Recently while cleaning out my house, I stumbled upon my old 486 with win 98. As any sane person, I stopped everything I was doing and rushed to see if my Tyrian 2000, Dune 2000 and Prehistoric were still there. (they were there, but that will be another story)
I did not have internet when my parents got that PC, thus I started trying to connect it to my network; a few minutes of fiddling around and it worked. Well, sort of worked, most web pages did not load, or if they did load they were broken. Then I said to myself I wonder how much did websites evolve since that period. This was a catalyst that finally prompted me to write an article on a subject that kept bothering me, namely Modern Websites suck
A brief introduction to the article series
According to Http Archive the median page size (in June 2018) sits at 1.7 mb for desktop and 1.5 mb for mobile. I can almost hear you think Pff, that is nothing. It’s just a couple of mb. True, it’s far smaller than a mp3 song or an image taken with a modern smartphone.
To put in perspective those numbers, in 2011 the median page size was 500 kb for desktop and 200kb for mobile. This means a 226% increase in size for desktop and a 673% increase for mobile per page.
But we have to remember that this is per Page and not Per site. Just think of all those pages that your favorite news website has. Suddenly it does not seem that small, does it?As it can be seen in the above graph, the median page site is now approaching the 2mb mark. But most pages are already hitting that 2mb threshold, some of them even hitting more than 3 mb.
A good example for the latter is the front page of Youtube which has a size of 3.0 mb(according to Pingdom). But wait… hasn’t the internet speed also gone up? You have a fair point there dear reader, internet speed did go up. According to Speedtest.net the global average for fixed broadband is 46.25 mbps Down and 22.47 mbps Up. Meanwhile for mobile we have 23.54 mbps Down and 9.28 mbps Up.
Sooooo, as I was saying, it takes only seconds to load those websites. True, for people who do have access to high speed internet. Furthermore, when speaking about mobile internet we have to take in account network coverage. There are areas where loading that 3mb page could take over 10 seconds.
What if I only want to check new sites. With that speed I am already aware that I cannot watch Youtube. According to Google you need an Internet connection with 500+ Kbps in order to watch Youtube. You could probably go down to 200 Kbps for seamless video playback on mobile for 360p or 480p videos.
Coming back to news sites:
bbc.com – 2.2mb (size varies +-0.2mb)
cnn.com – 2.3mb (size varies +-0.2mb)
time.com – 5 mb (size varies +-0.3mb) – yes, this one is huge
youtube.com – 3mb (size varies +-0.3mb)
As you can see all of these sites would take a lot of time to load for someone who has a connection of 500kbps. Factor in low reception and they become unusable.