Chrome Extensions Can Seriously Slow Down Your Browsing Sessions

We suspected it, but now it’s scientifically proven: Chrome extensions can seriously slow down your browsing sessions!

At least that’s what tests conducted by the geeks at DebugBear reveal, who scrutinized the 5000 most popular Chrome extensions to see their impact on performance. And it’s disappointing… Take Monica, an AI tool with its 2 million users, for example. It casually adds 1.3 seconds of processing time to each page, even the most basic ones! Not great…

Another example is Honey, a tool that offers discount coupons and has 20 million users. When you browse a shopping site like Ikea, this little tool activates and adds 1.5 seconds of CPU time. Quite a hit!

But the worst of the worst is MaxAI with its 800,000 users. This infernal tool adds a whopping 2.3 seconds of processing time to each page! What the heck? Not all of us are equipped with a super quantum GPU to compensate for the developers’ laxity…

Let’s also note that “Superagent – Automatic cookie consent” causes more than 4 seconds of processing per page. Some airline reward programs have a similar impact, adding even more delay when they’re active.

Fortunately, most extensions aren’t that bad. 86% have a negligible impact, with less than 50 milliseconds of additional CPU time. Phew! However, there are still 1.7% that exceed half a second, and that’s not cool.

Digging a bit deeper, we see that many VPN extensions or password managers severely slow down page loading. Naturally, they route data through often slow servers on the other side of the world, so that doesn’t help…

But there is some good news in this mess! Ad blockers, in fact, speed up browsing. Of course, they prevent a lot of undesirable content from loading. uBlock Origin, one of the most popular with its 37 million users, reduces processing time from 57 seconds to less than 4 seconds on ad-heavy sites! Magic, but still, consider unblocking it on my site to support me or join my Facebook page if one of my articles has helped you and you appreciate my work!

And regarding the data downloaded, it’s life-changing. Without a blocker, an ad-heavy site weighs 41 MB. With uBlock Origin, it drops to less than 3 MB. Impressive! However, I’d advise against AdBlock and AdBlock Plus as they are less effective. Perhaps due to the “acceptable ads” program that can be disabled to improve performance? Who knows…

In short, a word to extension developers: please optimize your code! Load the bare minimum, run your scripts after the page loads, not before. And leave people alone, don’t activate your tools on all sites by default when it’s not necessary!

Google should also put some pressure and promote lightweight and well-made extensions because the heavy scripts running everywhere get annoying!

In short, it’s spring (even if it’s raining all the time), so take the opportunity to sort out your extensions! Get rid of those that are useless and consume resources like crazy, or at least disable them when you don’t need them. Your browser will thank you!

Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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