Google Chrome is notoriously a system resource hog, specifically in RAM usage. This is because each tab and a number of background features are all distinct processes with their own memory allocation. The more tabs you open, the more RAM is used. This high level of system resource usage can have a negative impact on the performance of other applications if you don’t have enough available RAM.
There are two ways to reduce Chrome’s RAM usage, you can either close open tabs, or you can use an extension such as “The Great Suspender”. Closing tabs manually is an effective way to reduce RAM usage, but means you have to search through your recently closed tabs or browser history to be able to re-open recent tabs.
The Great Suspender, available here, is an extension that automatically “suspends” tabs that have been unused for a while to free up the RAM that they were using. The process technically keeps the tab open, but discards all of the data from RAM, requiring you to reload the tab to be able to use it again. This process frees up the vast majority of the RAM used by tabs that you aren’t actively using while not permanently closing them.
How to use The Great Suspender
To install The Great Suspender, click on the “Add to Chrome” button on the Store page. When you install it the options menu will open in a tab allowing you to configure the settings. By default, tabs are automatically suspended after an hour of inactivity, unless they’re pinned, contain unsaved form inputs, are playing audio, or are the foreground tab in any window.
It’s recommended that you enable “Apply Chrome’s built-in memory-saving when suspending, as it enables further efficiencies such as being able to suspend a tab without losing unsubmitted form data.
Having The Great Suspender added to the right-click context menu gives you access to a number of functions that aren’t otherwise possible such as immediately suspending tabs and groups of tabs.