Reducing Firefox memory usage

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This is just going to be a super quick post as I’m busy with a bunch of things at the moment (although I got the film completed on which I was working overtime the last while).

If you’re a power user, you may be the type of person that ends up with 70 tabs open in your browser(s). Right now between Firefox, Chrome, and IE8, I have 41 tabs going, with 35 in Firefox. More tabs open results in higher memory usage. I used to think that Firefox was a terrible memory hog, but it’s actually just my usage of Firefox that makes it a terrible memory hog. I’ve done basic comparison tests, opening the same tabs in different browsers and they all come out around the same (very unscientific so don’t harangue me on that point).

Thanks to the TabMix Plus firefox extension I have multiple rows of tabs and I tend to jump around them a lot, especially when developing.

This can result in Firefox jumping up to 600+ Mb RAM usage (I’ve actually seen it hit 1.3Gb RAM on my old desktop). I’m currently on a borrowed laptop which only has 2Gb available so in order to reduce memory usage I’ve started using BarTab.

It rocks. It unloads tabs from memory after a specified duration which means the tab is still there if you need it, but when you switch to that unloaded tab, the page will load. The time lost in waiting for a page to load is definitely worth the benefit in memory savings, and you can also set a whitelist of domains that should never be unloaded.


Hat tip to The How-To Geek for putting me onto this one.