How to Fix a Slow Browser

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How to Fix a Slow Browser

Sometimes, your internet feels heavier than normal because of a slow browser. Fortunately, there are several quick fixes to improve the speed of your browser, whether you’re using Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera, and other web browsers. 

Below are some common reasons why browsers go slow and tried-and-tested ways to solve this problem

  1. Heavy or Too Many Browser Extensions

When I discovered Chrome browser extensions (the browser I used for work) years back, I went crazy and enabled over a dozen at a time that I thought I needed. Turns out, what I needed was a browser that runs as smoothly as possible. With a ton of “gadgets” making the browser run heavily, it affected everything from the movement of the cursor, to the changing between tabs. 

The lag occurs because each of those browser extensions uses plenty of system resources. Fortunately, this dilemma may be common, but easy to fix. 

  • Audit your browser extensions at least twice a year. You might have needed an extension for one time, and never used it since. Sometimes, you might even find extensions you didn’t download yourself. 
  • If you have decided which extensions to keep, list them down. Disable all extensions and start fresh by reinstalling only the ones you’ll need.
  • Check if you’re running the latest versions of these extensions. They should be updated automatically, but if your browser is slowing down, it might be good to check and manually update if necessary.
  1. Overloaded Cache and Cookies

Everyone should learn how to clear cache and cookies safely because every time you use your browser to shop online or research something on the web, the browser collects “or caches” some files so whenever you revisit these sites, the cached files load up to help improve your browsing experience. This way, the browser would only download newer files from these websites and you wouldn’t have to wait longer. 

The process of caching DOES help load websites quicker, but caches add up eventually and could cause problems. To prevent this, clear your cache manually every quarter or so. While you’re at it, clear your cookies as well.  

  1. Open Tabs All Using Up Energy

I know it isn’t easy to keep your tabs minimal, especially if your school or work involves being online. However, if you’re experiencing a different kind of lag with your browsers even after you’ve cleared cache and unloaded unnecessary extensions, then you might have to trim down open tabs to save resources. 

In general, the more tabs you have open, the slower your browser runs. There are some solutions you might try as an alternative to keeping a lot of tabs open all the time. 

For example:

  • Manage bookmarks. All browsers have a form of bookmark manager, which lets you organize your saved bookmarks by folder. You can make this as extensive as you want, or not. 
  • Use a tab management extension or service. My favorite on Chrome is TabMark – it’s a speed dial that lets you customize each “tab” so you can bring all work-related sites on one page, then all social-media sites on another, and so on. 
  • Use a read-it-later app. Service providers like Instapaper and Pocket let you save web content so you could “read it later” on any device you have linked. So if you save it on your desktop at work and decide to read it on your commute home, it’s possible and frees up open tabs completely. 

And then there are extensions like Max Tabs (on Firefox) that ensure you never go over the optimal number of open tabs. It notifies you whenever you hit the limit, so you can decide which tab to remove and keep. 

  1. Outdated Browsers

Browsers should be able to update automatically, every time you close the program or shut your computer down. But in cases where you never shut down or disable automatic updates, your browsers would remain the version you downloaded and bugs (or other issues) won’t be fixed. 

New updates are done specifically to get issues fixed and in turn, make your slow browser run a lot faster. 

  1. Virus or Hardware Issues

If the browser is slow, but you’ve tried all browser-related solutions, the problem might be something much bigger like a virus or hardware issues that affect the speed of all your programs (on the PC) and apps (on your mobile devices). Of course, this includes your browser. 

This would be trickier to diagnose manually because there could literally be dozens of causes. Fortunately, a good antivirus software or app can detect and solve the issue for you. In most cases, if all other programs or apps resumed as normal, this should also fix your slow browser problem. 

There are slight differences in methods if you’re using a computer (Mac vs. Windows PC), or a smartphone, tablet, and other portable gadgets. But the idea is the same. If you perform the steps above religiously, you can even prevent slow browser issues in the future.

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