Creating WebP Images with the Command Line

Katie Hempenius
Katie Hempenius

The webp command line tool has already been installed for you, so you're all set to get started. This tool converts JPG, PNG, and TIFF images to WebP.

Convert images to WebP

  1. Click Remix to Edit to make the project editable.
  2. Click Terminal (note: if the Terminal button does not show you may need to use the Fullscreen option).
  3. Type the following command:
cwebp -q 50 images/flower1.jpg -o images/flower1.webp

This command converts, at a quality of 50 (0 is the worst; 100 is the best), the images/flower1.jpg file and saves it as images/flower1.webp.

After doing this, you should see something like this in the console:

Saving file 'images/flower1.webp'
File:      images/flower1.jpg
Dimension: 504 x 378
Output:    29538 bytes Y-U-V-All-PSNR 34.57 36.57 36.12   35.09 dB
           (1.24 bpp)
block count:  intra4:        750  (97.66%)
              intra16:        18  (2.34%)
              skipped:         0  (0.00%)
bytes used:  header:            116  (0.4%)
             mode-partition:   4014  (13.6%)
 Residuals bytes  |segment 1|segment 2|segment 3|segment 4|  total
    macroblocks:  |      22%|      26%|      36%|      17%|     768
      quantizer:  |      52 |      42 |      33 |      24 |
   filter level:  |      16 |       9 |       6 |      26 |

You've just successfully converted the image to WebP.

However, running the cwebp command one image at a time like this would take a long time to convert many images. If you need to do this, you can use a script instead.

  • Run this script in the console (don't forget the backticks):
`for file in images/*; do cwebp -q 50 "$file" -o "${file%.*}.webp"; done`

This script converts, at a quality of 50, all the files in the images/ directory, and saves them as a new file (same filename, but with a .webp file extension) in the same directory.

✔︎ Check-in

You should now have 6 files in your images/ directory:


Next, update this Glitch to serve WebP images to browsers that support it.

Add WebP images using the <picture> tag

The <picture> tag allows you to serve WebP to newer browsers while maintaining support for older browsers.

  • In index.html replace <img src="images/flower1.jpg"/> with the following HTML:
  <source type="image/webp" srcset="images/flower1.webp">
  <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="images/flower1.jpg">
  <img src="images/flower1.jpg">
  • Next, replace the <img> tags for flower2.jpg and flower3.png with <picture> tags.

✔︎ Check-in

Once completed, the <picture> tags in index.html should look like this:

  <source type="image/webp" srcset="images/flower1.webp">
  <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="images/flower1.jpg">
  <img src="images/flower1.jpg">
  <source type="image/webp" srcset="images/flower2.webp">
  <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="images/flower2.jpg">
  <img src="images/flower2.jpg">
  <source type="image/webp" srcset="images/flower3.webp">
  <source type="image/png" srcset="images/flower3.png">
  <img src="images/flower3.png">

Next, use Lighthouse to verify you've correctly implemented WebP images on the site.

Verify WebP usage with Lighthouse

Lighthouse's Serve images in next-gen formats performance audit can let you know if all the images on your site are using next-gen formats like WebP.

  1. To preview the site, press View App. Then press Fullscreen fullscreen.
  2. Press `Control+Shift+J` (or `Command+Option+J` on Mac) to open DevTools.
  3. Click the Lighthouse tab.
  4. Make sure the Performance checkbox is selected in the Categories list.
  5. Click the Generate report button.
  6. Verify the Serve images in next-gen formats audit is passed.

Passing 'Serve images in next-gen formats' audit in Lighthouse

Success! You are now serving WebP images on your site.