How much is it costing you to download that Internet page?

Written 2007/12/11, modified 2008/12/10
Feedback welcome: contact, email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com


Main headings on this page

News services
News services: local
Search engines
Weather services
Miscellaneous pages
Some of us have contracts where our download speed is cut right back after our total download for the month reaches a certain point. Or you might, like me, pay by the kilobyte for your internet connection. Either way you need to know which sites to avoid if you are not to pay more than you should.

How many pages can I download in a month if my monthly download limit is 250MB?

Page sizeNumber of pages
25kB10 000

How much will it cost for a 40-page session if I'm paying $25 for 250MB?

Page sizeCost per session

A very large page of text might be only a few kilobytes. Pages that come with a few modest pictures will probably get up into a hundred kilobytes or more. Excessive advertising and other overheads on some pages means that you are downloading hundreds of kilobytes of rubbish that you don't need, don't want, and that costs you money. Other sites come with movie clips that can make your computer download megabytes.

The data listed on this page show that some Internet page downloads are less than 20kB while others are more than 3000kB (3MB). Often it is very hard to see why there should be such a big difference; the little page might have as much useful content as the big page.

When recording these data I found that as far as on-line news was concerned, if the advertising and other unnecessary clutter wasn't there I'd have no need for broadband. For example, the text in an article I looked up in Fairfax's Canberra Times was 6kB while to download the whole page including crap, my computer logged up 605kB! From my point of view, that's 99% rubbish, 1% content!

Sites like the Australian ABC on-line, Google News, Yahoo, Flickr, Wikipedia, and even this page (about 25kB), show that it is easy to write an Internet page that is economical and quick to download.

I hope that this page might help to show a few people some of the pages that can be economically used without worrying about crashing your download limit and at least a few pages that should be avoided.

Statistics from downloading some Internet pages

In the tables below I compare the bytes needed to transfer the text and image content with the size of the whole page download. The times listed are for a 1.5Mbps 'broadband' connection.

Pages that use your resources carefully are background colour Economical
Pages that are extravagent with your money are tagged with yellow Extravagant
Even worse are those marked in red Very extravagant
Ridiculously large pages are marked in black Outrageous


PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
Aust. National Forum 105 112008/01/22http://portal.nationalforum.com.au/
259222008/01/22 http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/
156192008/01/22 Posting in reply
Blogspot - www.blogger.com 2382007/12/26Home page
132252007/12/26View a comment
556 432007/12/26 To the 'Post a comment' page
Eric Shackle's eBook136 222007/12/11Commentory (Aust.)
Gippsland Friends of Future Generations16 132008/01/19http://ffggippsland.blogspot.com/
This page that you are reading now30 92007/12/22 For comparison
One of my biggest pages (RealUSA, on Geocities) 240132007/12/11 For comparison. RealUSA contains about 70 screens-full of text, photos, and graphs.

News services

PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
ABC (Aust) News139 142007/12/22Main news page (www.abc.net.au)
42232007/12/11A news story
1442007/12/22Search based on a 'tag'
ABC (US) News 603 322007/12/11 
Adelaide Advertiser 1470 1082007/12/22Murdoch (www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/)
Adelaide Independent Media 225132007/12/22 Home page (www.adelaide.indymedia.org.au)
Associated Content, Denver, USA 517362007/12/23"The People's Media Company"
The Australian 264222007/12/11Murdoch
The Age (Aust) 499 262007/12/11Fairfax
BBC (UK) 344 282007/12/23 Home page (news.bbc.co.uk)
Canberra Times (Aust) 605 432007/12/11Fairfax
Actual text of article, 6kB
The Daily Green 1382+ 60+2008/01/03Stopped before download finished
Green Directory 326372008/02/16 Green News - a very large page of links to news items, http://www.greendirectory.net/news/.
2052008/02/16A news page
Energy Central Network 393 282007/12/22 Energy news (www.energycentral.com)
Google News528 2007/12/11news.google.com.au
Indymedia 263 182008/01/21Independent Media Center; http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml
221122008/01/21 http://www.adelaide.indymedia.org.au/
Independent Weekly 1716 752008/01/01Home page
Melbourne Herald Sun (Aust) 363232007/12/11 Murdoch
On Line Opinion 258262008/01/10 www.onlineopinion.com.au
San Fransisco Chronicle293 302007/12/22www.sfgate.com
Socialist Alliance164 102007/12/22www.socialist-alliance.org
Stuff.co.nz 290182007/12/26 On-line news service
Sydney Morning Herald (Aust) 291212007/12/11  
Times Online (London) 193 302007/12/11 

