Why is there extra space on the right or on both the right and left of my site? Can I use that extra space for additional content?

If you see extra space to the right or on both the right and left of your site design, then your monitor settings are larger than the site width. Some users will see no extra space; it is entirely determined by the monitor resolution settings of the user. We design most sites at a fixed width to accommodate resolution settings of 1024×768 and higher; this is the accepted standard and will present your site in the best way for the vast majority of Internet users (see data below).

As of January 2013, the display resolution usage statistics are as follows:

1. Higher than 1024
90%

2. 1024 x 768
9%

3. 800 x 600
0.5%

4. 640 x 480
0%

5. Other
0.5%

Statistics provided by W3Schools

The other alternative is to build the site with tables set at 100%. In doing so, the width of the design would fill the user’s screen width, regardless of their settings. However, the downside to this method is that you lose precise control over the placement of the page’s design and content elements. They are stretched or condensed depending on the user. This can render an otherwise well-designed site strange-looking. The applicability of this method depends entirely on the site itself and whether the design, content and layout lend themselves to this treatment.

If you need to scroll left and right to view your site, your monitor settings are likely still set to the 800 pixel width. On a Windows computer, simply go to Control Panel > Appearance and Themes > Change the Screen Resolution. From there, change your setting from 800 to 1024.

Posted in: Site Development