Google Chrome May Soon Warn You If A Website Is Too Fat

Image: Google

Thanks to faster internet and more mindful designers, websites are mostly quick to load these days. But on bandwidth-restricted and low-power devices, loading times remain a concern. An upcoming change in Chrome looks to warn you when a site is trying to stuff too much down the pipeline — and let you halt the process.

The feature is called "Heavy Page Capping", as Martin Brinkmann over a gHacks explains and the description for the setting itself can be found in the Chromium source:

const char kEnableHeavyPageCappingName[] = "Heavy Page Capping";
const char kEnableHeavyPageCappingDescription[] =
    "Enable showing an InfoBar on data heavy pages that allows the user to "
    "pause sub-resource request loading on the page. Using the 'Low' option "
    "will reduce the triggering threshold 1MB.";

While not available in the Stable channel, you can check page capping out in Canary. Indeed, three options are available when you hit up chrome://flags/#enable-heavy-page-capping: "Disabled", "Enabled" and "Enabled (Low)".

It's not clear how much it takes to trigger the non-low settings, but 1MB should catch large images and other bandwidth-intensive media. When it is triggered, you'll see a warning bar appear below the address bar, accompanied by a "Stop loading" link.

Because the flag is only in Canary, there are no guarantees it will ever make it to Stable and even if it does, it might remain disabled. Still, I can see the benefits for mobile Chrome and laptops, where conserving data or power is paramount. [GitHub, via gHacks]


    Thanks to faster internet and more mindful designers, websites are mostly quick to load these days.

    I dunno about more mindful designers... so many sites are bloated with ads and unnecessary video and images that it's kinda ridiculous just how much bandwidth we use. Hell, according to Vivaldi this page was over 1.1MB.

    I’m on a small mobile plan and hate to say it LH but my fave Allure Media sites are the worst for eating through my mobile plan. I avoid checking in if I’m connecting via mobile.

    Lifehacker, you may want to look at chromes development tools, to clean up your own act before this comes into effect, the performance audit tab for this page shows with all ads and tracking scripts allowed

    Page size: 2,316 KB,
    Javascript run time: 4,950ms
    and from no prior cached state, your site takes about 7 seconds to display any part of the articles.

    Most of this appears to be from loading images that are not currently on screen before loading the main article and visible images.

    I understand you want to cram ads at us to pay for the articles, just maybe not at the expense of actually failing to show the article in a reasonable time frame.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now