Chrome extensions increase CPU usage and slow down browsing

Rabia Noureen avatar. By: Rabia Noureen
3 minute read
chrome extensions slow browsing

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DebugBear recently analyzed 26 browser extensions to study their impact on browsing performance. The test was carried out on some of the most popular extensions such as  Adblock Plus, uBlock, HTTPS Everywhere, LastPass, and Grammarly among many others.

Browser extensions may slow down Chrome

The conclusions of this analysis are not at all surprising. They confirm what many users already noticed. Namely, certain browser extensions may increase power consumption and even slow down your browser.

This happens because these extensions put a strain on your CPU. Let’s look at some numbers to see which extensions require your CPU to do more work.

xtensionWhat is it?UsersExtra CPU time*
HoneyAutomatic coupon code finder10M+636ms
GrammarlyGrammar checker10M+324ms
Evernote ClipperSave web content to Evernote4.7M265ms
StayFocusdLimit time spent on websites700K224ms
LastPassPassword manager8M139ms

Things Chrome extension devs should consider

Chrome extension developers need to consider the following points in order to reduce the impact their products have on the browsing experience. Content scripts should be used on the domains as per the requirements.

Secondly, the content script should not be run on document_start. The developers should avoid overloading the code with JavaScript. As it can be loaded easily whenever you need to include the JS bundle. 

Main take aways

The researchers have also mentioned some key findings of the study. The performance cost of the single extension can be small but the combined performance cost might add up to a significantly large value.

The performance can significantly be improved by using privacy tools in those cases when the website is overloaded with analytics or ads. 

The study also has some limitations as well, it has only considered just a single browser i.e Google Chrome. We have to extend the research to some other popular browsers as well to find out how the results vary with respect to each browser.

Furthermore, the sample size should be kept large by increasing the number of extensions in future experiments.

In short, the study revealed that Honey and Grammarly are extremely slow as far as the browsing performance is concerned.browser extension slow browsing

The power consumption is usually increased when you have so many extensions installed in your system. The extension developers should follow the best practices in order to avoid performance problems in future.

Privacy is a major concern these days in view of the recent cyber attacks and data leaks by 3rd party apps and programs. Experts recommend that you should reduce the number of extensions installed in your browser.

That is the only way to increase your browser’s performance along with ensuring the safety of your sensitive data.


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Have you ever experienced similar problems while using Chrome extensions?

How many extensions have been currently installed in your browser? Which of the them do you think is the real culprit behind any performance issues that you may have experienced?

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