Thursday 7 November 2013

Web Page Size Shows Significant Increase

While doing some research to answer a recent question from a reader about data charges and data caps, I came across some updated statistics on webpage sizes as measures in bytes. This is an area I had not looked at for some time. What struck me was how much the average webpage size had increased.

According to the HTTPArchive website, the average page size as of 01 Nov 2013 was 1.6 MB (megabyte).  This compares to 14 KB in 1995, 93 KB in 2003, 300 KB in 2008, 828 KB in 2012 and 1.2 MB in Jun 2013. Some commentators are expecting a page size of close to 5 MB by 2015 or sooner.

The authors attribute the significant growth of page size to improved hardware, in particular the high resolution screens used by tablets together with high resolution cameras and smartphones.  Extensive us of Flash and Java on web pages also contributes.

A few years ago web designers would build to the lowest common denominator screen size but now they tend to use more uncompressed images to fill the space on the high resolution screens. Social media users are posting images directly from their cameras and smartphones without any editing or compression. In both cases this results in images having a file size of several MB instead of less than 100 KB which is sufficient for routine viewing. In image intensive applications this can add up quickly.

What does this all mean? If you have an Internet plan without any data caps, not very much. Unfortunately, most of us have to live with fixed data caps and associated extraordinarily expensive overage fees – think $10 to $15 per GB. .

So not only are we using the Internet more either voluntarily or because in some instances it is the only way to get service but the data we are transferring is increasing in size without providing any incremental increase in information. 

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting data, thanks for posting. Between junk email and low-to-no value web content, and the issues that you've identified here , the Internet is really heavily polluted. One person's junk is another person's treasure, but do we really need high res pictures of the cat falling in the toilet? If we used our cars and ran our roads the way we use the Internet we'd be broke in a week, or at the gas pumps 24/7. Not sure it will ever get any better. Ironically the downside to "unlimited" data is that we don't have to care. Interesting....