Client hints

ImageKit, with its support of client hints, can automatically deliver responsive images without you changing the image URL. Learn the different ways you can use client hints.

What are Client Hints?

Client hints are the hints provided by the client device to the server along with the request itself. These hints allow the server to fulfill a particular request with the most optimal resource.

You can learn more about client hints from the responsive image guide.

Enable client hints before using them Not every request has these HTTP headers. You will have to explicitly tell the browser to include these client hints using a meta tag:

<meta http-equiv="Accept-CH" content="DPR, Width">

ImageKit supports Client hints

ImageKit supports the following client hints:

WebP conversion using Accept header is enabled by default and part of the automatic format conversion feature.

To allow ImageKit to read values from the client hint request headers (DPR and Width), you have to pass the transformation parameters dpr and width with their values set to auto. For example, when the browser requests:

DPR: 2

In this case, an extrinsic width of 100 pixels is required. To calculate the extrinsic width of the to-be-delivered image, ImageKit reads the client hint header DPR value and multiplies it with the specified extrinsic width. Therefore, the final actual width of the delivered image is 200

1002=200px100 * 2 = 200 px

If the browser requests:,dpr-auto/image_name.jpg
DPR: 2
Width: 600

In this case, an intrinsic width of 600 pixels is required. The browser sends Width request header and also considers the DPR of the user-device while calculating the value of Width header. Therefore, ImageKit ignores the DPR value and delivers an image of width 600. ImageKit will return Content-DPR response header so that browser can scale the image correctly.

The Content-DPR Header

ImageKit rounds the intrinsic size of the image to the next smallest 100. If the Widthheader indicates a width of 150 px, then ImageKit will deliver an image with a width of 200 px. Now, if the DPR of the device is 2, then the device will end up rendering an image of width 100 px (200 / 2), which is the incorrect width. The correct intended width to be displayed is 75px (150 / 2). To rectify this miscalculation due to the rounding to the next 100, the Content-DPR header is used.

Content-DPR is a response header and indicates the actual DPR of the response image. It is calculated as follows:

ContentDPR=[SelectedImageSize]/(Width/DPR)Content-DPR = [Selected Image Size] / (Width / DPR)

Let's learn this with a few examples:

DPR: 2
Width: 212

ImageKit rounds off 212 to 300, and an image of width 300 pixels is delivered. Now, the Content-DPR header is calculated as follows:

ContentDPR=300/(212/2)=2.83Content-DPR = 300/ (212 / 2) = 2.83

Hence, ImageKit responds with a 300 pixels wide image and Content-DPR response header with a value 2.83

Content-DPR: 2.83

When the browser receives the image and the header, it scales it down as 300 / 2.83 = 106 px, which was is intended final width of the rendered image. If there were no Content-DPR header received, the browser would scale down the image as 300 / 2 = 150 px, which might break your layout.


You should be aware of the different terms. Here are a few important definitions from Google developer docs.

Intrinsic size

The actual dimensions of a media resource. For example, if you open an image in Photoshop, the dimensions shown in the image size dialogue describe its intrinsic size.

Extrinsic size:

The size of a media resource after CSS and other layout factors (such as width and height attributes) have been applied to it. Let’s say you have an <img> element that loads an image with a density-corrected intrinsic size of 320x240, but it also has CSS width and height properties with values of 256px and 192px applied to it, respectively. In this example, the extrinsic size of that <img> element becomes 256x192.