When you ask computer users about memory intensive browsers, you likely hear Firefox being mentioned more often than Google's browser, Opera or even Internet Explorer. It is rather interesting that much of this comes from a time when Firefox's memory usage was indeed not the best. When you look at more recent memory tests, you will notice that Firefox more often than not beats the competition in this field.
Mozilla started to work on memory improvements in Firefox 7, and continued to work on the browser's memory utilization ever since.
You are probably wondering why I have decided to write this guide if Firefox is indeed this efficient in comparison to the other browsers. The core reason for this is that there are not that many memory or RAM related extensions available for browsers such as Google Chrome. Firefox users on the other hand have an abundance of memory related add-ons at their disposal, with some of them having made their way into the browser itself at one point in time.
Chrome offers an interesting option though that makes measuring memory use in different browsers more comfortable. When you enter about:memory in the address bar you will notice that the browser does not only lists its own memory use, but also that of the Firefox web browser and Internet Explorer.
Please note the following before you look at the screen below:
About:memory - Enter this in the browser's address bar and you get a detailed listing of the browser's allocations. This may help add-on and Firefox developers the most, but can provide everyone else with a quick overview of the browser's memory utilization.
Memory Restart - You can configure this add-on to restart Firefox automatically once it reaches a memory limit that you configure in the settings of the add-on. This can be useful if you notice slowdowns once the browser reaches a memory mark, or if you need the memory for other processes on your system and want to limit the browser's memory utilization this way.
Mem Chaser - Displays various memory related information in Firefox's status bar. It among other things displays the resident memory (that is the working set displayed in the task manager), and Garbage Collector activities. Alternative: Memory Meter which only displays the current RAM usage.
Dormancy - This add-on retires tabs after some time of inactivity which frees up RAM in the process. It also means that it will take longer to load the website again once you activate the tab.
Firefox's image as a memory hog is fading, and will continue to do so in the near future. With browsers like Chrome or Internet Explorer using more memory to open the same websites, it is only a matter of time before multi-browser users will notice the differences.
Are you using multiple web browsers? If so, what is your experience in this regard?
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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.