Let’s look at why our Tab-itis is slowing us down, and review how a free Chrome plugin- The Great Suspender – can help! [Update: This plugin has been disabled by Chrome.]
In Feb 2021, Google forcibly disabled this extension from all Chrome browsers and removed it from the Chrome Web Store. For more information on what happened and possible alternatives, have a look at this ghack.net article.
I keep a lot of browser tabs open when I’m doing work, either because I am going back and forth between web applications, looking up research materials, or I just keep a tab open to remind me to go back and look later.
Lots of tabs make your computer run slower. Each tab uses computer memory, it uses the memory to render and remember all the stuff on the page. The more stuff going on, on a page, the more memory it needs.
Let’s say the average memory your open tabs require is 100MB each- if you have 20 tabs open that’s 2GB of memory. In the below screenshot my tabs are using up 2.75GB
Some days I have 3 different Chrome windows open (work, personal, testing) and each of those can have a dozen tabs open. But I’m not looking at them all at the same time. It seems a shame to be using up all that memory for things I might not look at for hours or even days!
The Great Suspender is a chrome extension that reduces the amount of memory being used by idle tabs by putting them to sleep.
We can see this in action by walking through a test on the Trello tab. In the Chrome task manager we can see its using 56MB of memory.
Since I have the great suspender extension installed in chrome, I click on the icon…
And voila! The tab is now suspended.
When I look back at the task manager I see Trello change from a tab to an extension it’s being lumped under the great suspender extension now and the amount of memory used disappears.
Once I’ve suspended all my idle tabs I peek back at the Task Manager to see that all those sleepy tabs are no longer using up memory.
You can download the extension from the Chrome store. Click the Add to Chrome button, then give it permission to see your browsing information and it will quickly install.
The settings are straightforward.
Anything I haven’t touched in an hour gets suspended except for a few exceptions I’ve specified. I always keep my mail and calendar pinned so I selected Do not suspend pinned tabs
Once you start using the extension you should see performance improvements right away.
For tips on checking your Chrome memory usage, check out this Make Use of Post.