TechSpot Tip: Speed Up Firefox by Loading Tabs On-demand

Firefox users who are used to having fifteen or more tabs open while surfing the web, or perhaps tend to load up their browser with a bunch of open pages from their last session, will surely know the impact this can have in terms of performance. It may not be a major issue on powerful desktop PCs with processing muscle and memory to spare, but you can bet more modest rigs and most laptops will struggle trying to pull up a huge list of pages at the same time.

Luckily, there are ways heavy tab users can ease the memory-guzzling effect that their browsing habits can have on their systems – and today we’ll specifically mention two: using the BarTab extension or making a quick about:config tweak.

The aforementioned BarTab extension lightens Firefox’s memory load and prevents crashes by unloading tabs that you are currently not using but want to keep accessible. It can intercept when tabs are opened in the background or restored after a browser restart and will only load the content when the tab is actually visited. It also allows you to free memory by unloading already loaded tabs, either manually or automatically when they haven’t been used for a specified time.

Read: Tech Tip of the Week - Speed Up Firefox by Loading Tabs On-demand

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

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16 Comments

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Yeah, I start the day with around 10 tabs in the morning, and by the end of the day (with google chrome) I end up having 4 windows with around 20-30 tabs on each one. And I need at least 60-70% of those, the other ones are just youtube or stuff I forget to close.

I've made the transition from firefox to chrome fulltime now!

Never been able to figure out why anyone would want 15 tabs open at the same time? Absolutely ridiculous, IMO.

I mean how many things can you look at or do at once, and I don't care how powerful your computer is. If you didn't have that many tabs open all at once to begin with, you wouldn't be waiting for anything to load. Unless you're on dial up!!

I tried this extension for a couple days, and I thought it was quite nifty at first, but after a while I got quite irritated every time I switched to a tab that wasn't loaded yet and then had to wait for it to load.

Darrian said,
I tried this extension for a couple days, and I thought it was quite nifty at first, but after a while I got quite irritated every time I switched to a tab that wasn't loaded yet and then had to wait for it to load.

Just installed it and I can see me feeling the same very soon. One thing that bugs me straight away, is that fact the titles of sites are not shown on unloaded tabs, is this the same for everybody?

yeah firefox becomes unstable with many tabs open. This is irregardless of how much ram you have in your box. This extension would seem to help against that.

Awesome news, I've always needed this. My laptop has 6 Gigs, but between running eclipse, two vms, firefox and a bunch of other stuff it still isn't enough

De.Bug said,
Sounds cool, although I won't need it. 8 GB RAM ftw.
It also helps when loading Firefox, regardless of how much RAM you have (Fx4 has this the restore part built-in).

Smart idea. I don't think I need it myself, even on my laptop, but it's a good idea that should help especially those with 4-5 years laptops well.

Looks handy. Although one reason I middle click many pages consecutively is because I want them to load while I'm doing something in the current page.

ArKeYa said,
Looks handy. Although one reason I middle click many pages consecutively is because I want them to load while I'm doing something in the current page.

Second setting in the screenshot .