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The WordPress team revised their WebP plan for 6.1

WordPress 5.8 additional support for WebP in 2021, allowing users to upload and use the images in their content using plugins. A new plan on whether to include WebP directly in WordPress 6.1 has just been revealed based on the company assessment results.

Added default WebP on WordPress 6.1

WebP is an image file format developed by Google that offers high quality images that take up less space than JPEG or PNG. It compresses images better, reducing the size of image files; resulting in better performance. A year ago, WordPress 5.8 introduced WebP support, allowing users to upload and use WebP images in their content with plugins.

In March 2022, the WordPress Performance Team started discussing integrating WebP by default into WordPress core. However, after a month of investigation, WordPress put it on hold due to concerns WebP received from its community.

Details of the reassessment and summary of findings were shared by Performance team contributor Adam Silverstein on a Blog. Research shows that over 97% of web browsers are compatible, as are over 97% of email clients. For the assessment of the overall storage impact on hosting when WebP image generation is enabled, the team surveyed hosting providers.

86% will not be affected at all

17 responses were received and indicated that 86% of users would not be affected by a doubling of their storage needs, which is caused by the need to keep both JPG/PNG and WebP files for backward compatibility. Based on these resultsa new proposal has been published to address concerns and updated in the base fix to reflect revisions. You can see the changes in the proposal below:

  • Automatic generation of WebP versions of only base image sizes in 6.1 by default. Custom image sizes will initially need to opt-in to receive auto-generated WebP builds, or opt-out if exclusively used for special cases where WebP is not beneficial or supported.
  • Preserve secondary subsizes (WebP) only if they are smaller than the main MIME type.
  • Only generate WebP images for image sizes intended for use in user-facing front-end content. This avoids wasting storage space on WebP images that will never be used.
  • Presentation of a filtered to control the generation of additional MIME types based on image subsizes. This allows developers to exclude certain image sizes, such as those not used in front-end content.

Now, WordPress’ current plan is to merge the change at the start of the 6.1 release cycle so it can be thoroughly tested. Additional comments regarding this revised approach can be left on this post or on the Trac ticket.

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