Web 2.0 bloat trebles web's waistline

Go on, embed my widget... it's only waffferr thiiin

homeless man with sign

The web is getting fatter faster than a middle-aged November goose on an all-spaghetti diet, thanks to webmasters and bloggers greasing their pages with Web 2.0 lard.

The mean size of a web page has more than trebled since 2003 from 97.3KB to more than 312KB, according to a review of available research by WebsiteOptimization.com.

The mean number of objects per page has meanwhile near-doubled from 25.7 to 49.9. The authors blame external objects for the majority of delays experienced by web browsers.

The last calendar year saw sites really pack on the data poundage with widgets, gadgets, web crapps, embedded video and other mashtastic tinsel. The average page swelled by more than 60KB to 312KB by the end of December. Projections put next new year's weigh-in at 385KB.

While broadband connections have more than kept pace with the rapidly fattening web, those stuck using dial-up are increasingly marginalised, unable to view many sites unless they plan a weekend around it.

There's plenty of fodder in the report for the growing chorus of Chicken Littles squawking about the danger of the online video boom breaking the internet. The authors cite data that ten per cent of YouTube videos account for 80 per cent of streaming traffic, and use it to suggest that cached content delivery networks (as being considered by the BBC for iPlayer) are becoming an increasingly appealing proposition to improve performance.

The increase in mean length of web video means more users are experiencing frustrations with rebuffering. According to the report, 87 per cent of web video streaming sessions are abandoned in the first ten seconds.

You can read the report, with references, here. ®

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