SVG vs PNG: What Are the Differences and When to Use Them

Magnifying glass looking at SVG vs PNG

There are dozens of image file types, each varying based on compression type, formatting, and browser support. But two of the most commonly used are SVG and PNG formats.

These two file types couldn’t be more different — each is better suited for specific situations. They’re certainly not interchangeable in every aspect, but you may find that SVGs can perform specific tasks better than the standard PNG image.

Learn the difference between SVG and PNG and where best they’re applied on your website.

What Is SVG?

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, and it’s the most widely used vector file format on the web. Let’s break this down:

  • Scalable: SVGs can be resized up or down without damaging the quality of the image. It will be perfectly crisp and clear, no matter how large or small it is.
  • Vector: Most image file types contain pixels. Vectors are essentially pieces of code that render an image in real-time, converting it to the pixels you see on your screen. While they display the same image, what goes on in the background is very different.
  • Graphics: Though it may not be as well known, SVG is an image file type like PNG, JPEG, or GIF. It just goes about things a little differently.

Vectors are pieces of code written in XML that represent shapes, lines, and colors to elaborate on how it works.

While creating an image with nothing but code is entirely possible, most people use a vector graphics editor like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator. You can also convert PNGs or other raster images to SVG, but the results aren’t always great.

Convertio is a PNG to SVG converter.

When the page loads, this code is converted into graphics, so you can’t immediately tell an SVG from a PNG. But because SVGs are simply lines of code converted to pixels, that means they can scale to any resolution — large or small — without losing quality.

enlarged svg Example of an enlarged SVG.

SVG also supports animation and transparency, making it a versatile file format.

The only issue is that it’s not as widely used as more standard formats like PNG, so it’s less supported on older browsers and devices, and it’s not always the easiest to upload it to your site and get it to display correctly.

Wondering what makes SVG files different from PNGs? ? This guide is here to help ?Click to Tweet

Pros and Cons of SVG

Though still not as widely used as raster file types like PNG, vector graphics are growing fast in popularity. They do some essential tasks

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This article was written by Salman Ravoof and originally published on Blog – Kinsta®.

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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