Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bigger web-page sizes eat up data

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TORONTO -- Think viewing a few websites on a smartphone doesn't use much data? Think again.

The average size of a web page continues to grow unabated, a trend mobile users in particular should note.

According to the website HTTP Archive, which regularly studies the top 10,000 most-visited sites online, the average web page now has about 1.3 megabytes, up about 35 per cent in the last year.

It's not a big data hit when accessing the web at home, but it's a different story for users with limited data allowances for their mobile phones.

And don't be fooled by the look of streamlined mobile-friendly sites sometimes displayed on smartphones and tablets. While those sites strip away much of the visual excess that doesn't translate well to a small screen, they're not always a lean download.

HTTP Archive suggests the average web page when browsing on a mobile device -- accounting for the fact some websites have mobile-optimized pages and others don't -- is about 720 kilobytes.

"That is quite large. That size has really grown a fair bit," says Guy Podjarny, an Ottawa web-performance researcher who works for the company Akamai.

"Anything that is over the 700-kilobytes or 800-kilobytes range I would mark as too heavy for mobile."

Part of the growth in web-page size can be attributed to the demand for more esthetically pleasing designs with more multimedia, Podjarny says.

Plus, users equipped with high-end smartphones and monitors are now viewing the web with super-sharp screens, a trend that's pushed web developers to use better -- and larger to download -- images.

 

-- The Canadian Press

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2013 B11

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