There are two situations in which the loading of tabs can slow down the performance of the web browser; During startup, if sessions are restored and a good amount of tabs need to be restored, and after selecting multiple websites to be opened at the same time, for instance by double-clicking on a bookmark folder.
The reason for the performance drop is simple. Web browsers like Firefox try to load all tabs at once, which increases the resource usage temporarily.
BarTab is a Firefox add-on that tries to resolve those issues by changing the default website loading behavior to on demand loading.
This basically means that tabs are only loaded when they become active for the first time. Only one tab is for instance loaded during system startup, all others remain inactive in the tab bar. This inactivity is indicated with transparency.
The same process applies if multiple websites are selected by the user to be loaded at once.
The browser extension can also unload tabs, to free up memory in the browser. A right-click on a tab displays two new context menu entries, to unload the selected tab or to unload all but the selected tab.
The options contain several settings to change the default behavior. It is for instance possible to add sites to a whitelist so that they are always loaded when opened.
It is furthermore possible to unload tabs automatically after inactivity, to reduce the memory usage of the browser.
BarTab can speed up Firefox by loading tabs on demand, and the option to automatically unload loaded tabs keeps the overall system resource usage on a lower level.
The add-on is directly available from the Mozilla Add-on repository over at Mozilla.com.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.