This question has me thinking. What is an acceptable web page size? With most people on connection speeds of greater than 500 kbits (approx. 62Kb p/sec) these days, is over 100Kb fair-game? I remember a quote from a web-optimization conference back in 2006 that ideally total payload for a single-page should be below 100Kb, but that was 2006! These days we have Web2.0 Javascript libraries to include, visually richer pages peppered with glossy images, bandwidth demands are greater and technology has enabled a richer web-browsing experience.

The size of the average web page has more than tripled since 2003. From 2003 to 2008 the average web page grew from 93.7K to over 312K

Based on simple linear projection this puts webpages at about 450Kb in 2009 with expectations in excess of 500Kb for 2010. So tonight I began surfing the internet to see what other people thought. The table below illustrates the typical demographic of network capabilities on one of our larger domains for an average month.

Connection Documented Transfer Speed *(A) Number of Visitors Percentage of Total
Cable 500 Kilobits p/sec (1 page p/sec) 127,957 57.10%
DSL 100 Kilobits to 8 Megabits p/sec (1 - 15 pages p/sec) 66,499 29.68%
T1 1.544 Megabit p/sec (3 pages p/sec) 20,618 9.20%
Dialup 56 Kilobits p/sec (3 pages p/min) 5,294 2.36%
OC3 155 Megabit p/sec (300 pages p/sec) 3,599 1.61%
ISDN 128 Kilobit p/sec (10 pages p/min) 111 0.05%

With well over 50% of our demographic now able to download over 62Kb p/sec (1 Kilobit = 0.125 Kilobytes), the old rule of  a payload of sub-100Kb sounds a little archaic. So I began to take a look at the page payload from some larger domains. Whilst our domain edges on the high-side it still sits within a respectable median and within the boundaries of websiteoptimization's earlier 300Kb payload observations.

Webpage Payload (bytes) *(B)
Facebook 'Wall' 168504 (164.55Kb) w/GZIP
Domain I'm Analyzing 225298 (220.02Kb) wo/GZIP 189600 (185.15Kb) w/GZIP 286521 (279.81Kb) w/GZIP 1731374 (1.65Mb!) w/GZIP
*(B) Calculated using Webpage Speed Report

So what is that magic number? The White House is pushing the boundaries at 1.65Mb, whereas Facebook, one of the richer Web2.0 applications on the internet sits at 164.55Kb. For me, personally, I'm happy to sit somewhere in the middle with Websiteoptimization's observation of 312Kb.

Further Reading