WebP is a relatively new image format from Google that creates smaller file sizes for images than other file types (like .jpeg and .png) while still retaining high quality – that’s the theory at least!
If unfamiliar with the details of WebP, you can read more about it here:
Bear in mind that WordPress does NOT currently support WebP images so you CANNOT just upload it into your blog’s Media Library like .jpeg or .png files.
So other workarounds are required and while WP plugins do partly get around this problem, you still require a conversion option for those browsers – even though the number is getting smaller – that do not support WebP images either:
Even when you run a free plugin for WebP integration on a blog, an extra step is required for the conversion process e.g. from the WebP Express plugin settings page:
Welcome! Unfortunately your server cannot convert webp files in PHP without resorting to cloud conversion.
But do not despair! – You have options!
– You can install this plugin on another website, which supports a “local” webp conversion method and connect to that using the “Remote WebP Express” conversion method
– You can purchase a key for the ewww cloud converter. They do not charge credits for webp conversions, so all you ever have to pay is the one dollar start-up fee 🙂
– You can set up a webp-convert-cloud-service on another server and connect to that. Its open source.
– You can try to meet the server requirements of cwebp, imagick, vips, gmagick or gd.
Quite a bit of mucking around isn’t it?
Converting a ton of images (.webp to .jpeg for unsupported browsers) from a lot of websites adds a huge workload to any host’s servers, on top of normal Web operations – this is the primary reason why we are not yet supporting WebP, until WordPress itself fully supports it.
In fact, WPX can support WebP and we are running it for a small number of WPX customers BUT it requires extra steps and more $ as the image conversion is handled remotely and not on WPX servers e.g. https://wordpress.org/plugins/shortpixel-image-optimiser/
ShortPixel comes with 100 free credits/month and additional credits can be bought for $4.99 for 5,000 image credits.
Once WordPress supports WebP, all of these extra steps will be unnecessary and you can then just treat them like normal (supported) image files on your WP sites.