How to tame Google Chrome's memory use

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 14, 2013
Updated • Jan 9, 2021
Google Chrome

Google's Chrome browser likes to use memory. That is not necessarily a bad thing, provided that the computer it is running on has plenty of it. If your computer has not that much, or if it is needed for other applications more than it is for Chrome, then you may be looking for ways to still the memory hunger of the Chrome web browser.

Before we start to look at measures to reduce Chrome's memory usage, we should take a look at finding out how much RAM the browser is actually using. Lets find out.

Chrome memory readings

You have three options to find out how much memory Google Chrome is using right now. Two of the options are implemented in the browser while one is made available by the operating system you are using.

1. The Task Manager

You can open the browser's Task Manager with a tap on Shift-Esc or by clicking on the options menu icon at the top of the browser interface and selecting Tools > Task Manager from the context menu here.

google chrome task manager

The task manager is not really the ideal option as you cannot modify the size of the window the information are displayed in. While you get information about the memory use of every tab, the browser, graphics processor, extensions and plugins.

It is great for a quick look at the worst offenders but that is about it. You can click on the memory or cpu header here to sort the tasks accordingly.

2. The chrome://memory-redirect/ page

You need to load the page chrome://memory-redirect/ in the browser's address bar to open a page listing all the memory information you could ever want, and then some.

google chrome memory

First thing that is interesting is that you also get memory use of other browsers listed here, as you can see from the screenshot above.

As far as Chrome is concerned, all of the browser's processes are displayed here, each with its memory use. One thing that is not so good is that you cannot sort the table, but it is automatically sorted by the process using the most memory.

3. The Task Manager (Windows)

I'm using Windows but other operating systems have a task manager as well. Windows users need to tap on Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open it up on their system.

google chrome processes

While you may be surprised at the number of Chrome processes listed here, it is not really helpful as you are not provided with details at all here besides that.

Taming Chrome

Now to the fun part. If you think that Chrome is using too much memory, you have a couple of options to get it to drop. Here are your options:


Check out all of your installed extensions. If you have many installed, they will accumulate quite a bit of memory. You may want to go through them to find out if you can get rid of some that you are not using at all anymore, or not often.

Instead of uninstalling them outright, you can alternatively disable them first.

To do so, load chrome://extensions/ in the browser's address bar and click on the box next to enabled.

This can also be a good way of disabling extensions that only work for a single website. Instead of running them all of the time in the browser, you only activate them if you are visiting the site in question.

2. Tabs

Browser tabs may use a large part of the memory the browser's using. If you regularly run 50 or more tabs in Chrome, you are using more than 500 Megabytes of RAM or more on tabs alone.

Standard websites may use between 10 to 50 Megabytes of RAM in a tab, which can quickly accumulate to lots of memory.

You do have a couple of options to deal with tabs.

First, you can close any that you no longer need, or bookmark it for later using and close it then.

A couple of extensions may help you as well with that:

  • One Tab - Converts all open tabs to a list saving memory in the progress as tabs are closed afterwards. You can open any of them at any time with a click on the extension's button.
  • The Great Suspender - Provides you with options to suspend tabs to reduce the browser's memory footprint. We no longer recommend The Great Suspender.
  • Tab Hibernation - Sends inactive tabs automatically into hibernation to free up memory.
  • Foo-Tab - Stops all but one tab from loading when the browser starts up. Ideal for quicker start up times of Chrome and saving memory.

Closing Words

The two most effective options to reduce the memory use of Google Chrome are to uninstall or disable extensions, or to close tabs that are open in the browser. There is not a lot that you can do besides that, other than switching to a browser that is more memory efficient.

How to tame Google Chrome's memory use
Article Name
How to tame Google Chrome's memory use
Google Chrome is using too much memory? This guide explains how you can reduce the memory usage of the browser.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Cornell said on January 4, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    The problem isn’t the consumption of RAM, that’s what it’s there for. There are two major problems with browser engines (many use the same underlying engine)

    First, the browser thinks it’s the only thing that needs RAM, so it will take the last byte. So when you try to switch to another tab or window or application, the OS has no available memory. My system locked up this morning, couldn’t open the GUI menu, or even use ctl-alt-del… no available memory. I can’t say the culprit, Task Manager couldn’t be opened. The Fix: The browser should not ask the OS for more memory once more than (pick a number) 80% of physical memory is used.

