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The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

BFG? More like BFHTTP, amiright?

The average web page is now roughly the same size as the full install image for the classic DOS game Doom, apparently.

This is according to Ronan Cremin, a lead engineer with Afilias Technologies and dotMobi's representative for the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

Cremin points to data from the HTTP Archive showing that, at 2.3MB, the average page is now the same size as the original DOS install of the id Software mega-hit.

The HTTP Archive report places the average web page at around 2,301KB. This is smaller than Doom's 2,393KB footprint, but only slightly.

Most of the page bloat is due to images, which take up on average 1,463KB of data. Next is script code, which occupies 360KB, followed by video, averaging 200KB per page.

Cremin notes that the growing size of pages isn't exactly a good thing, and is an indication of how wasteful some sites have become in the era of prevalent broadband connections.

"Recall that Doom is a multi-level first person shooter that ships with an advanced 3D rendering engine and multiple levels, each comprised of maps, sprites and sound effects," he said.

"By comparison, 2016's web struggles to deliver a page of web content in the same size. If that doesn't give you pause, you're missing something."

Cremin also points out that while the average page size across the web has swollen, the top sites have in fact gotten smaller. HTTP Archive figures show that the top 10 Alexa-ranked sites have in fact dropped their average page size, suggesting that developers are finally starting to wake up to page bloat.

"Readers will point out that some of the top sites are search engines and thus they have an easier job in keeping things light, but even so the second point still stands: they are getting lighter, not heavier," Cremin said.

"Note also that the top ten websites list includes some relatively rich sites such as Amazon."

There's also the fact that we're no longer living in a world of PCs with 4MB of RAM, 33MHz processors, text-only BBSes and 33kbps modems – everything's scaled up, including the complexity and size of internet downloads. But you, dear Reg reader, aren't really thinking about that, are you? You've been thinking about playing Doom since about the third paragraph. Fine then, here you go... ®

Full disclosure: our average article page weight is about 400KB if you fetch everything fresh.

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