The Largest Mobile Websites Keep Getting Larger

So, I was testing a mobile website with WebPageTest (and if you haven’t tested with WPT, you should be), and it came out weighing 2.3 MB.  I thought that was pretty big, but when I checked that against the HTTPArchive, and I was surprised to see that this was only a little bit below the average mobile webpage size:

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 2.30.34 PM.png

Rick Viscomi pointed out on Twitter that the median webpage size is 1.4 MB.  That got me thinking about the differences between average and median – and with that big a difference, I knew there must be a few outliers….

So I rolled up my sleeves in BigQuery to see where the 99th percentile was.   I half expected that these results would be nuts, and I was right.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 3.21.18 PM.png

There are 969 mobile webpages in the HTTPArchive in the 99.9th percentile – over 21.8 MB.  There are 347 sites over 25MB, 48 sites over 50MB, and 17 sites over 100 MB!

But the kicker here was the top app in the list.  Adding this line to my query:

ROUND(MAX(bytesTotal/1024/1024),1) as max

gives me a totally unexpected result of 2,855 MB!!!  I *might* have said a few words that were not appropriate for this blog post.

You will forgive me for not loading that page on my phone.  But, I *DID* use the WebPageTest phones to take a look.  (sorry Pat!)  There are 97 images – weighing in at 7.2 MB.  There are 3 movies (821, 233 and 446 MB each!) on the page.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 2.57.59 PM.png

I must admit – a SpeedIndex under 6000 for a site weighing in at 2.7 GB is pretty impressive.

All kidding aside, mobile websites are becoming more and more bloated, and when pages become this large, people may be surprised with unexpected phone bills – especially if they visit these sites more than once a month.

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