How to Optimize Images for the Web and get Better Performance

o help you out in this regard, we've put together this guide on how to optimize your images for the web

Editorial Team 29 September 2022


Optimizing images for the web is important, but it's also a complex subject. There are myriad ways you can optimize your website's images: by making sure they're sized perfectly to their content, using right image formats and compression algorithms, and reducing HTTP requests by implementing responsive design techniques or server-side device detection. To help you out in this regard, we've put together this guide on how to optimize your images for the web.

Make sure your images are sized exactly as needed.

Your site should not be using images larger than they need to be. If you want to make sure that your users are getting the best performance, you need to make sure that the images on your site are sized exactly as needed and not too large or too small.

You can do this by making sure that all of the images on a page are optimized correctly and by not including unnecessary images. This will keep from slowing down pages when loading them in a browser.

Consider using vector graphics rather than bitmap graphics.

If you want to optimize your images for the web, you'll need to consider using vector graphics rather than bitmap graphics. Both types of images use pixels (tiny dots) to display an image in a browser, but there are important differences between them.

Bitmap files are static and vector files are dynamic:

Bitmap graphic files contain information about each individual pixel in an image. This means they can't be scaled up or down without losing quality. Vector graphic files store shapes and lines that describe the image—they don't contain any actual pixel information. As a result, vector graphics can be resized without loss of quality and also allow you more flexibility when editing your images because you can change their dimensions without affecting their appearance or changing color values within them.

Vector graphics tend to be easier than bitmaps because they aren't as complex: If you're designing something like an infographic with lots of text overlaid onto visuals (like charts), creating those visuals in a vector format will make it easier for readers who might need larger print sizes than others due to visual impairments (like blindness). Additionally, if it's necessary for users with slower internet connections or devices without powerful processors such as tablets or smartphones then this makes sense too since less processing power is required compared with bitmaps which require both memory storage space plus CPU power demands during rendering time."

Use the right image format.

The first thing you need to do is decide which format you're going to use. If you're using your images for photos, JPEG is probably the right choice. It's lossy, so it will keep file sizes down without sacrificing too much quality—perfect for photos that don't require high-res detail or pixel-perfect accuracy.

However, if you're working with graphics (like logos), then PNG is better suited since it has no loss of quality and supports transparency well—it's what we recommend using if possible.

Your site should not be using images larger than they need to be

Optimize your images.

You can optimize your images in a couple of ways. Use the right tool for the job:

  • Use an app like Photoshop or Affinity Photo to edit and optimize raw files.
  • Use a plugin such as ImageOptim (Mac) or TinyPNG (Windows) to compress JPEGs and PNGs. These tools are great for batch optimization, but they don't work on every photo format (e.g., TIFFs).
  • Try an online service such as TinyJPG, which will analyze each image and compress it based on its content—you don't need to upload the original file!
  • Optimize initial HTTP requests by implementing Adaptive Images and Client Hints.

    If a browser requests an image that is smaller than the actual size of the image, the browser can send a request header containing the width and height of the image. This reduces data sent over the network, which improves performance.

    To implement Adaptive Images in your site, use on your site's HTML element and set up breakpoints in your CSS framework or media queries so that images adjust to their corresponding viewport size.

    Responsive design and server-side device detection.

    Responsive design is a web design approach that aims to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices. The practice consists of a combination of flexible grids, liquid layouts, and CSS media queries.

    Responsive images are an extension of responsive design principles. Instead of designing for one particular screen size (the most common method) or multiple screen sizes at once (the “CSS grid” method), we can design for any possible device by serving up different image files depending on the device's viewport characteristics.

    Automatically optimize images via a CDN Image Service or an image optimization tool

    An alternative to manually optimizing images is to use a CDN image service or an image optimization tool that does the work for you.

    • Most CDN services, like Stackpath and Fastly's Content Delivery Network (CDN), have built-in image optimization functionality. You simply upload your original high-resolution images to their servers, and they will automatically generate smaller versions of those same images at different resolutions in various formats (jpeg, png etc.). These smaller assets can then be delivered by the CDN provider directly through a URL which means that visitors won't have to wait for them to download before displaying them on their site. The main benefit is that visitors don't need to wait for large files before they see anything on their page because everything has already been optimized by CDNs — making pages load faster overall!
    • Image optimization tools are an alternative way of automatically reducing file size while maintaining image quality. They don't require any extra storage space since all processing happens locally on each device where users access content from these websites without requiring any additional downloads from external sources like CDNs do when using cloud storage providers instead."


    We hope this article has given you some insight on how to optimize images for the web and get better performance. The key takeaway is that there's no single solution that works for every website—but, by using a combination of techniques, you can ensure your images are as optimized as possible.

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