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According to new research from HTTP Archive, which regularly scans the internet’s most popular destinations, the average size of a single web page is now 965 kilobytes (KB), up more than 30% from last year’s average of 702KB.
There is absolutely no doubt that these trends are attributable to the death throes of Flash and the white knight, if-only-the-internet-was-a-damsel-in-distress emergence of HTML5 and its open web cohorts. It’s curious that the amount of Flash content hasn’t shrunk, though, which suggests that this year’s 33% increase in web page size is mostly down to a significant increase in website complexity and functionality, and not some kind of wholesale shift from Flash to HTML5.
So, what’s the actual significance of web pages that are almost 1MB in size? Not a whole lot, when you consider that caching will reduce that amount by 70 or 80% — and the more important statistic, at least as far as latency and rendering times are concerned, “total requests,” only increased from 74 to 85 over the last year (and again, caching will reduce that by 70% or more). One valid concern is mobile 3G and 4G surfers, where carrier data caps certainly haven’t increased by 33% over the last year — but even then, many popular sites have mobile versions that use significantly less than 1MB, and again, caching!