Browsers Internet

How to Reduce Google Chrome’s Memory Usage and Free Up RAM

Ian Buckley Updated 14-12-2019

Why does it always seem like Chrome is using too much memory?


The web has changed in recent years. Applications that would only run on desktop computers now run in the browser, but this comes at a cost. Modern browsers use a lot of RAM, and Chrome is among the worst offenders.

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With just a little bit of effort, there’s a lot you can do limit Chrome’s memory usage. If your browser seems to be always chugging along, this article will help you reduce Chrome’s memory usage and free up RAM.

Find Out How Much RAM Chrome Is Using

Google Chrome Task Manager

There are two methods for figuring out how much RAM Chrome is using. You can find out Chrome’s overall use in the Windows Task Manager. (Some useful Windows Task Manager tricks you should know! 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Probably Didn't Know Here are handy Task Manager tricks every Windows user should know, including how to bring up the Task Manager quickly and more! Read More )

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 find the Chrome Task Manager by clicking the three dots in the top right of the browser followed by More Tools > Task Manager.


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.

How to Reduce Chrome Memory Usage

1. Temporarily Close Tabs

Too Many Tabs Extension

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 same place so you can easily pick up where you left off. This handy for limiting how much RAM Chrome uses while making 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, 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. Alternatively, you can enable Chrome’s native tab discarding, which will work on each open window.

Download: TooManyTabs (Free)

2. Suspend All Tabs

The Great Suspender

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 get all tabs suspended.


The Great Suspender gives you quite extensive control over how tabs are suspended. You can whitelist specific sites, so if you always need your email inbox open in a browser, The Great Suspender is a good option. To reload a suspended tab, click anywhere in the window.

One Tab Chrome Tab Extension

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.

Download: The Great Suspender (Free)
Download: OneTab (Free)


3. Let Chrome Choose for You

tab wrangler chrome

If you’d rather leave the task up to Chrome, TabMemFree will automatically suspend inactive tabs. You can determine how long before it suspends inactive tabs, with a minimum of 15 minutes. You can also 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.

Download: TabMemFree (Free)
Download: Tab Wrangler (Free)

4. Text and Reading Extensions

Text Mode Grayscale Text Only Extension

Certain websites can slow your computer down. Rather than let these sites get the best of your browser and computer, you can strip out a lot of the RAM-hogging content that slows you down.

Chrome extension Text Mode, as the name would indicate, loads all web pages in text only. It discards all images, videos, and flash elements. This also means that it will get rid of some ads and embedded content. To activate Text Mode on any site, click the icon’s extension.

A gray box will appear anywhere an image once was. Text Mode also gets rid of any color on the screen, so it 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, click its extension button in the top right.

Download: Text Mode (Free)
Download: Tab Wrangler (Free)

5. Get Rid of Unwanted Extras

Some add-ons and extras available for Chrome can 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 How to Clean Up Your Browser Extensions (The Easy Way) If you regularly check out cool extensions, then it is probably time to clean up those add-ons that you no longer want, like, or need. Here's how to do it easily. Read More 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 regularly.

An excellent way to see if you 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.

6. Customize Chrome’s Settings

Chrome contains a few hidden settings that you can customize.

Paste 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.

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 Speed Up Chrome By Changing These 8 Flags While many people claim Chrome is a memory hog, it is possible to greatly improve your browser's speed by tweaking some "flags". Here are the eight best tweaks that you can make today. Read More to speed up Chrome.

Google Chrome Memory Usage, Limited and Reduced

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. There may be other culprits to blame for your lack of RAM, and there are safe ways to clear memory and increase RAM on your Windows computer.

If after trying all of these tips and tricks you find that Chrome just still isn’t cutting it, despite all its great features, don’t forget there are plenty of alternative browsers worth trying Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox The browser you're using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year. Read More .

Explore more about: Browser Extensions, Computer Memory, Google Chrome, Tab Management.

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  1. sl0j0n
    April 4, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    All this is OK but it's not much help for a CHROMEbook. It looks like Chrome's programmers have gotten a LOT sloppier in the last few years, because the system gets slower & slower until you close down most tabs.
    I just starting using some of these 'tips' but other than using "The Great Suspender" I don't think there's much that can be done because it looks like it's more of a memory leak/programming issue than anything else.
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

  2. Jonathan Hill
    April 2, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Try Extensity, it sits on your extension bar click and you can enable/disable whatever extensions you want or need at the time.

