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Serving WEBP with nginx conditionally.
user www-data;
http {
# Basic Settings
sendfile on;
tcp_nopush on;
tcp_nodelay on;
# IMPORTANT!!! Make sure that mime.types below lists WebP like that:
# image/webp webp;
include /etc/nginx/mime.types;
default_type application/octet-stream;
gzip on;
gzip_disable "msie6";
# Conditional variables
map $http_accept $webp_suffix {
default "";
"~*webp" ".webp";
# Minimal server
server {
listen 80 default_server;
listen [::]:80 default_server ipv6only=on;
root /usr/share/nginx/html;
index index.html;
# Make site accessible from http://localhost/ or whatever you like
server_name localhost;
location ~* ^/images/.+\.(png|jpg)$ {
root /home/www-data;
add_header Vary Accept;
try_files $uri$webp_suffix $uri =404;
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uhop commented Jan 19, 2021

@Garistar I am not sure your approach is correct as is:

  • I am advocating against using rewrite. See the referenced blog post.
  • The gist has no rewrites.
  • Your rewrite expression will be triggered on files like nopng, because it misses a dot in it. And it has some other minor problems.
    • But I do understand your point.

The reason why in my original code I add a suffix instead of manipulating names is actually simple: because I use webp for png and jpg removing the original extensions opens up for a potential name clash. Compare:

  • image.pngimage.png.webp
  • image.jpgimage.jpg.webp


  • image.pngimage.webp
  • image.jpgimage.webp

I create .webp files statically using a utility, I don't want to deal with possible overwrites.

On top of that my actual code (not the toy one in the example) can serve multiple compressions:

  • brotli, zopfli, and gzip for text files + original uncompressed files, if the precompressed versions are missing
  • webp, zopflipng, and png for png-style images
  • webp, guetzli, and jpg for jpg-style images

Nowadays I am considering adding avif to the list.

That's why a name manipulation is not a priority to me.

If it is important it is possible not only update file names but serve files from:

  • Different folders.
  • Different domains (e.g., different AWS buckets).

Doing that will help with potential name clashes as well.

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ddur commented Aug 30, 2021

I create .webp files statically using a utility, I don't want to deal with possible overwrites.

If you serving a WordPress site, you may use Warp iMagick plugin with your nginx configuration.

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h2kyaw commented Dec 25, 2021

Can I use this without .webp files?

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uhop commented Dec 25, 2021

@h2kyaw You can. See the comments above explaining my approach. But you can obviously update the recipe to suit your needs.

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ddur commented Feb 18, 2022

BTW, WordOps Control Panel for Nginx Server and WordPress Sites is already configured for WebP and AVIF.


For example: picture.jpg => picture.webp and not picture.jpg.webp

Imagine uploading picture.jpg and picture.png into same directory. What would happen?

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