[wp-trac] [WordPress Trac] #56263: Proposed WebP Generation in Core should be opt-in, not opt-out

WordPress Trac noreply at wordpress.org
Thu Jul 21 00:15:48 UTC 2022

#56263: Proposed WebP Generation in Core should be opt-in, not opt-out
 Reporter:  eatingrules  |      Owner:  (none)
     Type:  enhancement  |     Status:  new
 Priority:  normal       |  Milestone:  Awaiting Review
Component:  Media        |    Version:
 Severity:  normal       |   Keywords:
  Focuses:  performance  |
 The Performance team is working on implementing background WebP image
 generation and serving for newly uploaded images, targeting incorporation
 in core in 6.1 (and then expanding that to thumbnails in the future).

 There has been substantial and productive community discussion about the
 proposed changes, regarding both the upsides and potential downsides:


 Currently the plan is to make this feature enabled by default for all
 sites, unbeknownst to site owners -- and disabling it would require a
 filter. (Most site owners don't even know what a filter is, let alone how
 to add one.)

 **We need more public/open discussion and decisionmaking on whether these
 new features should be opt-in or opt-out.**

 (Also needing consideration is a potential dashboard UI control to
 enable/disable the feature, rather than only by filter -- but that should
 probably be a separate ticket.)

 While I agree that it's likely in most cases this will be a benefit for
 reduced bandwidth usage and improved site speed, I'm nevertheless
 concerned about downsides -- especially once ''all'' thumbnails are being
 duplicated to WebP.

 The duplicated images will add up over time, and if a site owner
 regenerates thumbnails (which can happen deliberately, or unwittingly by
 some plugins), it could cause a massive increase in disk usage very
 quickly (which can also make backups and migrations more

 Because of how this will roll out over time, I don't think we're likely to
 see significant issues right away -- but there will be an accumulation
 problem, especially for sites with large image libraries.

 The Performance team's own research estimates that
 14% of sites might experience disk space issues over time]. That's ''a
 lot'' of sites.

 Jon Brown's ([https://profiles.wordpress.org/jb510/ @jb510]) recent
 comment also [https://make.wordpress.org/core/2022/06/30/plan-for-adding-
 webp-multiple-mime-support-for-images/#comment-43278 sums up many of the
 concerns very well].

 I appreciate the [https://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/ Philosophy] of
 "Decisions, not Options" but we also need to consider the equally
 important philosophies of "Clean, Lean, and Mean" and "Striving for

 Generating hundreds or even ''hundreds of thousands'' of additional image
 files is not "lean", and when things go wrong because of this (and they
 will), it will not be "simple" for site owners to understand or address.

 I realize that if this is disabled by default it won't see rapid adoption.
 However, there are other ways to encourage adoption, such as an
 announcement on the "About" page after upgrading Core, or a dashboard
 notification.  And, adding a UI setting would also make it easier for
 users to enable when desired (again, that's a separate conversation).


Ticket URL: <https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/56263>
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