  3. beeurd
    March 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Ironically the amount of ads on this page cause my CPU & RAM usage to max out until I killed most of them in the Chrome task manager. Funny you don't suggest an ad blocker...

    There is obviously a wider issue with Chrome itself though, as it's still using 750MB of RAM even though this is the only Chrome window I have open.

  4. Eric
    January 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    This is an awful lot of work that literally nobody should ever have to do. Keeping Chrome from exhausting resources should not be an exercise in futility.

  5. Nixed
    November 30, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    FYI, reading this article made my Chrome's CPU's usage jump between 14% and 26%. Ironic, No?

  6. pro
    September 22, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I am not convinced brrowsers should use that much RAM . In 2010 the web was not that far behind, still I managed to have 20+ tabs open + pdfs, + word and powerpoint sheets for a "grand total " of 2 gigabytes. Me thinks someone is not doing their job properly.Having that many "windows" open did not reduce speed at least noticeably or making it slower than it is today. I and I didn't have to "suspend" or "close" any tabs. We should try to be more serious against the arguments of browser developers and not always giving them a free pass.

    P.S. If speed is the concern then all this "preloading" should be optional instead of shoving it up our throats. Another thing. Having that many "windows" open did not reduce speed at least noticeably or making it slower than it is today.

  7. KevinC
    May 8, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Chrome needs an extension to automatically clear the cache and RAM on a schedule. I am running Slimjet and when I first started it used minimal resources. A I used it it started consuming more and more RAM. Now I have to clear the RAM every few minutes or it freezes.

  8. Zarros
    November 22, 2017 at 1:49 am

    These aren't going to help anyone 100%. A fresh OS install with fresh Chrome with no addons except Adobe Flash and still getting memory leaks. A website that only contains a 250 Mb video I'm watching can take up to 4 Gb of RAM if I leave it open long enough, there is a serious issue with Chrome's memory.

    I believe the issue lies with Flash or Chrome, because it usually happens on websites that are using flash. If you leave the window open long enough it will continue to eat up memory even though there is nothing happening, and eventually freeze. There is 0% chance this is an issue with my system as it is a fresh install, fresh chrome, and it's happened across multiple computers on different networks.

  9. Dionora C Ferrantino
    April 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

    The two extensions that I could never live without are OneTab & Print Friendly. They simplify & de-frustrate (not a word?) :) I am grateful to you for sharing all of this information. I even right clicked all the "read more" links & "sent this web link to OneTab"

  10. Barry Merchant
    April 12, 2017 at 1:36 am

    I had multiple problems with Chrome. It was slow and chewed up my 16 GB of RAM. It also wouldn't properly render some of my programs. All this and it steals your information too! I solved the problem by going back to Firefox. Problem solved.

  11. Wesley
    April 12, 2017 at 12:47 am

    There is no "tabmemfree" extension.

  12. Jon Heil
    April 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Dang, I thought there would be some real tweaks in it to go in the settings and allow it to use more system memory or something, the other tab and addons, I dont have much of. I do open up about 150+ tabs at a time for sweepstakes and was hoping it would be a fix for this, but guess nothing much. Guess its good for rookies who love using all those silly add-ons or clicking on stuff that you get all the junk added.

  13. Dave
    April 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    OR....Google could program it to be less of a resource hog.

  14. Tomi Häsä
    April 11, 2017 at 10:45 am

    There is no "plugins settings" as mentioned above in Google Chrome 57 for OS X 10.11.

  15. Magnolia
    April 8, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Just use another browser -_-

    • superkitebr
      April 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

      I use Slimjet, and I only open Chrome when I absolutely have to. On some 6 tabs tests, Slimjet used around 523mb, whereas Chrome (with only 2 extensions loaded> an Adblocker and a Download manager as to be comparable to Slimjet) was over 912mb)

      Slimjet's download manager is also really very simple and fast. I'd love to find it as a standalone extension to use with some other browsers.