[ACCEPTED]-Is there a maximum size that web pages should be kept under?-performance

Accepted answer
Score: 16

Size isn't everything. What matters is performance. Better 9 even: perceived performance. There are many 8 ways to make a website feel faster than 7 it really is. Some of these techniques can 6 even increase your absolute page size in 5 bytes (e.g. adding more javascript logic 4 to it).

Test your websites with a tool like 3 Yahoo! YSlow and stop focussing on page size. That's 2 just one factor of website performance and 1 not even the most important one.

Score: 6

Depending on the connection you want the 9 page loading in as less time as possible. Less 8 than 4 seconds is optimal.

"A study 7 conducted by leading web traffic controller 6 Akamai Technologies revealed that a poorly 5 designed website loses a full 30 percent 4 of its customers within a few seconds. The same study also found that if a site takes longer than four seconds to load, 75 percent of viewers won’t bother to return to it." http://www.ianbrodie.com/get-clients-online/lose-website-visitors-in-5-minutes/

More 3 important than size is following some simple 2 rules and best practices.
Best Practices for Up Your Web Site

So a rough estimate 1 would be

Broadband connections   ~200K
Dialup connections      ~50k
Mobile connections      ~100K
Score: 3

limit 10 TCP packets (~14 kb)

Due to how 22 TCP estimates the capacity of a connection 21 (i.e. TCP Slow Start), a new TCP connection 20 cannot immediately use the full available 19 bandwidth between the client and the server. Because 18 of this, the server can send up to 10 TCP 17 packets on a new connection (~14KB) in first 16 roundtrip, and then it must wait for client 15 to acknowledge this data before it can grow 14 its congestion window and proceed to deliver 13 more data.

Due to this TCP behavior, it is 12 important to optimize your content to minimize 11 the number of roundtrips required to deliver 10 the necessary data to perform the first 9 render of the page. Ideally, the ATF content should 8 fit under 14KB - this allows the browser 7 to paint the page after just one roundtrip. Also, it 6 is important to note that the 10 packet 5 (IW10) limit is a recent update to the TCP 4 standard: you should ensure that your server 3 is upgraded to latest version to take advantage 2 of this change. Otherwise, the limit will 1 likely be 3-4 packets!


Score: 1

Depends on the page really. If your page 26 is an informative one, you'll have lots 25 of HTML (text) content. But if your page 24 is more graphical (like a store department 23 page showing images of products), you'll 22 have lots of images.
Images are much heavier 21 than text (a single image could be 50K, which 20 is like 10 pages of text).
You also need 19 to consider the size of CSS files, javascripts, etc. But 18 they're cached so they only matter for the 17 initial 'load'.
Having said that, you could 16 set a target of 100-200k (mixed text/images) max 15 per page. More than that and slower connections 14 will take a while to load.
Most probably 13 you don't know who's going to visit your 12 page (mobile, broadband or dialup), so you 11 should try to reach a common ground (or 10 design different pages for different targets, but 9 this is a pain to maintain in the long run 8 as your site expands). I think 100-200k 7 is ok for most cases.
If you have pages 6 that are necessarily big, you can still 5 achieve this, there are several tricks you 4 can use, like image compression (using 90% quality 3 JPGs), javascript/ajax to load content on 2 demand, minifying the files (CSS, javascript), using 1 site compression (gzip), etc.

Score: 0

Your 'maximum' size really depends on a 11 lot.

Your audience:

  • What type of connection do they have
  • What load time are they expecting
  • What content are they expecting

Your content

  • What content are you trying to present

The functionality

  • How does your site load the content
  • Do users need to move through the site and fetch multiple pages regularly or are there large pauses before they move

For 10 any site though, keep your page as small 9 as possible. Good design is about taking 8 things away until you're left with what 7 you need. The base HTML should be a few 6 kb, the CSS a few kb, and if you're loading 5 scripts and images load them last.

With a 4 smaller page, your site loads faster, which 3 means your users feel more engaged and your 2 page gets indexed better.

Response times 1 for users: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/response-times.html

Response times for google: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html

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