JPEG, PNG, RAW, WebP: Which is the Best Image Format for the Web?

In a world where images are everywhere, it’s essential to know which is the best image format for the web and to showcase your product photos online. There are many image formats to choose from, and you can quickly get lost. That’s why in this article we offer you an overview of the most common image formats, with their advantages and disadvantages, and discover which image format is best suited to the web and your e-commerce site.

The best image format for the web: an overview of the most common image formats

The Raw image format: a special case

RAW is widely used in professional photography. If you’re a photographer, you’re bound to be familiar with this format.


raw image format
credit Derrick Story


The RAW format is the “raw” format in which the photograph is taken, so it retains all the image data captured by your camera’s sensor, without any compression. In other words, it contains all the information needed to produce a high-quality image, including white balance, exposure and saturation.

You may be wondering why we don’t use the RAW format directly on the web, if it offers the best possible quality? There are in fact two reasons why it can’t be used on the web:

  • The first is file size: since the raw format retains all image data, it produces much larger files than conventional JPEG or PNG formats.
  • The second reason has to do with compatibility: web browsers simply don’t have the capacity to read RAW files. Worse still, the RAW format is simply unusable on any medium, intended only for editing in software before conversion to another format (usually JPEG).

For these reasons, you’ll need to convert your RAW files to another format to be able to use your product photos (or any other photos) on the web.

JPEG (or JPG): the most widely used image format on the Web


JPEG image format
credit, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The JPEG image format is one of the most commonly used formats for publishing photos on the web. It was created specifically for photos and offers high data compression, making it a preferred choice for those looking to optimize file size for online use.

One of JPEG’s advantages is its ability to compress images while maintaining decent image quality. This compression means that files are smaller, making them easier to store and transfer from the web, which in turn makes your web pages much faster to load. What’s more, the JPEG format supports a wide range of image quality options, allowing you to adjust quality to suit your project needs.


JPEG compression Example
An example of the different degrees of compression possible with the JPG format. Credit: JJ Harrison, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


However, there are also disadvantages associated with using JPEG on the web… First of all, compression can affect image quality by making it blurred, grainy or pixelated, if it’s applied too heavily: it’s up to you to carefully control the degree of compression you use. Another potential problem is that JPEG files do not support transparency, which limits their use in projects requiring transparent image areas. If this is your case, you’ll have to turn to the PNG format, next on our list.

The JPEG format is thus a solid choice for your product photos for web use because of its high compression capacity and the decent image quality it can maintain, provided you’re not too heavy-handed about compression, and don’t need transparency.

PNG: the ideal image format for transparency

The PNG (Portable Network Graphics) image format is ideal for web use. The use of png for web images is widespread, and for good reason: its many advantages make it the format of choice:

  • PNG’s main advantage is its image quality: it uses lossless compression technology, i.e. the image doesn’t lose quality when compressed, unlike formats that use lossy compression, such as JPEG. Thanks to this technology, PNG images are sharper, more precise and clearer.
  • With PNG, you can also choose which parts of the image are transparent, which is not possible with other image formats.

However, PNG files are larger than JPEG files. So don’t overuse them, as they can slow down the loading time of your web pages. We advise you to use it only if you need to preserve the transparency of an image.

WebP: a new, even more optimized image format

The WebP image format is an alternative to other image formats commonly used on the web, such as JPEG and PNG. It’s designed to deliver high-quality images at a smaller file size, making it a great option for your e-commerce site.

WebP enables fast loading of web pages by reducing image loading times. It compresses images more efficiently than JPEG or PNG, so files are smaller without compromising image quality.

WebP is also increasingly supported by popular web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Opera. WebP images can therefore be displayed correctly on these browsers without the need for plug-ins or additional software.

However, as you may have guessed, support for WebP is not yet universal. Users of less common or older browsers may not be able to view WebP images correctly. It is therefore advisable to offer a JPEG alternative for such cases (many plugins on WordPress and other CMS allow you to do this automatically).

Why opt for JPEG and WebP image formats on an e-commerce site?


which is the best image format for the web and e-commerce


If you have an e-commerce site, it’s crucial to choose the right image formats to optimize your loading time and ensure a smooth user experience. Although several image formats are possible, we strongly recommend the use of JPEG and WebP.

WebP will guarantee you a particularly fast website, without sacrificing the quality of your product photos. It’s an image format that’s set to become increasingly popular, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the standard for all browsers.

JPEG is also worth using, as it remains the second-lightest image format while offering interesting quality (provided you keep the compression reasonable). You can use it as an alternative to WebP for users of your site who don’t yet have a WebP-compatible browser… Or if you prefer the simplicity of JPEG to WebP.

As we said earlier, PNG is only really interesting for a website if transparency is important in your image. In all other cases, JPEG wins out for its lightness.

As you can see, the watchword on the web is fast loading of your images, and that’s why the answer to the question “Which is the best image format for the web?” will always be the lightest possible image format, while maintaining good quality. JPEG and WebP are your best allies. With these image formats, you can improve your user experience, increase your conversion rate and make your e-commerce site stand out from the crowd!

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