats. These tools offer a user-friendly interface and options for batch processing.
  • Image Editing Software: Software like Adobe Photoshop now supports exporting images in WebP format. For AVIF, plugins or external tools may be required, as support is still growing.

Serving Next-Gen Images in HTML

The <picture> element in HTML5 allows you to specify multiple sources for an image, enabling the browser to pick the most appropriate format based on support and screen size.


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Automating the Process

  • CMS Plugins: WordPress, Shopify, and other CMS platforms offer plugins that automatically convert and serve images in next-gen formats.
  • Server-Side Solutions: Web servers can be configured to automatically serve WebP or AVIF images to browsers that support these formats, using tools like mod rewrite for Apache.

Best Practices for Using Next-Gen Image Formats

To maximize the benefits of next-gen formats, follow these best practices:

  • Ensure Browser Compatibility: While support for WebP is widespread, AVIF is newer and not yet supported by all browsers. Use the <picture> element to provide fallback options.
  • Balance Quality and File Size: Use the compression settings to find the right balance between image quality and file size. Remember, the goal is to enhance site speed without compromising visual integrity.
  • Stay Updated: Image format technology is continuously evolving. Keep an eye on developments and be ready to adopt newer formats as they become supported.

FAQs on Serving Images in Next-Gen Formats

Q1: What are next-gen image formats?

A1: Next-gen image formats, like WebP and AVIF, are modern image file types designed for the web. They offer better compression than traditional formats (like JPEG and PNG), leading to smaller file sizes without sacrificing image quality. This results in faster loading times and improved performance for websites.

Q2: Why should I use next-gen image formats?

A2: Using next-gen image formats can significantly improve your website’s loading speed, enhance image quality, and contribute positively to your site’s SEO. Faster websites offer better user experiences, potentially increasing your site’s engagement rates and conversions.

Q3: How do I convert my images to next-gen formats?

A3: You can convert images to next-gen formats using various online tools and software. Popular options include Squoosh, CloudConvert, and image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, which supports WebP. Some content management systems (CMS) and web development tools also offer automatic conversion features.

Q4: Are next-gen formats supported by all web browsers?

A4: While WebP has broad support across major browsers, AVIF is newer and has more limited support. It’s important to provide fallbacks using the <picture> element in your HTML to ensure compatibility with all browsers.

Q5: How do I serve next-gen images on my website?

A5: Use the <picture> element in HTML to specify multiple source images in different formats. The browser will then select and display the most appropriate format based on its capabilities. This method ensures that your website is compatible with a range of browsers and devices.

Next-gen image formats like WebP and AVIF represent the future of web imagery, offering unprecedented benefits in terms of loading speed, image quality, and overall web performance. By understanding these formats and implementing them correctly, you can significantly improve your website’s user experience and SEO. The journey towards faster, more efficient web pages is ongoing, and embracing next-gen image formats is a step in the right direction.