Chrome report reveals which extension could be slowing down your browser the most

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Chrome extensions are a great way to enhance internet browsing, but some of them may be slowing down your browser. The development team behind DebugBear, a web page optimizing service, analyzed 5,000 extensions to see how they impacted Google Chrome. According to their findings, some can cause longer load times on websites although it depends how data is processed. Certain ones are better than others.

DebugBear states extensions that process data “before a page has rendered will have a much worse impact on user experience.” VPNs seem to be among the worst at this, with some causing a full second of delay. It makes sense why load times would be particularly bad with a VPN as they “route traffic through an intermediary server.” Other extensions that may cause long load times include Trancy AI Subtitles and Klarna Pay Later.

Extensions that run their code “after the page has loaded” can also impact Chrome, but to a seemingly lesser extent. Processing times can result in web page slowdown as the software strains the hardware, but not always. The Monica AI Assistant, for instance, was discovered to add “1.3 seconds of processing time;" however, it actually reduces page load speeds. This is because extensions like Monica run “as soon as the page starts loading.” 

Page interactions

Even if an extension doesn’t create slow load times, it may cause slow page interactions, meaning that clicking around on a website may not feel snappy. Avira Password Manager reportedly adds a “160 millisecond delay when clicking on... random content [headings]”. Granted, 160 milliseconds is less than half a second, but we can’t help but wonder if the delays add up.

Let’s say, for example, you have seven extensions, each individually adding a 160 millisecond delay. Now, imagine if all those delays turn into a big performance drop. That’s an entire second of delay added to a webpage. Is this possible? To be honest, we don’t know as DebugBear doesn’t state whether or not the delay of these tools can accumulate.

What is true is that most ad-blockers can improve your browsing experience. Websites with tons of ads directly cause a slowdown, and without an ad-blocker, DebugBear found the average CPU processing time on ad-heavy websites was 57 seconds. With uBlock Origin installed, the time drops “down to just under 4 seconds,” saving your computer precious power.

uBlock Origin appears to be one of the best ad-blockers you can add to Chrome alongside Malwarebytes and Privacy Badger. AdBlock Plus is one of the worst, as it takes up a lot of processing time – over 40 seconds.

What you can do

So, if you’re a frequent Chrome user experiencing a browser slowdown with extensions installed, there isn't much you can do to remedy the issue. Fixing extensions ultimately falls on the developers who made them. But there are a couple of things you can do to help.

First, the easiest thing you can do is uninstall the offending tool or restrict it to only enable on certain sites. DebugBear also recommends using their Chrome Extension Performance Lookup tool to help you find the best, lightweight extensions for the browser.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best ad blockers for 2024. uBlock Origin is the best one, but there are other great options out there.

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Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.