    Second, DOM. There is a Domain Object Module, DOM. Each page, widget, graphic, etc. is a node on the DOM. I suspect, when an object is refreshed, the old object is left in place, the DOM garbage collection needs to be improved. Further, many sites “phone home” to get the next ad, or whatever. The browser should prohibit phoning home if the page doesn’t have focus. Seriously, what good is showing a hundred ads when the page isn’t visible, no one is watching?

  2. Mona Sen said on August 1, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Actually every time you open a new tab it consumes a certain amount of computer memory. A single Chrome tab can use between 20 MB and 100 MB of RAM.The more you open tabs the more it will slows down your browsing speed.You even find it tough to surf through different tabs. The Great suspender is a light weight chrome extension that reduces chrome’s memory foot print for users and thus helps you to work with multiple tabs without any trouble.

    Features of Great suspender :

    By using this Chrome extension, you can use Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and many other tabs in the background without having a fear of slowing down your system performance.
    2.You can access each and every tab at any instant of time without any crash of the browser.

    3. It automatically suspends some tabs in order to avoid Browser Slow down or Crash.

    4.The Great Suspender Extension facilitates you to suspend particular tabs manually after a certain period of time or else you can view them in your tab bar.

    5. the tabs are not suspended forever, You can restore suspended tabs just by clicking anywhere on the page.

    6..Keeps history of suspended tabs.

    7.. You can run more than 200 + tabs even with less memory on your system (less than 4 GB memory )

    8.. Enhances the browsing speed radically with smooth web surface experience

    9. It has an additional feature , that is you can put desired sites like – Facebook, twitter, Gmail etc to a WHITE-LIST which will protect this sites from getting suspended.

    you can read this blog HERE
    to know about more extensions that helps in memory and tab management. There are lots of tab managers available in google find their pros and cons through this blog.

  3. prakash said on May 26, 2015 at 4:00 am

    You can use One tab, Hibernation extensions on your browser to reduce the CPU and memory usage. Always keep the eyes on number of extensions you are using on your browser. remove unwanted extensions.

    Go to Google chrome task manager by pressing Shift+esc, identify which one does the same and do terminate that.

  4. Tim said on February 5, 2015 at 3:30 am

    I have Google Play open in Chrome right now and it’s using 870MB of memory! That is INSANE!

  5. mark said on September 12, 2014 at 5:16 am

    It is he same with Firefox and Chrome both of them are hogging memory like crazy and need to keep constantly deleting cache to keep it up and running, i usually have around 10-15 tabs running at the same time and having with a Laptop with lower RAM and memory compared to the ones out there these days it is becoming very difficult to work without lag.
    Guess not just the Browser usage but also the System specifications play a major role in making Google Chrome or Firefox lag free .

  6. BrowserTnT said on August 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    What nobody mentions here is that Websites are the real culprit in using any browser. It’s horrendous how browser makers and carriers are allowing them to get away with hogging up so much memory on desktops, while allowing mobiles to get by for less with W3C Mobile Web Initiative. Sites like Cnet now have switched to forcing you to keep javascript, flash, etc on all the time and Flashblock, Adblock plus, etc all off. So they can stuff/load 500 plus MB of nothing but ads and js driven, off site tons of data into every tab. Which then keeps building up from there on memory usage. I’ve seen many single tabs on Cnet go over a 1GB of memory just in leaving or attempting to leave a comment.

