Average Web Page Weights Increases

The HTTP Archive Report has published their end-of-year technology statistics which collate information from 300,000 of the web’s most popular websites. Average page weight has bloated by 32% in one year to reach more than 1,700Kb — or 1.7Mb — and now comprises 96 individual HTTP requests. It’s worse than the staggering 30% increase in 2012!

Some of the increase can be explained by increased e-commerce activity and advertising as people hunt for gifts. However, few web sites lose weight in January and continue to gorge themselves throughout the year.

The report analyzes publicly-accessible content and shopping web sites rather than complex web applications. It provides a breakdown of the specific technologies used.


CSS sizes have increased by 11Kb on average. Some could be explained by Responsive Web Design and CSS3 effects, but a reduced requirement for vendor prefixes should have helped?

However, any rise in HTML and CSS can be offset by a decrease in JavaScript code. There’s less reason to use large script libraries now we have better browser consistency and CSS3 animations. That’s not happened and the average page now loads 18 individual script files; concatenation and minification would help immensely.

Unsurprisingly, Flash has dropped by a few kilobytes and pages using the plugin have fallen from 37% to 32%. Advertisers remain the primary users but HTML5 alternatives are starting to appear now Responsive Web Design is a mainstream technique.

“Other” files have doubled in size. Almost a third of this growth can be attributed to webfonts and webfont icon sets which is acceptable given that it should lead to a reduction in image use … except it hasn’t. Perhaps high-density photographs can justify some increase, but who is loading a megabyte of images on every page?

The figures are more shocking when you consider they’re averages. Approximately half the web sites analyzed will be more obese. We web developers should hold our heads in shame.

Click here to read the full report.

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