News services: local

PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
Bega Dist. News455 662008/02/07http://bega.yourguide.com.au/
Clare Northern Argus 579362007/12/11 Fairfax
Eyre Peninsula Tribune 574 352008/01/18http://www.cleve.yourguide.com.au/, Fairfax
Port Lincoln Times 670392007/12/11  
Port Pirie Recorder 467 312008/02/09 
Yorke Peninsula Country Times12013 2007/12/11Independent (www.ypct.com.au)
Whyalla News 631402007/12/22 http://whyalla.yourguide.com.au/news/local/

It seems to me, at this stage, that many of the news services are among the most irresponsible sites on the Internet, in terms of advertising overhead that is wasting Net resources and wasting user's money.


PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
ExplorOz 977 582008/12/10 http://www.exploroz.com/Places/. A map site; similar to Google Earth
742 432008/12/10 Run a search. The high data transfer on this site may be unavoidable.
Free online dictionary 1692008/01/03 www.free-online-dictionary.org
Open Directory34 82007/12/26To Home page (www.dmoz.org)
Wikipedia60 102007/12/21To home page
Wikimedia (species)126 132007/12/24species.wikimedia.org
Answers.com 293272007/12/24 My impression is that this site copies content that it finds elsewhere and adds advertising.

Environmental reference

PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
Green Builder54 92007/12/27Home page (www.greenbuilder.com)
36102007/12/27 One of many informative pages on green and sustainable building (www.greenbuilder.com/sourcebook/LandscapingEnergy.html)
Green Building Worldwide 962 472007/12/26Home page (www.greenbuildingworldwide.com)
460 262007/12/26Green buildings by country
Green Living Pedia 1048 632007/12/26Home page (includes an interactive map) (www.greelivingpedia.org)
283282007/12/26 CERES Eco House

Search engines

PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
Clusty27 52007/12/11Load search page
55102007/12/11Run a search
Google9 22007/12/11Load search page
1132007/12/11Run a search
MSN242 272008/01/20Load search page

Weather services

PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
Bureau of Meteorology 607 2007/12/22Home page
uk.weather.com110 192007/12/2210 day forecast page
www.eldersweather.com.au 438 2007/12/227 day forecast page


PageKBTime (sec)DateNotes
Aust. Bus. Council Sustainable Energy154 102007/12/25Home page
505222007/12/25 Wind projects page. Careless site writing; big images in small boxes.
Australian Greens
(Political party)
3490+130+ 2007/12/11I stopped this download before it finished! The page includes a highly extravagant movie.
Crikey 3637+ 120+2007/12/21To home page. Again, I stopped the download.
Dodo162 182007/12/25To home page
Facebook12 102007/12/21Home page
228~602008/05/17 Home page; much slower than earlier connection
GetUp!20715 2007/12/22Community action group (Australia)
Google Earth2900 2002008/01/13Around the world and zoom in
1600 2008/01/13Find exact location, zoom in further, tilt
The high data transfer is probably unavoidable in the circumstances, but use Google Earth cautiously if you have data limits.
Facebook 429282008/12/11 Home page
Flickr839 2007/12/11To home page
Jacquie Lawson Greeting Card 835332007/12/23 Included sound recording and animation
Popular Mechanics 1401 ~902008/01/13An informative page (http://www.popularmechanics.com/)
W3C Markup Validation Service 2852007/12/26HTML checker, home page
Yahoo mail47 122007/12/11To load log-on page
27038 2007/12/11From log-on to mail in-box


On this page...
ABC (Aust)
Adelaide Advertiser (Aust)
Adelaide Independent Media
Aust. Bus. Council Sustainable Energy
Aust. Greens
Canberra Times (Aust)
Clare Northern Argus (S Aust)
Crikey (Aust)
Energy Central
Environmental reference
Google Earth
Google News
Google search
Green Building
Green Building Worldwide
Green Living Pedia
London Times
Melbourne Herald Sun
Miscellaneous pages
News services
News services: local
Popular Mechanics
Port Lincoln Times (S Aust)
Search engines
Sydney Morning Herald
The Age (Aust)
The Australian
W3C Markup Validation Service
Weather - BoM (Aust)
Weather services
Whyalla News
Yahoo mail
Yorke Peninsula Country Times (S Aust)