Chrome slow? 9 great tips to help you speed up Google’s browser

By: Matthew Adams
5 minute read
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Google Chrome is the browser of choice for many because it’s also one of the fastest. It has lots of features and extensions that can boost browsing speed. However, Chrome is also fairly system resource heavy, which can slow browsing down considerably on more outmoded desktops and laptops. So if your Chrome browser is off the pace, this is how you can give it a speed boost.

1. Cut Back Chrome Extensions

Extensions can enhance Google Chrome in many ways. Some extensions can even speed up Chrome, but most don’t. All the extensions inflate Chrome’s RAM usage, so the browser becomes all the more resource heavy with extra add-ons. As such, switching superfluous extensions off will speed the browser up.

  • To disable extensions, click the Customize Google Chrome button at the top right of browser.
  • Select More tools > Extensions to open the tab in the snapshot directly below that lists add-ons.

  • Now click the Enabled check boxes to switch extensions off.
  • Alternatively, you can click a Remove from Chrome option to delete extensions.

2. Switch Flash Off

Now most browsers are moving toward HTML 5, plug-ins are increasingly antiquated. Chrome only supports the Flash plug-in, which you can switch off to speed up the browser. That will also ensure Flash content doesn’t load on pages, but switching the plug-in off speeds browsing up nonetheless.

  • Enter ‘chrome://settings/content’ in the browser’s URL bar and press Return.
  • Then you can select Flash to open the options below.

  • Now you can switch Allow sites to run Flash setting to Block sites from running Flash.
  • Alternatively, if you keep Flash on select the Ask First option. Then Flash becomes a click-to-play plug-in.

3. Turn on Chrome’s Prefetch Option

Google Chrome has a page prefetching service that caches resources for linked pages which the browser anticipates you might open. So if you do click the hyperlinks, the pages will open more quickly. As such, prefetching is a great addition to Chrome that speeds up browsing. You can switch the prefetch option on as follows.

  • Click the Customize Google Chrome button to open the browser’s menu, and select Settings from there.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the Settings tab and click Advanced.
  • Then select the Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly option to switch the prefetch on.

4. Remove Images From Websites

Images certainly increase page load times. So removing image content from websites will also speed up browsing. You don’t need an extension to remove pictures from sites as Chrome now includes a Do not show any images option. You can configure that setting as follows.

  • Click the Customize Google Chrome button, and select Settings to open further browser options.
  • Click Advanced to expand the options on the Settings tab, and then you can click Content Settings to configure the website content displayed.
  • Now click Images to open the options directly below. Click Show all (recommended) to switch that setting to Do not show any images.

5. Remove Ads from Websites

Ads are another thing that can considerably slow down browsing. Ads are similar to images as they add lots of extra content to pages. So removing ads from website pages is another good way to speed up Chrome. The browser doesn’t include any built-in options to remove ads with, but there are various ad-blocker extensions that will do the trick.

The uBlock Origin ad blocker is one that you can add to Google Chrome. The good thing about the uBlock extension is that it’s more system resource efficient than other alternatives. The extension also blocks pop ups and other media elements on website pages. You can add it to Chrome from this website page. Then you can click a uBlock Origin button on the toolbar for further extension options or to activate/deactivate ad blocking for specific pages.

6. Increase the Number of Raster Threads

Chrome has numerous experimental flag settings that you can speed up the browser with. The raster threads flag setting adjusts the rendering speeds for images. Thus, you can speed up rendering speeds by increasing the number of raster threads as follows.

  • Enter ‘chrome://flags’ in the browser’s URL bar and press Return to open the page below.

  • Press the Ctrl + F hotkey to open the search box.
  • Enter ‘number of raster threads’ in the search box to find the flag setting in the shot directly below.

  • Now select 4 from the drop-down menu for the Number of raster threads setting.
  • Press the Relaunch Now button to restart Google Chrome.

7. Enable the Fast tab/window close Flag Setting

  • The chrome://flags page includes a Fast tab/window close flag setting that separates tab unloading from the main GUI, which enables faster tab and window closing. To enable that setting, input ‘chrome://flags’ in the URL bar.
  • Open the search box, input ‘fast tab’ and press the Enter key. The Fast tab/window close setting will now be highlighted as below.

  • Click Enable to switch the Fast tab setting on.
  • Press Relaunch Now to apply the new setting.

8. Don’t Open too Many Tabs

Tab overload can also slow down the Chrome browser. This will usually happen if you open more than 10 pages at a time. Each of those tabs need some resources, and Chrome’s Task Manager highlights that open page tabs can hog more RAM than extensions. Thus, Chrome runs faster with fewer tabs open.

There are numerous tab management extensions that minimize the number of tabs open in Google Chrome. OneTab is an extension that enables you to preserve RAM by moving pages to an inactive tab list from which you can reopen them when required. Press the + Add to Chrome button on this web page to add OneTab to Chrome. Then you can move a page to the tab list by selecting it, right-clicking the OneTab button and selecting OneTab > Send only this tab to OneTab.

9. Clear Your Browser’s Data

Chrome keeps a database of URLs, cached text and other browsing data so that resources can be accessed from hard drive. However, the accumulation of browser data can also slow Google Chrome down as it inflates the cache. So it’s a good idea to clear browsing data every six months or so to ensure it doesn’t grossly accumulate and waste disk space.

  • First, click Customize Google Chrome and select More tools from the menu.
  • Select Clear browsing data to open the window in the snapshot directly below.

  • Then you can select to clear browsing data for cached images and files, browsing history, cookies, app data and more besides.
  • Press the Clear Browsing Data button to clear the data.

Each of those tips should speed up your Chrome browser a little more. Now you can browse through website pages somewhat more quickly than before. To further boost Chrome, check out some of these extensions.

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