How to Speed Up Background Images – Get All the Details!

Using the right background image is indispensable if you want to create an aesthetically pleasing and relevant website. They help make your website information more accessible, understandable, and clear to the users.

In the case of websites, background images are usually used where there is some text or content on top. This could be a slider, a blog posts’ featured image, or a hero image. Now, the fact is, images typically come in heavier file sizes, which leads them to load slowly, which ultimately affects the user experience as well as site ranking.

Thus, images must be optimized correctly, so that they can load as fast as possible when a visitor visits the page. Fortunately, there are some effective tricks and techniques that can help you to do so. So, take a look at how to speed up background images.

Why Is Background Image Loading Slow?

As you can see from the following, images are responsible for the highest number of HTTP requests per page of a website. In short, images take up more loading resources which results in slowing down the WordPress site.

Why Is Background Image Loading Slow

Not only this, there are a number of other reasons why background images load slowly. For example,

  • Your website’s background images are in too large sizes with a heavy format and higher resolution. Usually, these are responsible for slowing down the loading time and taking up a lot of bandwidth as well.
  • Images with unspecified dimensions.
  • If they are not optimized according to all types of devices.
  • When the browser starts loading all your page’s images at once.
  • Due to low priority requests where the images will be downloaded after the CSS files are downloaded and parsed.

How To Speed Up Background Images

How to Speed Up Background Images – Get All the Details!The background images can improve the visual appeal of a website greatly. However, if they are not well optimized, it can take a great deal of time to load.

Therefore, you need to make some adjustments to ensure speeding up background images. So, here’s how to speed up background images.

1. Optimize the Image Format

You can see a significant result by converting the background image to the JPG format and reducing the size by compressing it. This way, you can have a smaller-sized image while maintaining higher quality.

There are several image editing tools online like GIMP, Paint.net, etc., that can help you to convert the images and select the compression ratio.

2. Use IMG Tag with object-fit

Typically, background images are used in sliders, including some text or content in their center, also, in a specific div, where you want to put an image that will ‘fill’ without changing the size of the space (background-size: cover).

But, achieving this with the IMG tag was really hard. However, instead of following this, now, you can use the new CSS object-fit: cover property, you can achieve the same benefit.

<!-- Old way -->

<div style="background-image: url('/cat.jpg'); background-size: cover"></div>

<!-- New way -->

<img src="/cat.jpg" alt="Cat drinking milk" style="object-fit: cover" />

Use IMG Tag with object-fit

The best part is its browser support is also excellent, except IE, this process supports all updated browsers.

3. Preload Background Image

It doesn’t matter if you are using an IMG tag or background image; if you are using the image in the above fold, it will be best to preload them. This way, you can tell the browser to download the background image on high priority.

<html>

<head>

<!-- Preload background image -->

<link rel="preload" href="/cat.jpg" as="image" />

</head>

<body>

<div

style="background-image: url('/cat.jpg'); background-size: cover"

></div>

</body>

</html>

4. IMG Tag With ‘display: none’ Hack

You can also use your background images with background-color, background-blend-mode, background-attachment, background-position, background-repeat, etc.

In this case, to leverage other CSS features, instead of using an IMG tag, it will be better to use a background image.

So, add an IMG tag with the display: none. In this way, you can prompt the browser to immediately download the image but display it using a background image.

<!-- Inline background image -->

<div style="background-image: url('/cat.jpg'); background-size: cover">

<img src="/cat.jpg" style="display: none" />

</div>

<!-- External/Internal background image -->

<style>

.bg {

background-image: url("/cat.jpg");

background-size: cover;

}

</style>

<div class="bg">

<img src="/cat.jpg" style="display: none" />

</div>

5. Add Responsive Images

Based on different devices, you can ensure delivering responsive images by adding srcset and sizes to your website’s normal images.

<img srcset="elva-fairy-320w.jpg 320w,

elva-fairy-480w.jpg 480w,

elva-fairy-800w.jpg 800w"

sizes="(max-width: 320px) 280px,

(max-width: 480px) 440px,

800px"

src="elva-fairy-800w.jpg" alt="Elva dressed as a fairy">

You can do exactly the same thing for the background images also. You just need to use the image-set syntax.

.bg {

background-image: url("cat.jpg");

background-image: image-set "cat.jpg"1x,

"cat-2x.jpg"2x,

"cat-print.png"600dpi);

background-size: cover;

}

6. Inline Background Image In HTML

If the background image is inside an external CSS file, you should inline it in HTML. That way, you can ensure that the browser doesn’t need to wait for the CSS file to download and then download the image.

!-- External/Internal background image in CSS -->

<style>

.bg {

background-image: url("cat.jpg");

}

</style>

<div class="bg"></div>

<!-- Inline background image in HTML -->

<div style="background-image: url('cat.jpg')"></div>

Wrapping Up

No one wants to skim without a background image in between in text blocks while it takes time to load. Also, with a slow loading site, users will feel like it’s in slow motion, which is really frustrating and results in an increase in bounce rate. So, to avoid all these, consider this guide and make the most out of it to speed up your website’s background image. That’s all for how to speed up background images. I hope you find this article useful.

Did you speed up your website background images by optimizing them for better performance? Do you have any other questions or confusion about this topic? Let us know in the comment section below!

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