    Why the hell do they need to stuff so much data down our throats? Websites should be charged by how much data they’re responsible for downloading to us…. including from external websites, javascript linked content, we have no control over. We’d see a dramatic decrease of data usage more like Mobiles then. But now even mobiles are being pushed to the brink of memory saturation, even though and maybe because they know wireless carriers will love them for it. The entire internet has gone out of control or at least out of our control. They’re allowed to sift through our personal information, know our location and if we don’t allow them they keep us from accessing information. It’s gone beyond ridiculous. Making extensions like Flashblock or Adbock Plus completely worthless. HTML5 is becoming a curse instead of a godsend, with how it allows tons of data through, with no way to block it. Flashblock no longer works on YouTube (gone to forcing HTML5 on us) and there is nothing that gives you back control of what loads in your browser there. It’s like Websites have all gone to using ransom/data payments and hijacking our memory and information with nobody really trying to stop them. You can’t comment unless you allow this, or that and none of the browser makers are really doing anything about these Websites making us all pay data loading tolls, just to view webpages these days!

    Hopefully it gets so bad, computers start crashing completely, instead of just freezing up. Aided by errand Anti-virus and Malware programs (even MS’s junk antimalware/virus built in programs constant drive to search our hard drives is getting worse. It’s all so dumb instead of SMART) and they all decide to start up at the wrong time. Then….. BOOM… you’re in Freeze Up where nothing can even move. What the hell is Chrome doing about that? ….or Mozilla Firefox or any other browser maker??? Not a dam thing and memory management in Windows is just as bad as any runaway browser sucking up memory as if it’s the IRS stealing our taxes Heinz 57 ways or NSA of our personal information put on ice till they need it! It’s all completely out of whack and time to move into the woods or to an Island w/o Internet or TV access! We need to turn the web into a ghost town before it swallows us all up!!!

    GET BACK TO LIVING AGAIN INSTEAD! So we can send all these BLOOD SUCKERS TO AN EARLY GRAVE ON THE BRINK OF CONSUMPTION SELF DESTRUCTION….. leaving us all to enjoy the finer things in Life w/o so much stress and aggravation it drives us all crazy!!!

    btw.. even Ghacks is using 156MB right now. But at least that’s a lot better than 500 or a 1GB per tab!

  7. Jolok said on April 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Firefox uses much less RAM than Chrome, period. The way to “get a handle” on Chrome’s memory usage is probably to rewrite it with a more logical plan for memory usage. Chrome, schmome, it’s a pain, it’s a privacy nightmare, and it’s B-L-O-A-T-E-D.

    1. ArKay said on June 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I actually stopped using Firefox because it was such a memory hog and wouldn’t even free memory after closing a tab. At least with Chrome tabs are sandboxed properly so you don’t have to restart your browser every hour. You close a tab, all of the memory gets released, the way it should be!

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 2, 2014 at 12:05 am

        Well Firefox is not a memory hog anymore; Chrome is worse.

  8. Ben said on February 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm


    we wrote a blog post about how to fix the memory Problems with Chrome and on how to speed it up dramatically:

  9. Abhijith Mulavana said on November 18, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Use “Wise Memory Optimizer” to speed up RAM!

  10. nyc said on October 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    The claim in here of “50-100MB per tab” is a joke. Usage STARTS at this level then grows exponentially even if you don’t surf inside that tab. It can EASILY reach 300MB per tab.

    1. Chris said on March 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      I’ve had to switch over to Firefox on my work computer (not my preference, but it’s fine) as this system has only 2GB of RAM and Chrome is routinely running around 1.3GB-1.5GB of RAM used with only 6-8 tabs. I leave GMail open in one tab and that tab continually creeps up to the point where I eventually find that the GMail tab alone is using around 900MB. With this much memory usage by Chrome plus Excel using 500MB or so (very large spreadsheets) plus Outlook plus a few other essentials, I’m well over the 2GB and constantly swapping. Firefox uses around 500MB consistently for the same set of tabs. I suspect memory leaks in Chrome along with a lot of inefficiency, and it is probably well past time that the team considers an initiative much like the one that Mozilla did some years ago where they put nearly 100% of the effort over a few releases into plugging memory leaks, improving efficiency, reducing footprint, and speeding up the product. The speed isn’t an issue here but memory certainly is.

