Images on the web come in numerous formats, for example JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs, and more. Actually, there are so many acronyms that keeping track of them can be difficult – never mind figuring out which is the best image to use on your website. This guide will explore the benefits of JPFG vs PNG vs GIF.
It is important to put some idea into this matter, however, as the formats you use for your website’s images have an impact. Some types of graphics look better and do not occupy as much storage space, for instance, which translates to better performance without losing quality.
In this article, we will talk about what types of images must be used on a website. Then we will break down your options, and help you choose the best image format for your website.
Let’s take a look!
Why the Image Formats You Use Important
As we have mentioned, there are plenty of image formats to choose from. However, when it comes to the web, the majority people stick to a handful of standbys, including JPEGs, PNGs & GIFs.
We will talk about what makes each of these image types different in a moment. For now, let’s break down why the format you use on your website is important in a general sense.
The types of images you use have an effect on your sites:
- Performance – Some image formats take up extra space than others, which can affect the loading times of your site.
- Appearance – As you can imagine, some image formats contain more detail and are higher-quality than others.
- Scalability – If stretch or shrink an image too much, its quality will suffer. How much freedom you have depends on the image format you use.
This affects your site’s ability to look excellent on both large & small screens.
In most cases, you will want to stick to using one or two image formats all through your website, in order to maintain a consistent standard. The formats you select should perfectly provide a good balance between quality and performance.
3 Primary Image Formats Used On the Website: JPEG Vs PNG Vs GIF
As we mentioned previously, there are some image formats that are more widely used online than others. The three options we are going to introduce below are some of the most popular and helpful formats, which makes them great picks for almost any website.
The term JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and it was invented in 1986. The main advantages of this format are that it can show millions of colors, and it’s mainly compatible to high compression levels.
In general, JPEG is a brilliant option for displaying complex photographs that include lots of colors. Although JPEGs delay well when compressed, you can usually notice a small drop in quality after optimizing images. However, all of this depends on the level of compression that’s selected for the image. The quality drops are not often obvious unless you look very closely.
JPEGS, On the other hand, are not perfect for images with very few color data, such as interface screenshots and the other simple computer-generated graphics.
We will cover this more when talking PNGs in the next section…
Portable Network Graphics (PNGs) are popular known as JPEGs on websites. They additionally support millions of colors, though it is much better of using PNGs for images that contain less color data. Otherwise, you image will be ‘heavier’ than the same image saved as a JPEG.
PNGs do an excellent job if you have an image with rapid transitions between colors that require remaining sharp. For instance, when you are taking a screenshot of a user interface where various interface elements strongly transitions among dark and light backgrounds, it is much better to use PNGs. Like this section here – the transitions between the white, gray & blue.
Saving an image as JPEG may result in blurry edges and distorted presentation. Another advantage of PNGs is that they support transparency. This makes them a incredible option for logos & icons in particular.
Overall, compressed PNGs are also better when it comes quality maintenance – because of the lossless compression algorithm used with PNGs vs the lossy algorithm that’s popularly known as JPEGs.
Unlike the two formats we have talked about so far, Graphics Interchange Format (GIFs) has very specific use cases. Although you can have a static GIF image, the majority people use this format to showcase animations, such as this one.
JPEGs and PNGs generally do not support animation (although there is a format called Animated Portable Network Graphics – APNGs). That makes GIFs very useful. However, as you can imagine, these types of images weigh a lot, because of the many frames they contain. You can optimize GIF files, although in most cases, the results won’t be practically with other image formats. That means you should intend to use GIFs carefully throughout your website, only when you need to showcase an animation you cannot create any other way (for example with CSS).
In addition, GIFs only support up to 256 colors, also as transparency. That makes them a poor selection for displaying complex images. To make that point even clearer, here is the same graphic we showed you in the last two sections, only now as a non-animated GIF.
Not only does it look very bad, however it weights a hefty 825 KB. This is why using standard image GIFs for a statics image is generally not advisable.
How to Select the Best Image to Use on Your Website
On most sites, JPEGs or PNGs make an outstanding choice for the size of your images (although it’s best to attach to one another because of consistency). As for GIFs, you will want to preserve those for situations when you need to show animations.
Specifically, JPEGs can facilitate you to compress more performance out of your web pages, because of their high compression ratio, however only if you’re using them for color-heavy images – like all photographs, basically. If you want your site to load as quickly as possible, and you don’t mind sacrificing image quality, JPEG is the best image for your needs.
However, if you are very concerned with making sure all your images look as good as they can, we’d recommend that you go with PNGs instead. This image format retains its high-class even when compressed, and works for equally complex and simple images.
You have numerous options when it comes to what types of images you can use on your website. In an ideal world, you will choose any formats enable you to display premium images without slowing down your site significantly. If you are a WordPess user, you will be happy to know that WordPress supports all the most admired image formats out of the box.
When deciding which is the best image format for your needs, here are some important things to keep in mind about JPEG vs PNG vs GIF:
- JPEG – This is an perfect image format for every types of photographs.
- PNG – This format is ideal for screenshots and other types of imagery where there is not many color data.
- GIF – If you want to show off your animated graphics on your site, this is the most excellent image format for you.
If you found this post useful or have any questions let us know in the comments. I would also love to know what image file types are you using on your website? At “Star Web Maker” we mainly use JPG, PNG and SVG.