Why is the Chrome browser so slow?

Tips & tricks
5 mins

It’s no secret that Google Chrome can sometimes be slow, especially if you’ve used it for a long time. The good news is that there are simple, effective ways to speed it up, so let’s first explore why Chrome might be lagging and then move on to how you can make it perform as new.

Chrome might be lagging for several reasons, but the most likely ones are:

  1. You have lots of tabs open or multiple active browser sessions
  2. The cache of temporary internet files got too big because it hasn’t been cleared in a long time
  3. There are harmful cookies causing problems with your browser
  4. Add-ons or extensions that use too many resources
  5. You have an outdated app
  6. There’s a virus or malware
  7. You have a weak internet signal

How to speed up Chrome

Google Chrome is the most popular browser thanks to its full set of features and extension ecosystem that includes ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension. But these benefits also mean Chrome is susceptible to running slowly. In this section, we’ll guide you through some steps to bring back the speed of your Chrome browser.

1. Check the speed of your internet

A slow Chrome experience might be due to your internet speed. Quickly test your connection by using a tool such as speedtest.net to ensure it’s not the root cause of the sluggishness. If speeds are much lower than what you should be getting from your internet service provider (ISP), troubleshoot your internet connection or contact your internet service provider.

2. Remove unnecessary extensions and plugins

Extensions and plugins can slow down Chrome. Take a moment to remove those you don’t use and deactivate those that you don’t use often so that they don’t run constantly. Streamlining your extensions enhances browser speed and overall performance. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to More which is the 3 dots in the top right corner of your browser

2. Go to Manage Extensions inside the Extensions menu

3. Then, find the extension you want to remove or deactivate and either click Remove to completely delete it or toggle the slider to the left to deactivate

3. Clear your browser cookies and cache

Accumulated cookies (small data files stored by websites) and cache can bog down Chrome. Clearing them out regularly can free up space and speed up your browsing experience. Here is how to do it:

  1. Go to More at the top right of your browser

2. Select More Tools, and then Clear browsing data

3. Finally, select the timeframe. We recommend All time to delete everything and confirm by pressing on Clear data.

4. Wipe your browser history

Over time, a lengthy browser history can slow Chrome down. Periodically wiping your history can help maintain optimal browser speed. To do this, just follow the steps you followed to clear the browser cookies and cache. Just ensure that Browsing history is selected when you press Clear data.

5. Update Chrome

Running the latest version of Chrome ensures you have the newest features and optimizations. Regular updates can significantly improve speed and security. Chrome usually updates automatically, but if you prefer to be sure, follow these steps:

  1. Select on the More button at the top right of the browser

2. Select Help, and then About Google Chrome

3. You will immediately see whether Chrome is updated or not. If you have a pending update, just confirm the installation.

6. Enable Hardware Acceleration

If Chrome is running slowly, enabling Hardware Acceleration can help. This feature allows Chrome to use your hardware to improve performance, especially for graphics-intensive tasks. To turn on or ensure you’re using hardware acceleration, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the More button at the top right of the browser

2. Select Settings

3. Select System

4. Confirm that Use hardware acceleration when available is turned on. If it’s not, toggle the switch to enable.

7. Use ad blockers

Ads can significantly slow your browsing because they’re media-heavy content, so using a good ad blocker will make Chrome faster. ExpressVPN includes an ad blocker in its apps. Just toggle on the ad blocker and ensure your VPN is turned on. Most display ads will be blocked, saving your browser from having to load ads.

8. Check for malware

Malware can drastically reduce Chrome’s speed. Scanning your system for malware not only protects your device but can also improve browser performance. 

The easiest way to ensure Chrome is free of malware is to reset Chrome’s settings (see below) to start with a clean slate. However, there is a possibility that the malware slowing your system is elsewhere on your device.

9. Close unused tabs

Keeping numerous tabs open can consume significant memory and processing power, leading to slower Chrome performance. In fact, there could be one problematic website open in your tabs that is slowing down your entire system. Closing tabs you’re not using can help speed up your browser.

10. Reset Chrome settings

If all else fails, resetting Chrome to its default settings can help. This step removes all extensions, themes, and custom settings, potentially resolving issues causing slowdowns. If you want to do this, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the More button at the top right of the browser

2. Select Settings

3. Select Reset settings and then Restore settings to their original defaults

4. Select Reset settings to confirm

Why is Google Chrome so slow on Windows 11?

Experiencing sluggishness with Google Chrome on Windows 11 can be particularly frustrating because you would probably expect a newer operating system to work better than an older version. But Chrome has the potential to be slow on any operating system, whether it’s on your Mac computer or Windows device.

We suggest running through the suggestions above so that you can restore Chrome’s speed.

Why is Google Chrome so slow on my laptop?

While Google Chrome can be slow on a Windows or Mac laptop for the same reasons mentioned above, such as having too many open tabs, slow internet, and even viruses, there are additional considerations.

In addition to going through the steps above, it’s worth checking whether your laptop is using an energy-saving mode. These can do wonders for your laptop’s battery life, but they achieve longer times by slowing your computer down, which can negatively affect Google Chrome, especially if you’re using resource-intensive websites.

Should I use another web browser instead of Google Chrome?

Google Chrome is a great web browser, but due to its many features and plugins, it’s prone to working slowly occasionally. Whether you should change your web browser is entirely up to you, but it won’t hurt if you try some other browsers. 

Exploring alternative browsers might be helpful if you consistently face issues with Chrome’s performance, even after trying various fixes. Browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari offer different features and may provide a smoother experience based on your usage patterns and system compatibility. 

Regardless of the user experience, as a Google product, Chrome is not known for privacy protections. Check out these comparisons to help you choose a browser:

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