Performance Trends For Top Sites On The Web

Steve Souders posted an update on the HTTP performance trends for top sites, based on data gathered via http://httparchive.org/. Here are the bottom line numbers:

Here’s a recap of the performance indicators from Nov 15 2010 to Aug 15 2011 for the top ~13K websites:

  • total transfer size grew from 640 kB to 735 kB
  • requests per page increased from 69 to 76
  • sites with redirects went up from 58% to 64%
  • sites with errors is up from 14% to 25%
  • the use of Google Libraries API increased from 10% to 14%
  • Flash usage dropped from 47% to 45%
  • resources that are cached grew from 39% to 42%

I was surprised by the total transfer size increase. If you followed that trend on a weekly basis, every Friday for the last 9 months you added another 2.6 kB to the total transfer size of your site. Not much for any given week, but it adds up fast.

3 Comments

  1. It would also be interesting to add in there the bandwidth speed improvments. We may also add the advent of “modern”/fast JS interpreters and I’m pretty sure the web is “faster” than ever :)

  2. There are a number of things that we could add to come up with some sort of ‘is the web getting faster’ metric, but many of those aren’t easily or reliably quantifiable. So while this data might not be perfect, it is something that is at least trackable, and therefore something that we can look for trends.

    The single largest increase (in terms of raw kB) came from images, so more bandwidth would help there, but faster Javascript execution wouldn’t. On the bandwidth front things are strange too. More people have better access to higher speed connections at their homes and offices, but are frequently using mobile connections that much slower. So you end up with this odd 3 steps forward 2 back series of trends.

  3. Also from an important statistics point of view, more or less related to your performance recap; how are other large sites deal with their bounce rate? I get average 3+ minutes in visitors spending on my pages. And still bounce rate grows due to many ‘other visitors’ I reckon only micro-browse the web for a quick content that they could adopt or borrow or something like that to reproduce. As I see it, Google is aware of this phenomena. Lovely. I am only ~300K rank.

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