The overweight web: Average web page size is up 15% in 2014

Bigger isn’t better when it comes to web pages, but the internet has continued to put on weight this year. According to the 2014 report from the HTTP Archive, the average size of a web page is up 15 percent this year to 1,935Kb — just shy of 2Mb (or 2,048 Kb) per page. This includes an average of 95 HTTP pull requests per page.

Part of the web bloat is from a rise in images and custom CSS on webpages. CSS sizes are up 24 percent while image sizes are up 21 percent. Flash on webpages is continuing a slow, expected march toward death and decreased 13 percent this year.

You shouldn’t be quick to blame the Retina iMacs (and their need for high-resolution images) for the extra image sizes though. As web analyst Craig Bucker shows, retina accounts for a small portion of devices. Instead the rise in responsive site design, sites that can be scaled from full screen to tablet to mobile, could lead to bulked up code. Bucker’s analysis points the figure at CMS templates and frameworks that come pre-loaded with a bunch of extra features and functions that sites don’t use, but that developers neglect to take out of the code.

Technology End 2013 End 2014 Increase
HTML 57Kb 59Kb +4%
CSS 46Kb 57Kb +24%
JavaScript 276Kb 295Kb +7%
Images 1,030Kb 1,243Kb +21%
Flash 87Kb 76Kb -13%
Other 205Kb 223Kb +9%
Total 1,701Kb 1,953Kb +15%

Web page bloat is nothing new bulking up is nothing new, and this year’s 15 percent increase is at a slower rate than the past two years. In 2013, it rose 32 percent — the previous year it had been up 30 percent in 2012. However, even though the growth rate has slowed, it’s still bad news as mobile usage is on the rise and more frontier markets come online. Larger pages mean slower download times and more data used on mobile. With data caps on most networks, pages that have a skinny load time may see a preference (and the traffic) from impatient mobile users.

Cosmos Browser uses SMS to provide web access without Wi-Fi or mobile broadband

In regions without mobile broadband, or where it’s still too expensive to have a data plan, other ways to connect to the web are always welcome. Say hello to Cosmos Browser, which provides web access using SMS so that you can view web pages without using Wi-Fi or even a lowly 2G network. Using Cosmos on Android, you enter a web address which is sent to back-end servers through a text message. The servers strip out CSS and JavaScript from the content at that URL, compress the information and sends it back via SMS. The host app then decompresses the site info and renders the HTML. Clever!

25 years after its invention, Pew data reveals how we view the web

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When it comes to the internet, most Americans use it every day and view it as a beneficial source of communications in their lives. Four in ten adults view it as absolutely essential to their lives. As part of the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, Pew has taken a look at how the web and internet have changed our lives. The results won’t surprise you, but they are worth noting.

Mark Zuckerberg wants to teach Wall Street “the Hacker Way”

In Facebook’s IPO document filed Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg dedicated a significant portion of his letter to something a bit out of the ordinary: Teaching potential investors about “the Hacker Way” and dispelling the negative connotation the word “hacker” has gotten in the mainstream media.

Twitter begins larger rollout of enhanced brand pages

Twitter on Wednesday switched on enhanced brand pages for accounts owned by National Public Radio, NBC News, Volkswagen, and others. This is the first batch of premium Twitter pages from companies other than the handful of launch partners who unveiled enhanced brand pages in December.