Web browsers are an integral part of modern devices (smartphones, computers, TVs, etc.) in that they let you connect to the internet and carry out all sorts of activities — be it casual or work-related. There are several options for web browsers available out there, each promising to deliver better functionality and performance than the other. However, what remains the same across all of them is that they often succumb to slower and sluggish performance over time.
In general, the slowdown in the performance of web browsers attributes to various reasons. And no matter what browser you use — Brave, Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc. — it will slow down with time eventually. The good news is, you can avoid such problems with your browser, and here is a guide to help you with the same.
What causes web browsers to slow down?
Like we already mentioned, there are various reasons that make browsers slow over time. Some of these reasons include:
- Slew of open browser tabs (and windows)
- Too many unused browser extensions (and add-ons)
- Overly large temporary internet files (cookie and cache data)
- Outdated browser version
How to Speed Up Web Browsers?
Now that you know what causes browsers to slow down, here are all the different fixes that you can follow to speed up your web browser and improve your browsing experience. These fixes apply to all browsers, and we will list down the specific steps for each one down below.
1. Close Tabs and Windows
As we mentioned earlier, one of the significant factors responsible for the slowing down of web browsers is having too many tabs (and windows) open at once. What essentially happens is, we often end up opening a slew of browser tabs to look things up on the internet without realizing that we have accumulated a pile of unused tabs, which will eventually hog up the device memory.
To combat this problem, you can either close the unused tabs (or windows) on your browser or use a browser extension to kill off the unused tabs. If you choose the pick the latter method, some of the tab management utilities you can use include Tab Suspender, Tabby, and Workona, among others.
2. Clear Browser Cache and Cookies
When you surf the internet and visit websites, your browser collects cache and cookies in the background. Browser cache (or cache) is used in the longer run to reduce page load times, whereas a cookie is temporary and stores your preferences during a browsing session. Despite serving advantages, these files can sometimes cause your browser to act sluggish. And thus, the need to clear them periodically.
- Brave: click the hamburger menu > Settings. Tap on Additional settings from the left sidebar and select Privacy and security. From the right, click on Clear browsing data and mark the checkboxes against cookies and cache. Hit the Clear data button.
- Chrome: click the ellipsis menu > Settings. Select Privacy and security from the left sidebar and click on Clear browsing data. Select the checkboxes for cookies and cache and hit the Clear data button.
- Edge: click the ellipsis menu > Settings. Choose Privacy, Search, and Services from the left sidebar and click on Choose What to Clear from the right. Mark the checkboxes next to cookies and cache and hit the Clear Now button.
- Firefox: click on the hamburger menu > Preferences. Choose Privacy & Security from the left sidebar and scroll down to Cookies and Site Data on the right. Click on Clear Data and select the checkboxes next to cookies and cache. Hit the Clear button.
- Safari: click on Safari (from the menu bar) > Preferences. Go to the Privacy tab and click on manage Website Data button. Hit the Remove All button and click Done.
3. Remove Unused Browser Extensions
Even though browser extensions augment browsing by offering convenience and functionality, they have a reputation of being notorious and have sometimes been known to show strange behavior. Not just that, these extensions can also be malicious, in which case they snoop on or collect your personal information.
It is for this reason that you should keep an eye on your browser’s installed extensions (and add-ons). And if something suspicious appears, make sure to delete (remove) the related extension and reset your browser. The same applies to unused extensions in our browsers too, which have been there a long time, hogging up resources.
- Brave: Brave: click the hamburger menu > Extensions. Click the Remove button against the extension you want to delete.
- Chrome: click on the ellipsis menu > More Tools > Extensions. Go to the extension you want to delete and hit the Remove button.
- Edge: click the ellipsis menu > Extensions. Hit the Remove button below the extension you want to delete.
- Firefox: click on the hamburger menu > Add-ons > Extensions. Hit the ellipsis button next to the extension you want to delete and select Remove.
- Safari: Safari: click on Safari (from the menu bar) > Preferences. Go to the Extensions tab, from the list of extensions click on the extension to delete, and hit the Uninstall button on the right-hand menu.
4. Update to the Latest Version
Developers release new updates for their browsers from time to time. Most of these updates are around security fixes, but they also bring along new features and performance improvements. So, the best way to take advantage of the latest release is to update your browser to the newest version. That said, though, updates sometimes lead to problems, so you should read the update’s release notes and see its review on forums before updating your browser.
- Brave: hit the hamburger menu > Settings. Click on About Brave from the left sidebar, and the update will install automatically.
- Chrome: hit the ellipsis menu > Settings. Click on About Chrome from the left sidebar, and let the browser update itself for you.
- Edge: hit the ellipsis menu > Settings. Click on About Microsoft Edge from the left sidebar and perform an action accordingly.
- Firefox: hit the hamburger menu > Preferences. Scroll down to the Firefox Updates and tap on the Check for updates button.
- Safari: open App Store and select Updates from the left sidebar. Find Safari on the right section and click on the Update button.
5. Reset the Browser
If the above fixes do not work in your favor and you are still facing problems with your browser, your last resort is to reset the browser to its default state. That way, you get a fresh browser to start with, with which you can tread carefully and prevent slow down later on.
- Brave: click the hamburger menu > Settings. Tap on Additional settings from the left sidebar and choose Reset settings. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults.
- Chrome: click the ellipsis menu > Settings. Select Advanced from the left sidebar, and choose Reset Settings. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults.
- Edge: click the ellipsis menu > Settings. Choose Reset Settings from the left sidebar and click on Restore settings to their default values.
- Firefox: click the hamburger menu > Help > Troubleshooting Information > Refresh Firefox.
- Safari: resetting Safari to default state is not as straightforward as other browsers: you have to clear your search history and browsing cache, delete plug-ins, and remove extensions, one-by-one by going into Preferences. But, if you have a subscription to MacPaw’s CleanMyMac app, you can do it quite instantly.
A slow browser can hamper your browsing experience and may sometimes render it unusable. But with the help of the fixes listed above, you should be able to fix your slow browser and get it functioning to its optimal potential with improved browsing speed.