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How to increase the size of your page without affecting your performance

The following is a guest post from Director Global Service Delivery Patrice Boffa and Associate Solutions Architect Seema Puthyapurayil.

We know that the average page size tends to increase overtime; we can confirm this statement using the available Web performance data in Google BigQuery and HTTP Archive. 

Analyzing the HTTP Archive data for + 300,000 popular sites in the last nine months, we can validate that the average page size increased by about 20%.

Total Bytes per Web site


Being the market leader we are constantly challenged to prove our acceleration services can improve the performance of any Web site. 

What public data is available to validate the fact that Akamai can make Web site faster even if they improve their page sizes?

To answer the question, we query HTTP Archive for the latest 1,000 Web sites that started using Akamai services in the last nine months. The HTTP Archive recorded the Web sites information twice a month and we analyzed the data before and after turning on Akamai services for those 1,000 Web sites. 

Fully loaded time

We decided to focus on "Fully Loaded time" that is measured as the time from the start of the initial navigation until there is 2 seconds of no network activity after Document Complete.  This will usually include any activity that is triggered by JavaScript after the main page loads.


The results for those 1000 Web sites show about a 35% fully loaded time improvement, it's a good number but we were expecting better.

Total Bytes per page

We also looked at the "Total bytes" per page to validate that if we were comparing "Fully Loaded time" numbers, we were actually downloading the same amount of data with Akamai than without Akamai.


The analysis results show on average a 4% increase in the page size the month after customers start using Akamai. 


The last metric we decided to look at is the "Speed Index", the Speed Index measures rendering speed; it's the average time (in milliseconds) at which visible parts of the page are displayed in the user browser. This gives a measurement around the user's perception of Web site speed.


The data shows on average an improvement of 12% of the Speed Index if we compare the before and after Akamai.

Akamai Professional Services team is key in helping customers get the most performance from their Web sites, by assessing their current applications and advising on the high performance best practices observed across the industry, tailoring them to our customers specific initiatives while helping them accomplish their performance goals efficiently.

Yes - you can increase the size of your page without affecting your performance by using Akamai delivery services. The analysis of a larger sample of Web sites (1,000 sites) over the last nine months using public accessible data (HTTP Archive and Google BigQuery) validated that Akamai services have successfully accelerated Web sites performance. The two main conclusions are that Akamai improves:

  • Akamai improves the overall Fully loaded page times and the Site Speed Index considerably. 
  • The improvements of those two indicators seem to allow our customers to provide a more rich experience to their end-users by increasing the Total Bytes per page.

1 Comment

Interesting data.

It sounds like you collected data at two points in time, i.e. 'before' and 'after' a site began using Akamai, instead of testing both cases coincident in time, to control for external changes.

How did you control for changes to the sites, over time, that could have impacted speed, such as a redesign coincident with beginning to use Akamai?

The time period over which you gathered data (past 9 months) includes the change, in mid-March, of the network speed used for testing, from DSL (1.5 Mbps/384 Kbps, 50ms RTT) to Cable (5/1 Mbps, 28ms RT). How did you control for this change, as it would clearly improve measured speeds?