A few weeks ago we pointed you at Lorelle Van Fossen’s wisdom on WordPress Image Sizing. While we continue to take issue with WordPress Image Management and Image Handling, we accept that many users aren’t likely to follow our advice on the topic. Under those circumstances we’re happy to say Lorelle’s tutorial is a great place to start. This week WordPress School with Lorellle VanFossen broached the subject of a very specific WordPress image: the WordPress header image. As usual, Lorelle describes the variables well. But there’s a passage in her piece on WordPress Header Image Size that begs discussion:
The header art for the Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme recommends an image at least 1000 pixels wide, and suggests a height of 288 pixels.
WordPress’ Twenty-Eleven theme is no longer the typical least common denominator, but no matter. Our
concern point is that this is one of those places where the best way to handle something in WordPress is flexible.
But HOW flexible is WordPress Header Image Size?
The answer depends on your theme. In 2015, if there’s such a thing as a “standard” for WordPress, it’s that your theme be “responsive” (actually, CAPITAL R Responsive). If your theme isn’t Responsive then we disagree with Lorelle VanFossen and WordPress’ “at least 1000 pixels” categorization. There’s a correct size; it’s 960 pixels. Not more, not less.
If your theme is Responsive, then the “correct” WordPress header image size is 1300 pixels. This is because—speaking of least common denominators—the most common laptop monitor is now 1366 pixels wide. Subtract a bit for scroll bars and 1300 pixels is a pretty good fit-to-the-hardware guess.
But wait. As I type this piece I’m looking into a 1920 pixel desktop monitor. Doesn’t that means a 1300-pixel image will start to degrade? Literally, yes, but the difference is such and most people’s eyes adjust in a manner that it works out.
Sort of. My laptop can do 3200 pixels. Newer Apple monitors push 5,000.
Uh-oh. Nice, huh? A simple little idea like the correct WordPress Header Image size ends up feeling like an arms race. And that’s why we’re here.