What's specifically happening when a browser starts slowing under tab load?

Started by warmachine2, April 13, 2020, 03:01:16 PM

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Browsers start to get sluggish and unresponsive under increasing tab load. What/Where specifically is the source of this slowness, and could it possibly be "boosted" in some way (other than limiting tabs)?

Obviously, there's a heavy load on memory when you have 100+ tabs open. But if there's a copious amount of RAM + page file available, why does it still get slow? What function or mechanism is the source of the slowdown? Is it on the browser's side of responsibility, or the OS'?

Without the Firefox source code, I'm wondering if there's some measure I could tweak to circumvent the slowdown, like perhaps manually allocating metric-ton of disk cache, or something.

(For reference, speaking of 64-bit browsers)

Jeremy Collake

That is a big question. Put simply, modern web pages are 'heavy'. They have lots of elements and scripts. The browser (and OS) try to keep memory that might be soon referenced in RAM. You want your RAM to be as utilized as possible as the fastest storage medium on your device. Further, just because a tab isn't visible doesn't mean it is not doing anything.

This is an area of optimization targeted by entire teams of developers, so you aren't going to find a simple tweak to make. Best case scenario, you change the browser settings to behave more like what you think you want, but there will be some trade-off to that which may not be immediately apparent to you.
Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.


Limited system resources: If your computer is using a lot of resources, such as CPU or memory, to run other applications simultaneously, this can cause the browser to slow down when trying to load new tab.
Tab overload: If the tab you're trying to load has a lot of complex content, such as web pages that contain a lot of images or videos, or web applications that require a lot of processing, the browser may have difficulty loading the tab. processing and displaying that tab slice master.
Browser extensions: Some browser extensions can cause delays when they load data or perform tasks related to the current tab. Sometimes, this extension may have problems or not be compatible with the browser well, causing delays.
Browser or operating system updates: In some cases, new browser or operating system updates can cause compatibility issues, leading to delays in tab loading.