Chrome has a bad reputation for hogging memory. Even Google has shared tips on how to reduce Chrome memory use. But with just a little bit of effort, there’s a lot you can do to keep Chrome RAM usage at a minimum.
Find Out How Much RAM Chrome Is Using
There are two easy ways you can figure out how much RAM Chrome is using. You can find out Chrome’s overall use in the Windows Task Manager.
If you want to drill down further and understand exactly how much RAM each site, extension, or plugin is using, you can opt instead for Chrome’s own Task Manager.
You can then use the Chrome Task Manager to instantly kill RAM-hogging sites.
With the help of a few extensions and settings, you can also ensure that Chrome uses less memory without having to open up the task manager and kill sites.
Temporarily Close Tabs
The best place to start is with your tabs. You can either depend on a variety of extensions to suspend idle tabs and stop them from using up your RAM, or you can enable Chrome’s native tab discarding.
Selectively Suspend Tabs
With Chrome extension TooManyTabs, you can choose exactly which tabs to temporarily close. Use the extension to close the tabs and reopen them in the exact same place so you can easily pick up where you left off. Not only is this handy for limiting how much RAM Chrome uses, it also makes it easier to stay focused with fewer tabs open.
After you install TooManyTabs, click on the extension button to pull up a list of all your open tabs. To suspend a tab, click the small yellow arrow next to the tab in question. To restore it, just click on the yellow tab in the Suspended Tabs list and it will be re-opened.
If you have two Chrome windows open, each with multiple tabs, clicking the TooManyTabs button will only give you access to the tabs in the window you are looking at.
Suspend All Tabs
With The Great Suspender you can suspend all but one tab. Go to the tab you want to keep working on, click the Great Suspender button and select Suspend other tabs. Note that the extension can be a little finicky, and you might have to click the button twice to actually get all tabs suspended.
The Great Suspender gives you quite extensive control over how tabs are suspended. You can select certain sites to never be suspended, so if you always need your email inbox open in a browser, The Great Suspender is a good option. To reload a suspended tab, just click anywhere in the window.
If you want to suspend every single tab, OneTab is a better option. The extension collapses every single tab you have open without exceptions. It moves all the tabs into one list. You can then restore all tabs with one click, restore selective tabs, or close them all permanently.
Let Chrome Choose for You
If you’d rather leave the task up to Chrome and not have to manually select the tabs to close, TabMemFree will suspend inactive tabs. The extension has some options to choose from. You can determine how long before it suspends inactive tabs, with a minimum of 15 minutes. And you can instruct it to ignored pinned tabs.
Tab Wrangler is another extension to consider that automatically suspends inactive tabs if you’re looking for a little more control. Like TabMemFree, you can determine the length of time before a tab is considered inactive and set it to ignore pinned tabs, but you have the added option to lock additional tabs and to sync your tab settings between different computers.
Certain websites can really slow your computer down. Rather than let these sites get the best of your browser and computer, you can actually strip out a lot of the RAM-hogging content that slows you down.
The terrible Washington Examiner site just mauled Chrome on my computer. pic.twitter.com/VVo93HBNjn
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) March 23, 2017
Chrome extension Text Mode, as the name would indicate, loads all web pages in text only. Any images, videos, and flash elements are discarded. This does mean that it will get rid of ads and some embedded content. To activate Text Mode on any site, just click the button in your browser and you’re done.
A gray box will appear anywhere an image once was. Text Mode also gets rid of any color on the screen, so it actually is quite easy on the eyes. If you continue to browse other sites in the same tab where Text Mode is activated, it will continue to strip images and extras out of those sites. The extension does not remove YouTube embeds.
If you prefer to continue to view images, but still want to strip out Flash and ads, you can opt for Read Mode. When you open up a page that you want to strip down to read mode, just click the button in your browser.
Get Rid of Unwanted Extras
Some add-ons and extras available for Chrome just add to the memory usage. Take a look at your plugins and extensions, and get rid of anything that you deem unnecessary.
We may be recommending a few extensions that can help keep curb Chrome’s memory usage, but keep in mind that too many extensions can slow your computer down, hence cleaning up your Chrome extensions is a good idea. Paste
chrome://extensions in your address bar and go through your extensions and get rid of anything that you don’t find yourself using on a regular basis.
A good way to see if you actually need these extensions is to disable them rather than remove them. A month later, go back to your extension list and if you haven’t felt the need to turn any of these extensions back on, you can go ahead and delete them through Chrome’s extension manager.
You can also clean up your plugins by pasting
chrome://plugins in your address bar, and also try to avoid using Chrome themes.
Customize Chrome’s Settings
Chrome contains a few hidden settings that you can customize.
chrome://settings/ in your address bar or access Settings by clicking the menu button (three stacked dots). Scroll down to the end of the page and click Advanced Settings. Go to Privacy > Content Settings > Unsandboxed Plugin Settings and make sure that Ask when a site wants to use a plugin to access your computer is selected. This should be the default as it’s the recommended Chrome setting.
chrome://plugins/ in your address bar to pull up additional plugin settings. For all plugins, make sure that Always allowed to run is not checked.
You can also go to
chrome://flags/ to access the browser’s experimental features. Several settings here can speed up Chrome, but they do come with a warning that they bite, so anything you do in these settings is at your own risk. You will have to restart your browser for any of these changes to take effect.
Check out this list of Chrome flags you should change to speed up Chrome.
In addition to the extensions and tweaks outlined above, your habits can also contribute to a better Chrome experience. Always keep Chrome updated and periodically clear your cache.
Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping Chrome memory usage at a minimum? Let us know in the comments.