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When does it make sense to use JPEG images compared to PNG images?

Introduction

There are many types of digital image formatsbut the two most commonly used formats on the Internet are JPEG and PNG. You may have heard conflicting information from different sources about which format is best. This can make it difficult to decide which format to use for your website.

In general, PNG is a higher quality compression format. JPEG images are generally lower quality, but load faster. These factors influence the decision for PNG or JPEG as well as the content of the image and the way it is used.

In this article, you'll learn more about what JPEG and PNG are, why they work so well for the web, and what each type does best.

image format jpeg and png
Difference between JPEG and PNG image formats

Introduction to JPEG and PNG image formats

As mentioned earlier, JPEG and PNG are two of the most commonly used image formats on websites. Both use different "codecs" (or compression methods) to store the image data. This means that PNG is better than JPEG for certain purposes, and vice versa.

JPEG image format

JPEG is an image format that uses lossy compression. Because of this, JPEG files tend to have a smaller file size and load faster than PNG files. If you're uploading a lot of images, such as an album from an event, using JPEGs means you can display more images without running out of server space.

However, the higher compression also means that some of the image information is lost each time you save a JPEG. If you save a JPEG over and over again, it can become pixelated. However, this is not always important for use on the Internet.

PNG image format

PNG, on the other hand, is a lossless compression method. This means that more data is stored and a higher image quality is achieved than is normally the case with a JPEG. A PNG is also much less pixelated than a JPEG.

This makes PNGs ideal for any image that contains solid, defined lines or text.

PNGs can also contain transparent elements. This can be very useful on a website. For example, an image can be displayed so that it blends into the background of the page. This is especially useful for icons.

The disadvantage of PNGs is that they have slightly longer load times and larger file sizes than JPGs. They work well for important images, but you should avoid overloading your website and server with dozens of PNGs on every page unless your website is very well optimized.

Why JPEGs and PNGs are good for the web

There are many types of image formats, so you may be wondering why we are focusing exclusively on JPEG and PNG. The reason is that these two image formats are better suited for the web than most others.

There are a few reasons for this, including:

Image compression: Both JPEG and PNG images are compressed to reduce loading times, which is ideal for the Internet.
Small file size: Compression also means that JPEGs and PNGs take up less space on the server than many other image types, which means you don't have to worry about running out of space.
Widespread integration: Many web tools are designed with the expectation that your website will use mostly JPEGs and PNGs. Some browsers do not display certain file types at all.

In summary, while you're not forced to use only JPEGs and/or PNGs on your website, limiting yourself to these two image formats will make your job easier. Besides, it's a smart way to keep your website lean and fast as it grows.

When should JPEGs and when PNGs be used?

Now that you understand the basic differences between JPEG and PNG, you may be wondering whether you should use just one format or a mixture of the two. To answer this question, we'll go over some basic rules for using each image type.

JPEG is the ideal format for the following applications

Complex images: While a JPEG has some quality loss compared to a PNG, this is hardly noticeable for complex images (e.g. photos). This means that you can take advantage of a smaller file size without sacrificing aesthetics.

Photo albums: If you're sharing photos in bulk, such as in a photo album, it's best to use JPEG files. These have shorter load times, which means the photos display faster and smoother.

Opaque images: Unlike PNG, JPEG does not allow transparency. However, if an image does not need to be transparent, it is often safe to use a JPEG.

When is it better to use PNG`s

Images with hard lines: As mentioned above, pixelation is very noticeable in images with hard lines, such as logos and text. For such images, the PNG format should be used.

Portfolios: PNG files offer the best quality. So if you want your images to look good, for example in a portfolio of photographs or other creative work, it may be worth choosing a slightly larger file size.

Transparent images: If you want an image to "blend" into the page rather than have an opaque background, PNG is the best option.

Some choose to use only one type of image on their website. This offers the advantage of a streamlined approach and can work well for websites that use images in a very predictable way. However, we recommend making decisions on a case-by-case basis and choosing the most appropriate file type for the situation.

Difference between PNG and JPEG Summary

When you first start looking at the different image file types, it can seem a bit confusing. However, when you add images to your website, you almost always want to use either the PNG or the JPEG format use. With time, it becomes easier to decide which file type should be used for which purposes.

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