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How to reduce Chrome RAM usage

Chrome used to be the best browser in the market. The reason its market share quickly grew and that of Internet Explorer shrank was because Chrome was light, it was fast, and it had a clean interface. Today, only that last bit holds true. The browser has become something of a RAM sponge and people consider switching to Firefox which has improved a great deal over the years. The only problem is, Chrome is a difficult browser to quit. If you’re unable to force yourself to use a different browser but would like to reduce Chrome RAM usage, you’re going to have to use an extension called Tab Suspender.

Reduce Chrome RAM usage

If you leave Chrome open with just one or two tabs, it will still end up consuming quite a bit of RAM. The tabs may not even have anything open that requires more RAM but the browser will still consume too much of it.

The screenshot below is for a Chrome instance with only two tabs open, one of which is a Chrome Web Store page. Though it’s not consuming the outrageous amount of RAM most people get, it’s still a bit too much for what is open in Chrome.

To ‘fix’ this, you need to install an extension called Tab Suspender. This extension basically suspends a tab that isn’t actively being used.

Install Tab Suspender. When you install it, it will take your through basic configuration which allows you to set the criteria for suspending tabs. It can suspend them after a period of inactivity which you decide when the extension is set up. It can also suspend them if it deems that you’re not using a tab any more though you have to opt-in for this type of suspension.

Last, you can also suspend a tab any time you want from the extension’s button next to the URL bar.

Tab suspension basically unloads a tab. For the most part, this is a good way to save on RAM. The tab is reloaded automatically when you visit it so you’re not losing the URL you had open. There is one shortcoming with this. If a tab is suspended, and it happens to contain unsaved e.g., an unsaved document or email draft, it is possible that the data will be lost.

If you’re working with Google Docs or Gmail, your data is saved automatically but not all services auto-save. In this case, you can whitelist the tab so that it isn’t suspended.

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