HTTP Archive’s Annual State of the Web Report

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The HTTP Archive looked at more than 7 million websites and compiled their annual report detailing how the sites were built. And there’s an enormous wealth of information about how the web changed in 2020. In fact, this report is more like an enormous book and it’s entirely fabulous. The data comes from making queries to the HTTP Archive and is broken down into various sections, such as Performance, Security, and the languages themselves, including how folks wrote HTML or CSS.

Here’s what the report has to say about the CSS they scanned:

While JavaScript far surpasses CSS in its share of page weight, CSS has certainly grown in size over the years, with the median desktop page loading 62 KB of CSS code, and 1 in 10 pages loading more than 240 KB of CSS code. Mobile pages do use slightly less CSS code across all percentiles, but only by 4 to 7 KB. While this is definitely greater than previous years, it doesn’t come close to JavaScript’s whopping median of 444 KB and top 10% of 1.2 MB

Gasp! And here’s a shocking bit of info that shortly follows:

[…] only about 7% of pages concentrate all their CSS code in one remote stylesheet, as we are often taught to do. In fact, the median page contains 3 <style> elements and 6 (!) remote stylesheets, with 10% of them carrying over 14 <style> elements and over 20 remote CSS files! While this is suboptimal on desktop, it really kills performance on mobile, where round-trip latency is more important than raw download speed.

I sort of want to quote the whole section about CSS specifically because there’s a lot of interesting facts that show how we, as a community, have a lot of work to do to improve performance and spread the good word about CSS optimization.

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