      I, too, was thinking that the “50-100MB per tab” was wildly optimistic. Or the notion that it takes 50 tabs to get to 1GB of RAM usage. I’m getting well over that usage with less than 10 tabs.

  11. Karen said on August 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Just in the last few weeks Google Chrome has been using way too much memory. Memory frequently runs over 50%, which is way more than I’ve ever seen on my nearly-new computer (or the older one it replaced). I currently find 18 Google Chrome processes running (17 in the background) with over 500Mb, with only 5 tabs open, and only 1 extension.

    For the life of me, can’t understand why there are some many processes running now. I’ve never seen anywhere near that many until now.

    I’m really distraught, as there is a noticeable drag on my system.

  12. atypicaloracle said on July 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Odd. I have four extensions, counting having just installed OneTab, and Chrome is currently running as eleven different processes with a combined memory demand of over 305Mb. I’ve seen it clear one and two gigs of memory without breaking stride. OneTab has funneled all six of my open tabs, to (so far as I can tell) no actual effect. It’s also a bit annoying to use, as it’s hard to switch tabs with any kind of grace.

    Chrome is getting to the point where I can’t watch videos on Youtube without skipping, text skips while typing, all the signs of my computer lagging. I would have thought 8 gigs of memory would be sufficient for a Win7 machine that’s used for net browsing and word processing more than anything else, but Chrome’s rampant gluttony has got me considering a new browser.

  13. Jaqueline said on July 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I do not like Chrome for several reasons. But, one of my biggest grievances is that with only 3 tabs open (no videos, no crazy ads, not picture-heavy) it’s using 150mb of memory. I have no extensions on it. If it goes idle YOWZA it’s gone past 1GB at least four time in very little time. I use Firefox with tons of add-ons and of course I go over 150mb but in safe mode, it’s barely 100mb so what does that say about the mighty Chrome? I always have 10-15 tabs in Firefox and use at least a dozen addons yet I’m usually in the 250mb-350mb range.

    I prefer SRWare Iron to Chrome for safety reasons but it still hogs memory even on pages with virtually no pictures, videos or ads. It’s one of Chromium’s many turn-offs.

  14. David Bradley said on June 17, 2013 at 3:58 am

    You can resize the Task Manager window. It doesn’t have the little chevron, but I just clicked and dragged to enlarge it no problem

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 17, 2013 at 6:31 am

      David, I just tested it again. There is no option to do so in Chrome Dev, but in Chrome Stable, it is possible to expand the window with a double-click. Which Chrome version have you tested this on?

  15. idiot101 said on June 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I have 8GB of RAM, but Chrome looks to eat up memory real quickly. It starts to become unstable as soon as it crosses 3GB for some reason with only two tabs open. It leaks memory and fails to close processes when close it. I have had this issue since Chrome 20. I try to close background apps and avoid installing any extensions. But I cannot get it to work smoothly at all. Flash is another horrid inclusion that breaks Chrome too many times on my PC. Really unhappy with it on my X200. No issues with Firefox. Tried Opera Next to check if it was Webkit/Blink. Same memory consumption which is much more than FF and IE. Stability is about the same. Will wait for more optimization on the engine and install it in a few months again.

  16. Cetedus said on June 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    You could also try using the –process-per-site commandline switch, so that several tabs for the same domain will be contained in one process.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Interesting, will give a try.

  17. Helen said on June 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    The use of RAM won’t be the problem for most computers. It is the number of chrome processes that bothers me. That number doesn’t fit to the number of tabs. Right now, I have 4 tabs open, 5 extensions installed, but 18 chrome processes.

    I’m not sure, but it seems to me, that processes are not shut down properly when I close tabs. Unfortunately, all processes have the same name: chrome.exe

    1. Ken Saunders said on June 15, 2013 at 1:41 am

      It’s still a big complaint amongst Firefox users and ironically enough, Chrome users blast Firefox for it and say it’s why they switched to Chrome.

      The fact is, there are things that can be done for Firefox like what Martin has mentioned here for Chrome, his past articles about Firefox performance, and Mozilla’s help articles.

    2. imu said on June 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      you can find quite nice explanation for it over there :


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