How to Serve Images in Next-Gen Formats on WordPress

by Montel Anthony
Published: Updated:

Image formats have taken a huge leap forward with Next-Gen image formats such as WebP, JPEG 2000, and JPEG XR. The ripple effects of this advancement are not only decorative but also functional especially when it comes to improving website performance (Source). This article sheds light on the intricate topic of “how to serve images in next-gen formats on WordPress”, discussing its importance, benefits, and providing step-by-step guidance.

Understanding the Need for Images in Next-Gen Formats

Images play a key role in enhancing your website’s visual appeal. However, traditionally formatted images can slow down your site speed significantly – negatively impacting both user experience and SEO rankings(source) . Enter “Next-Gen” image formats: These modern alternatives promise high quality at lower file sizes leading to swifter page load times which spells better user engagement & improved SEO performance.

Preparing Your WordPress Site for Next-Gen Image Formats: Basic Steps

Before diving into the conversion and serving process, it’s crucial to ensure your WordPress site is ready for this transformation.

Regular Updates: Keeping your Wordpress version and associated themes/plugins up-to-date can prevent unforeseen compatibility issues(source). Slacking off on updates might cause problems with next-gen image integration. Thus, make updating a regular limb of site maintenance.

Traditional Format Images: Avoid use of old or conventional format images as much as you can -stick to JPEGs and PNG as opposed to BMPs or TIFF (source).

How to Convert Existing Images into Next Gen Format

Converting existing images on your WordPress website seems like a daunting task but thankfully there are numerous tools available at our disposal:

Online converters such as Squoosh: Simply upload your traditional format image > choose ‘WebP’ in the dropdown menu present on the right-hand side panel > adjust quality settings if needed > compress and then download (source).

Photoshop: Open your file in Photoshop> Click ‘save for web’> opt WebP from the drop-down format options list> Choose encoding options & Save (Source)

How to Serve Images in Next-Gen Formats on WordPress

After converting your images to next-gen formats, the subsequent step is serving these enhanced images via WordPress. A multitude of plugins are available that help you in this process (increase functionality). Nonetheless, two of the most noteworthy ones include:

ShortPixel Plugin: This plugin not only compresses and optimizes image files but also offers WebP format versions for free (source). Here’s a brief guide:

ShortPixel / How to Serve Images in Next-Gen Formats on WordPress
  1. Install it by navigating to Plugins > Add New and then search for “ShortPixel”.
  2. Activate the plugin then visit settings where you will need an API key which can be obtained with a free sign up.

3.Use its optimization features by simply accessing ‘Media > Bulk ShortPixel’. Post-installation, new uploads are automatically optimized.

Smush Plugin: Smush efficiently optimizes existing pictures and auto-optimizes new uploaded pictures. It converts JPEGs & PNGs into WebP versions.

  • Steps:
    Go to Plugins>add new
    Search ‘Smush’
    Click ‘Install now,’ followed by ‘activate’

Challenges You Might Face Along the Way + Solutions

While Next-Gen format implementation broadly benefits performance metrics; however, treading through unfamiliar territory often encounters few challenges such as:

Compatibility issues across different web browsers and platforms: Not every browser supports all types of next-gen formats e.g., Safari doesn’t support WebP (source). Solution? Use multiple formats! Thankfully many conversion tools like Squoosh offer outputs in multiple Next-Gen formats at once.

Difficulties converting massive legacy libraries: Converting a large number of existing images can be tedious. WordPress plugins like Smush and ShortPixel provide bulk image conversion, thereby cutting down your hassle significantly.

Results you Can Expect after Serving Images in Next-Gen Formats

Switching to next-gen formats can yield substantial results in terms of website performance. Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Improved Load Times: Website load time is closely related to bounce rates. Faster websites lead to lower bounce rates (source). Optimized images in Next-Gen formats (WebP, JPEG 2000) load faster and thus improve website speed dramatically.
  • Boosted SEO Rankings: Google has made it clear that site speed is a ranking factor (source). By serving your WordPress site’s images in Next-generation formats and improving your site speed, you’re also likely boosting its position on Search Engine Results Pages.


Serving images in next-gen formats contributes significantly towards enhancing your WordPress web performance metrics including loading times & resultant SEO rankings. With a mix of diligent preparation, smart plug-in assistance & addressing associated challenges– transitioning from traditional image formatting alternatives to modern day ones turns into an achievable task.

By now we hope that our comprehensive guide gives the knowledge inventory required for ‘how to serve images in next_gen_formats_on_wordpress’. Remember, while these are general best practices suitable for most sites, each WordPress site has unique needs so figuring out what works best may require a bit of testing and tweaking!

Interested more handy tips like this? Subscribe below for more content updates! We’d love feedback – drop us any comments or queries regarding upgrading Wordpress with Next Gen Image Formats!

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