Reduce website download time by heavily compressing PNG and JPEG

PNG and JPEG are two most popular formats for web graphics. JPEG is used for photographs, screenshots and backgrounds where PNG is used for all other graphics need including cliparts, buttons, headers, footers, borders and so on. As a result, these two types of graphics file usually take up 80% of the total graphics used in a website. Of course, there's the GIF, which is very popular. But as it supports only 256 colors, it is losing its popularity day by day. PNG seems to be a all rounder winner for all kinds of graphics need. As all browsers support PNG well enough and PNG supports alpha transparency, it's surely the best format so far on the web for all purpose graphics need for websites. So, if you can optimize all PNG and JPEG on your website and compress them rigorously, you can easily shed off several seconds of load time from your website without doing any coding. Especially if your website is graphics rich like Pageflakes, 30% reduction in total size of graphics throughout the website is a big performance win.

Optimize all PNG on your website

PNG has a lot of scope for optimization. Generally regular graphics tools like Photoshop, Paintshop pro, Paint.NET all generate PNG using a moderate compression. So, PNG can be compressed further by using advanced compression tools. OptiPNG is such a tool that can compress PNG and sometimes produce 50% smaller output. At Pageflakes, we have around 380 PNG which when compressed using OptiPNG, gives us 40% reduction in total size. This is a big win for us.

Here's what wikipedia says about OptiPNG:

OptiPNG is an open source command line computer program that reduces the size of PNG files. The compression is lossless, meaning that the resulting image will have exactly the same appearance as the source image.

The main purpose of OptiPNG is to reduce the size of the PNG IDAT data stream by trying various filtering and compression methods. It also performs automatic bit depth, color type and color palette reduction where possible, and can correct some data integrity errors in input files.

Here's a poweshell script that you can run from the root folder of your website. It will scan through all the PNG files in the webtree and run OptiPNG on each file. This takes quite some time if you have hundreds of files. So, you should make it a part of your build script.

gci -include *.png -recurse | foreach
 { $fileName = $_.FullName; cmd /c "C:\soft\png\optipng.exe -o7 `"$fileName`"" }

Here I have stored the optipng.exe on the c:\soft\png folder.

OptiPNG gives very good compression. But there's even more scope for compression. AdvanceCOMP is the ultimate in compression technology for PNG as it uses the mighty 7zip compression algorithm. It can squeeze down PNG even further after being compressed by OptiPNG using its maximum compression mode. PNG files are compressed using DEFLATE algorithm. DEFLATE has 0 to 9 compression level, where 9 is the highest. AdvanceCOMP uses 7zip DEFLATE encoder, that extends the compression factor even more. During 7zip compression, a much more detailed search of compression possibilities is performed, at the expense of significant further processor time spent on searching. Effectively, the 10-point scale used in gzip is extended to include extra settings above 9, the previous maximum search level. There will be no difference in decompression speed, regardless of the level of compressed size achieved or time taken to encode the data.

Here's a poweshell script that you can run from the root folder of your website. It will scan through all the PNG files in the webtree and run AdvanceCOMP on each file. You need to run AdvanceCOMP after running OptiPNG.

gci -include *.png -recurse | foreach
 { $fileName = $_.FullName; cmd /c "C:\soft\png\advpng.exe 
 --shrink-insane -z `"$fileName`"" }

I have collected both optipng and advpng in this zip file.

Optimize all JPEG on your website

Unfortunately, there's not much powerful tool like OptiPNG for jpeg that you can run on all your jpeg files and compress them rigorously. JPEG file is compressed when it is saved. Generally all graphics applications provide you an option to select what's the quality ratio of the jpeg being saved. So, you have to consciously make the best compression vs quality choice while saving the jpeg file. However, libjpeg project has a jpeg optimizer tool that does some optimization on jpeg files. It has a jpegtran utility which does the optimization according to wikipedia:

jpegtran - a utility for lossless transcoding between different JPEG formats. The jpegtran command-line program is useful to optimize the compression of a JPEG file, convert between progressive and non-progressive JPEG formats, eliminate non-standard application-specific data inserted by some image programs, or to perform certain transformations on a file — such as grayscaling, or rotating and flipping (within certain limits) — all done "losslessly" (i.e. without decompressing and recompressing the data, and so causing a reduction of image quality due to generation loss).

However, when we ran jpegtran on all the jpeg files in Pageflakes, we are able to reduce about 20% total size of all jpeg. So, that was not too bad.

Here's how you run jpegtran to get all the jpeg files within your website directory optimized:

gci -include *.jpg -recurse | foreach
 { $fileName = $_.FullName; $newFileName = $fileName + ".tmp"; 
cmd /c "C:\soft\jpeg\jpegtran.exe -optimize -outfile `"$newFileName`" `"$fileName`""; 
copy $newFileName $fileName; del $newFileName; }

The libjpeg binaries are uploaded here for your convenience.

Warning: You have to run all these powershell commands in a single line. I have broken the commands in multiple line for better readability.

Let's save global bandwidth, go green.

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