The Inefficient Websites, That Make up the Internet
Published: 16th of May 2019
When I first got online in the year 2000, most people were still accessing the internet through a dial-up connection, this meant that websites could not afford to waste that much bandwidth on junk that was irrelevant to show the information that the webmaster wanted the end user to see.
How Did Web Pages Get so Bulky?
In exploring why most websites appear to consistently more sluggish and inefficient, we need to look at one of the most classic examples of this sluggishness, which are newspapers websites that are consistently looking for new ways of generating revenue, due to the collapse of revenue coming from print sales.
The Inefficient Example
The newspaper website we are going to looking at today as an example is the Eastern Daily Press, whose website is located at edp24.co.uk, as their website is an example of everything that is Inefficient on the internet.
Looking at the EDP screenshot above, you will notice that about half of the width is taken up by adverts, with full back background and banner ads on show throughout their articles but that’s not all as the EDP are even showing those clickbaity Taboola ads, that just look super-tacky.
Those 1,000 requests are worse than the massive 6MB of resources as even tho HTTP/2 allows for requests to be multiplexed, no browser is going to multiplex 1,000 requests into one, which leaves the 6MB Web page taking between 20-30 seconds to load. This, as you can guess, is insanely slow.
The Rant Itself
It is funny when websites complain about visitors using a ad blocker when their method of monetizing requires sharing information with dozens of companies, which just comes off as lazy, as the type of websites that are the worst abusers for intrusive tracking (news media websites) are the ones who would be in the best position to bring ad sales in house and only have one set of basic trackers to combine with their known demo information.
But it is not just ads that are causing websites to become more Inefficient, there are many other factors causing the average website to become more Inefficient by the day, such as;
Web site owner using complex CMS, like WordPress
In the olden days, people would manually code their websites in HTML but as PHP applications like WordPress have become extremely popular with “webmasters”, who don’t want to be bothered with coding their websites and would prefer to just be able to use WordPress. The reason why someone would want to use WordPress is due to the “apparent” simplicity (its really complex in reality), luring people in who think they can just download a free theme and a few free plugins, while ignoring security updates and wondering why they have been hacked, not even going into how shitty programmed a lot of free themes.
99% of blogs, don’t need WordPress and should be using something like a static site generator, that would give them the theming they want, without the need to a complex PHP application, which will make their blog faster and much more secure.
Just be Good
Efficiency does not need to be hard, almost web browsers now include tools that will tell you if a resource is taking too long to load or render. Literally, less than an hours" work could massively speed up your website and maybe sticking out from the crowd and putting some effort on a static site generator like Hugo, would be even better.
Ultarmently, the best solution for a faster website will depend on what you want your website to do for you.