, 5 min read

Member of 512KB club

Original post is here eklausmeier.goip.de/blog/2023/05-19-member-of-512kb-club.

1. Motivation. I had written on the growing size of web pages: Average Size of Web Pages plus Prediction. Once I moved my blog from WordPress to Simplified Saaze hosted on my own equipment, I got the hang on optimizing the download speed of my pages. I wrote a number of posts on this.

  1. I started with speed-testing my blog in Speed-Tests With Pingdom.com, starting with 332KB for a mini page. That was clearly unacceptable.
  2. When you realize that you are too fat, you have to conduct a diet. I dumped Tailwind CSS, bringing down the mini page to 3KB. I also checked the other CSS libraries here: Bandwidth Diet for This Blog.
  3. Accelerating Page Load Times by Reducing Requests -- I started with load times of ca. 1.67 seconds, which I reduced initially to 244ms.
  4. Accelerating Page Load Times by Reducing Requests, Part #2 -- here I systematically reduced the number of requests needed to fully load my pages, even when that meant to slightly increase the size of the page.
  5. I analyzed a particular slow website, which is now no longer slow: Analysis of Website Performance
  6. I analyzed a "big" website, i.e., a website with lots of images and made it fast by using Simplified Saaze and applying above recommendations: Analysis of Website Performance #2

2. The 512KB club. There is a "club" of websites, which strive to be lean. This "club" was founded by Kev Quirk. As of 18-May-2023 I am now a member of the 512kB club. In particular, I am a member of the "highest rank" within the 512kb club, the "green team".

There are three teams:

  1. Green team with websites being smaller than 100KB
  2. Orange team with weight less than 250KB
  3. Blue team with less than 512KB

Measurement is done on the uncompressed size of the website. Most webservers compress the webpage automatically, when they send the page to the browser. For example, Hiawatha sends pages automatically compressed by gzip.

The 512KB club wants to showcase to the world that good looking websites don't need to be especially huge in page size. From the club homepage:

When popular website like The New York Times are multiple MB in size (nearly 50% of which is JavaScript!), you know there’s a problem. Why does any site need to be that huge? It’s crazy.

The 512KB Club is a collection of performance-focused web pages from across the Internet.

Of course, it is very easy to create a "hello world" HTML page, or just pin down some random links, but that is not the point, and the members of the 512KB club are checked. In my case, Gerrit Franke checked the details. From the 512KB FAQ:

The whole point of the 512KB Club is to showcase what can be done with 512KB of space. Anyone can come along and make a <10KB site containing 3 lines of CSS and a handful of links to other pages.

That's NOT a good showcase of what can be done with 512KB.

What we're looking for are sites with interesting design concepts that prove 512KB is a load of space that you can do so much with.

The page size is checked with GTmetrix.com.

3. The 10KB club. There is another club of websites, which strives for even smaller pagesizes. This 10KB club (dead link as of 2024) requires your webpage to be less than 10KB, but compression is allowed. This blog is not a member of this 10KB club. Even with Brotli compression this blog would not meet the club's criteria. The 10KB club homepage is roughly 34KB in size. After compression with gzip it is 7KB. With Brotli compression it has 5.7KB.

This very page has below sizes. First the raw markdown file. Then the file after adding header, footer, all CSS, references to other pages, etc. Then the HTML page with either gzip or Brotli compression. As one can see this whole header, footer, CSS stuff multiplies the size by roughly four. After compression the size is roughly two-times.

Computing filesizes Bytes
wc Markdown-file 8,216
curl ... | wc 33,307
curl ... | gzip -c | wc 15,825
curl ... | brotli -c | wc 13,674

Added 20-Jan-2024: As of January 2024 I am also a member of the 250KB club, see Member of 250KB club.