Your web browser is probably the most use application on your computer. Chances are it has replaced your email client, many of your productivity apps and keeps you in touch with friends and colleagues through social media and collaboration services. So it makes sense to try and get more oomph from your browser.
The performance gap between different browsers
Whenever a significant update to your preferred browser is released, the developers will, most likely, throw up a bunch of benchmarks that show how their app is faster than all the others.
My experience of the main players - Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari on both macOS and Windows 10 - is that the differences might be significant on benchmark programs but there's not a lot of real-world difference. Given many of us have several browser windows open with several active tabs in each, the performance differences will have more to do with your computer's memory, processor and internet connection speed than the browser software.
My suggestion is to pick the browser you most like using, with an interface that works for you or can be easily customised to suit you and go with that rather than chase benchmark results.
With Google Chrome now dominating web usage, followed by Firefox and Edge, you'd think there are very few choices when it comes to web browsing. But the reality is there are still plenty of other options. Here are five web browsers you can try if you're looking for something a little different.
#1 Limit the number of plug-ins you use
One of the great things about modern browsers is that they are highly extensible. There are thousands of tools you can use that add extra functions to browsers. However, all those plug-ins and extensions can take a toll on your browser's performance.
If you're in the habit of trying different extensions out, take some time to review what extensions you've added and remove any that you no longer use or need.
#2 Clearing caches
I have to admit I'm a little torn over this recommendation but it can help in some situations.
When you browse the internet, your browser stores some of the content you read so that it doesn't have to fetch it again when you return to that site. In general, this should actually speed things up but there are times when the cache gets broken or corrupted leading to a performance hit.
If your browser feels sluggish, clearing the cache can help give things a boost.
#3 Don't skip browser updates
Google, Microsoft, Firefox and all the other browser developers regularly update their software. With your browser being a gateway into many of the apps and services we sue, ensuring we have the most recent version means you'll have the latest security update.
But the developers are also constantly tweaking performance to deal with the ever-increasing number of tabs we keep open and streamlining how background processes are managed. If you want your browser to operate at peak efficiency, keep it up to date.
#4 Enable pre-loading of pages
Chrome supports the pre-loading of webpages so they appear faster as you type a URL into the address bar.
For example, if you start typing lifehacker, Chrome will start pre-loading the pages so that when you hit ENTER the page appears faster.
Other browsers can support a similar feature although you may need to use a browser extension to get the job done.
#5 Block trackers
I've been using Brave as the main browser on my Windows 10 and macOS systems for a while now. By blocking a bunch of trackers and ads it claims to have saved me some time when browsing.
But even on the Windows system I've been using for a few weeks, the amount of time it's saved in loading content has been a modest three minutes. That's not a lot of time. But where it has saved me time is in not having to scroll past so many ads within the content I view.
If there are websites you visit regularly and want to support, don't block ads there. But perhaps for other sites, you can speed things up but not having ads load.