Do Extensions Slow Down Your Browser? Here’s What You Can Do

There are a few things Chrome extension devs should consider

by Milan Stanojevic

Milan Stanojevic

Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as… read more

Fact checked by
Alex Serban

Alex Serban

After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server… read more

  • Many users are worried that Chrome extensions are slowing down their computer, and in this article, we’re going to check if that’s true.
  • Slowdowns vary from browser to browser, and if Chrome is running slow for you, perhaps the issue won’t appear on another browser.
  • Other factors play a huge role when it comes to slowdowns besides extensions.

chrome-extensions extensions slow down browser

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DebugBear recently analyzed 26 browser extensions to study whether Chrome extensions are slowing down your computer or not.

The test was carried out on some of the most popular extensions such as  Adblock Plus, uBlock, HTTPS Everywhere, LastPass, and Grammarly among many others.

We are here today to answer the same questions, do Chrome extensions affect the performance of your browser? Let’s find out!

Do Chrome extensions affect performance?

Although many Chrome extensions have the capability to run additional code on each and every page that you view, well-built extensions will only run code when it is absolutely required to do so.

Activity on the CPU can cause a page to hang and become unresponsive, in addition to increasing the amount of battery that must be used. However, if the processing takes place after the initial loading of the page, the effect on the user experience might not be as significant.

There are a few extensions, such as Loom and Ghostery, that execute a significant amount of code without affecting the time at which the page begins displaying.

However, some extensions such as Clever, Lastpass, and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials begin executing code as soon as the page begins loading, which delays the time at which the user is initially able to access the contents of the website.

Does Grammarly slow down your computer?

Yes, Grammarly slows down Chrome. On-page CPU time was reduced by more than 100 milliseconds for users of Grammarly, Microsoft Office, the Okta Browser Plugin, Avira Safe Shopping, and Avira Browser Safety.

Does Honey slow down your computer?

Unfortunately, Honey slows down your computer as well. There is evidence that widely used browser add-ons like Honey, Evernote Web Clipper, and Avira Browser Safety can have a considerable slowing effect on page load times.

If you wonder whether LastPass is slowing down Chrome, yes, it does. It was found as one of the culprits that cause the browser to slow down.

Quick Tip:

Google Chrome has a reputation when it comes for slowing down your PC by taking up most of your RAM and CPU. This is especially the case when you have extensions opened, and a few extra tabs on the side as well.

That is why we recommend you switch to another web browser: Opera GX. It is built using the same Chromium engine as Google Chrome, so all Chrome extensions are also compatible with Opera GX.

However, Opera’s low inherent system requirements make it far less impactful than Google Chrome, extensions installed or not. More so, it comes with a built-in CPU, RAM, and bandwidth limiter, so you can control your memory usage better.

Opera GX

Surf the Internet with the fastest web browser on the market, and don’t worry about loading it with extensions, since it won’t take up all of yoru RAM or CPU

How do I make Chrome extensions faster?

The conclusions of this analysis are not at all surprising. They confirm what many users already noticed, Chrome extensions are slowing down your computer. Specifically, certain browser extensions may increase power consumption.

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This happens because these extensions put a strain on your CPU. Let’s look at some numbers to see which extensions require your CPU to do more work.

Extension What is it? Users Extra CPU time*
Honey Automatic coupon code finder 10M+ 636ms
Grammarly Grammar checker 10M+ 324ms
Evernote Clipper Save web content to Evernote 4.7M 265ms
StayFocusd Limit time spent on websites 700K 224ms
LastPass Password manager 8M 139ms

Things Chrome extension devs should consider

code chrome extensions slowing down computer

Chrome extension developers need to consider the following points in order to reduce the impact their products have on the browsing experience. Content scripts should be used on the domains as per the requirements.

Secondly, the content script should not be run on document_start. The developers should avoid overloading the code with JavaScript. As it can be loaded easily whenever you need to include the JS bundle. 

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Main takeaways

The researchers have also mentioned some key findings of the study. The performance cost of the single extension can be small but the combined performance cost might add up to a significantly large value, thus causing Chrome extensions to slow down computers.

The performance can significantly be improved by using privacy tools in those cases when the website is overloaded with analytics or ads. 

The study also has some limitations as well, it has only considered just a single browser i.e Google Chrome. We have to extend the research to some other popular browsers as well to find out how the results vary with respect to each browser.

Furthermore, the sample size should be kept large by increasing the number of extensions in future experiments.

browser extension slow browsing

In short, the study revealed that Honey and Grammarly are extremely slow as far as browsing performance is concerned.

The power consumption is usually increased when you have so many extensions installed in your system. The extension developers should follow the best practices in order to avoid performance problems in future.

Privacy is a major concern these days in view of the recent cyber-attacks and data leaks by 3rd party apps and programs. Experts recommend that you should reduce the number of extensions installed in your browser.

How can I improve my browser performance?

You may improve the performance of Google Chrome by installing a specialized extension if you find that it is not as quick as it was in the past.

However, the challenge is that there are many of these products on the market, each of which asserts that it is superior to the others.

The performance can only be improved by installing those that are shown to be beneficial. Extensions do have an effect on performance; depending on the extension, they can either make Chrome run faster or make it run slower.

That is the only way to increase your browser’s performance along with ensuring the safety of your sensitive data.

So, do extensions slow down Chrome? The short answer would be yes, but it depends on the extension, amount of RAM, CPU power, number of open tabs, and other factors.

How many extensions have been currently installed in your browser? Let us know in the comments section below which of them you think is the real culprit behind any performance issues that you may have experienced.

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