How to Use CSS Sprites to Slash Image Load Time
 by John Heard

How to Use CSS Sprites to Slash Image Load Time — by John Heard
YouTube Sprite Example
Portion of Sprite
from YouTube

Page load time improvement is almost always an on-going project for most website's, and most of us are spending a lot of time making our sites faster to improve usability and sales conversions, but also to score points with Google meeting their Core Web Vitals speed requirements.

Within this article I'm going to explain the advanced strategy of combining images using CSS Sprites to cut the load time of your website. Simply put, by combining some of the images displayed on a page into one image, you can reduce the number of server connections it takes to get those images. This in turn reduces latency as well as the number of bytes that must be downloaded, which gives you a measurable speed improvement.

This technique was very common in the past, with large website's such as Google and YouTube leveraging this technique, especially for the numerous small images used for navigation elements. Sprites are not used near as often now, somewhat of a forgotten technique, but we haven't forgot how to do this.

Pros & Cons when using Sprites

Sprites are not that fun to work with, using this method certainly is more complex than working with multiple images. Before you adopt this strategy, we should review the pro's & cons...


  • Fewer connections to the server can in some situations have a measurable improvement in load time.
  • The speed improvement can be enough to get your site to comply with Core Web Vitals, that is quite important.
  • If you can use a Sprite image instead of an icon library such as...