15 Best Image File Types (Pros vs Cons of Each Format)

image file types

Choosing the right image file types might seem like a trivial decision.

But human beings are visual creatures, and images are an integral part of the online experience.

Most pages and articles use screenshots and images to enrich the text content. In fact, only around 8% of websites don’t include any visual content.

Unfortunately, many website owners still don’t understand which image file types to choose for different use cases. The result? They end up slowing down their site loading speed because their images aren’t the best format available, nor are optimized.

In this article, we’ll cover all the most important image file extensions and when you should use them to provide the best possible user experience to your visitors.

What Are the Different Image File Types?

Image file types and formats are divided into two main different categories: raster image files and vector image files.

Let’s take a closer look at each category.

Raster Image File Formats

The most common image formats for the web (JPEG, GIF, and PNG) are all under the raster category.

Raster image file types display static images where every pixel has a defined color, position, and proportion based on their resolution (for example 1280×720).

Since they’re static, you cannot efficiently resize the images, the original design and pixels will simply get stretched to fill the extra space. This ends up creating a blurry, pixelated, or otherwise distorted image.

Raster Image – JPEG example

The vast majority of the photographs or images you see on the internet use a raster image format.

Vector Image File Formats

SVG, EPS, AI, and PDF are examples of vector image file types.

Unlike the static raster image file formats, where each design shape and color is tied to a pixel, these formats are more flexible.

Vector graphics instead use a system of lines and curves on a cartesian plane, scaled in comparison to the total area, not any single pixel.

This means you can endlessly enlarge the original image resolution without any loss in quality or distortion.

Image file types: vector image

Vector Image Format Magnification (Image source: Wikipedia.com)

As you can see, the difference between quality when magnified 7x is completely incomparable.

Since the SVG calculates the positions based on a percentage of the total area, and not pixels, there’s no pixelation at all.

Only 8% of websites include no visual content… but for the other 92%, displaying images with the right file type is essential. ? Find the 15 best options in this guide?Click to Tweet

15 Most Popular Image File Types

Below, we cover every major graphic file format, from raster web images, to vectors, to image editing software files.




This article was written by Matteo Duò and originally published on Blog – Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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