Browser Performance Basics

August 20, 2011

Browser Optimization

 Left unchecked your browser can become crippled and start to cost you more time than it should. It does not matter what browser or operating system you use. Most of these suggestions will help because they are designed to cause your browser to use resources more efficiently. Lets continue with the understanding that you are working from your personal computer and using your private profile. Please don’t do any of this from someone else’s computer or profile. You might remove their personal settings and give them access to your personal information and that’s never good!

Lets get started with Menu Bars, Plug-ins, Add-ons, and Accelerators. They all perform the same general function, which is to give a 3rd party some advantage and possibly give you better access to that third party’s services. Most of the time it is not necessary and it slows things down. If you really want performance make the browser run as light as possible just like it did when you first installed or used it. Because when you open your browser it has to load into memory, request and load your home page, and then load any extras. The extras you do run need to be worth it because each one may cost you seconds every time you open a browser. Flash and Java plug-ins are necessary. Toolbars, browser skins, plug-ins etc. are the fat that you can trim to allow your browser run as quickly as possible.

If your plan is to get online and get right down to business ask yourself, what business do you do the most of? Is it email? Is it reading the news? Are you a developer? Is it social networking? Do you blog? Decide what that is and set your home page appropriately so when you open it you are ready to roll. Here is a good example. I suggest for people that are all about webmail to let the browser save your credentials for your web mail. Then set your webmail inbox as your home page. Now when you launch your browser your email is ready to read. I prefer using google as my home page or I type urls directly into an address or search bar. Because when I open a browser window I just want it ready so I can move. The point is try to get your home page to load the content your trying to get for you as soon as you launch it.

Tab vs New Browser Windows.  As a rule I suggest limiting the number of browser windows that are open and instead use more browser tabs.  Each time you open a browser window it reloads the entire browser in memory (for every window you open). Tabs are more efficient.

Your browser got hijacked – Yikes! If you read my last post about drive by banner advertising you already know where I am going next.  When you fall victim to a banner advertisement hack the settings in your browser get changed. Your hijacked browser fulfills the goals of the attacker. It starts innocently with a new tool bar, a home page that changes on its own, or some pop-up windows that could display just about anything. If you see this happening stop and fix it. This behaviour of your browser is commonly miss-construed and even trusted by some people. Just stop and have a good look. Pay attention to the details. Ask yourself if the pop-up is from your antivirus software or your operating system. If not then ask if it is another software on your computer that you know about. If not again then ask yourself, are you are really going to believe a third party that says you need their help? NO! Try and identify them. Who is putting that message on your screen? If you don’t know then it is most likely an attempt to hijack you.

Don’t click on the window or the x to close it. Find another way to get out.  Log out, restart, use a finder or task manager to kill that process. windows Alt-f4 combination closes active processes without any mouse clicks. Ask for some help. Once your out disconnect your network / wireless and then go into the advanced settings of your browser and reset it back to its defaults. This removes the settings that were hijacking your browser and the browser runs like it did new. If it does not you may have another problem. If that is the case post a reply on this thread and tell me whats going on.  Or call us for a free consultation at 618 985-5455. We do remote support after 5PM CST and are happy to help you out.