“What Does My Site Cost?” Tells You How Much a Mobile Visitor Pays to See a Site

5437289693_8da3469a2c_bHere's a useful follow-up to one of the articles mentioned in this morning's links post.

With Apple and Google each offering a solution to the website obesity problem, everyone is well aware in 2016 that websites are often bloated messes that waste MBs of bandwidth on adverts and tracking scripts in order to deliver only a few thousand bytes of usable content.

And if you have ever wondered just how much that wasted bandwidth costs then I have just the site for you.

Launched last year (but only just now crossing my desk), "What Does My Site Cost?" computes the mobile data costs for almost any webpage. Give it a link and it will mash together data from  WebPageTest.org with publicly available average data costs from around the globe to tell you how big that web page is, and how much it would cost a mobile subscriber to browse the page.

The site is the inspiration of Tim Kadlec, who writes:

The web is not free. Data has a cost and that cost varies around the world. We’ve always sort of guessed that sites could be a little expensive in some areas, but other than a few helpful people tweeting how much certain sites cost while roaming, there wasn’t much in the way of hard data. So, I built What Does My Site Cost?.

WDMSC tells you the average cost of a page in various mobile market both in absolute terms as well as the affordability of the page.  The latter is determined in relation to each country's GNI (Gross national income) and displayed as a percentage.

The front page of this blog, for example, measures 1.7MB in size and costs 13 cents to download in the US. And yes, this is less a factual statistic than a ballpark estimate, but it's still a useful reminder of just how much the page costs my visitors.

To put it another way, I'm earning a few cents from each mobile visitor, and my ads are making them pay thirteen cents for the privilege.

That is wasteful, yes, but I'm not the only one with this type of hidden cost; the larger blogs are just as bloated as this blog if not worse.

A random article on Engadget weighs 2.4MB and costs 18 cents to deliver in the US, while a post from Gizmodo tips the scales at 2MB and costs 15 cents in the US. Android Police splits the difference at 2.2MB and a cost of 16 cents, and finally an article on Techcrunch weighs an impressive 4.8MB and costs 36 cents in the US for a mobile visitor to view.

Luckily there is a cure in the works. The content-blocking options in iOS9 and Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages project are both intended to improve the browsing experience by cutting out the cruft and (hopefully) making sites load up to five times faster, and thanks to "What Does My Site Cost?" we can see just how much these efforts will save users.

image by stevendepolo

About Nate Hoffelder (11263 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

5 Comments on “What Does My Site Cost?” Tells You How Much a Mobile Visitor Pays to See a Site

  1. “Because these numbers are based on the least expensive plan, they are best case scenarios” – I question this logic. I think this would make them worst-case scenarios. Working the math backwards it seems to estimate about $74/GiB for the US. I can tell you that if my 6 gig data plan cost $450 a month I’d change providers.

  2. Wow cool info. But since some subscribers are on unlimited data plans for fixed cost, this may not apply to them. However, it’s good to know the bandwidth consumption – one can also estimate the time taken for each page to load, and try to optimize.

  3. I’m happy to report that the front page of my gaming blog clocks in at 9 cents in Vanuatu, the country at the top of the list, and 2 cents in the US. My personal website doesn’t even register in most of the world — and I chose one of the heaviest pages. But my Tumblr? Yikes! $1.10 in the US. (With a “lightweight” theme, too!) It took the service over a minute just to perform the test! That’s just scary. How many potential readers I’m losing to the hubris of marketers and web developers?

  4. Follow-up to the above: by tweaking a number of options, I was able to trim down my Tumblr landing page by just over 40%, from $1.10 to $0.62. That still means most of the cruft is invisible overhead, and not a part of the content people see. But it *is* a big improvement, that should help not just mobile visitors but also those with traffic caps and slow broadband.

    Let’s make the Web light and fast again. Every little bit matters.

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