Did you know that PNG image files are significantly larger than JPEG image files?
You’re not alone: I was oblivious, too. In fact, I was oblivious until I learned from a client whose tech guy had told her that it’s important to compress PNG images.
I’m really not sure which file type I used to use to save images as–I’m guessing JPEG, because I was more familiar with that as an image file type. However, early on in my virtual assistant business, I had a client specifically ask in an email that I save graphics for her as PNG files because they’re higher quality. So, from that point on, I always saved everything as PNGs. And, uh…no, I wasn’t compressing them, because I didn’t know that was a thing. Whoops!
I’m not really looking to get into the differences between different image file types, because I don’t know anything about it, truth be told. But, I think it’s important to share a bit of a basic background about them. Here are a few quick key points about JPEGs and PNGs from How to Geek:
- Joint Photographic Experts Group
- Technology was created to store large photographic image files in small spaces
- Can be greatly compressed
- Not an ideal way to store art files
- Quality degradation is an issue
- Portable Network Graphics
- Supports transparency
- Tends to be the biggest file type
- Ideal for screenshot software
So, as you’ve learned from this very brief and simple overview, JPEG images tend to be much smaller file types than PNG images, which is why it’s so important to compress PNG images. (And, you might argue that my client was right–that PNGs are higher quality. To each her own.)
Why I Had to Learn to Compress PNG Images
I do quite a bit of work in one of my clients’ blogs, and I make graphics for blog posts for her. As I mentioned above, I was always saving the graphics I created as PNG files, and I wasn’t compressing them. A few months ago, we started running into major issues with her website host: Her blog was crashing repeatedly, and it was basically pointless for me to try to do any work on her WordPress account, because I kept getting kicked off of it or the connection would time out. This went on for a few weeks, I believe–so quite some time. She hired a tech guy at the suggestion of a friend of hers, who was also a client of mine (referrals work, people!), and he started digging into the problem.
After helping her move to a new host, he informed her that the most likely reason her website kept crashing was that so many big PNG files were uploaded to it. Remember that PNG images tend to be the biggest file type, so when there are a lot of them (this client has over 700 posts on her blog, so you can imagine)…it, you know, takes up a lot of space. And you know whose fault it was that all of this space was being used? Mine. (Mostly–she does invite frequent guest bloggers, many or all of whom don’t compress their files, I’d be willing to bet!)
How to Compress PNG Images
Once I apologized for my ignorance, I checked out the website she’d passed along from her tech guy, Tiny PNG. Despite its name indicating only PNGs, you can actually also compress JPEGs with this website. Here’s how it works:
- Drag and drop your file into the box that says, “Drop your .png or .jpg files here.”
- Give it time to compress (it’s usually very fast, unless it’s a large file).
- Download your compressed file.
Voila! That’s it! It’s super easy. Here are a couple of screenshots I took on two different days, when I was making a lot of graphics for the client I mentioned above. You can see how big the files were originally on the left and how much they got compressed on the right. Then, at the bottom you can see the average amount of space was saved by the compressions.
This first one isn’t too bad–some of the files are pretty big, but it’s nothing crazy:
This second one, though, has some pretty big images in it that definitely needed to be compressed:
I highly recommend taking a moment to check your file after you’ve compressed it. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a file gets wonky after it’s compressed, and the image doesn’t look right anymore. I have tried to compress JPEGs with this website before, and I find that this wonky image issue happens more often with JPEGs than with PNGs. But, it just happened to me the other day when I created a PNG graphic, and I had to redo it, so it’s always good to check before you upload it to your website or onto some social media website.
So, there you have it! May you not be too hard on yourself for not knowing this before now, and may you compress PNG images from here on out so that you don’t crash your website (or a client’s).
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This post was most recently updated in March 2019.