Today's web browsers have a whole bunch of handy features that make your experience on the Internet a lot more convenient. Unfortunately, this means that they also require a lot of your system's resources, and on low or even medium-end PCs this has a visible effect on the overall system performance. Although Google's Chrome is by far the most resource-hogging browser among the popular ones, Mozilla's Firefox can also slow down your computer. Here are a few browser add-ons that will help you reduce Firefox's system resources consumption.
Memory Fox is one of the best Firefox add-ons you can find. This tool will attempt to reduce both the browser's and the Flash RAM usage. In my experience, the extension has a visible positive impact on your overall performance, as when I first launched it, Firefox's memory usage dropped by almost 50%. But be warned: if you have a 64-bit operating system, you need to use version 220.127.116.11 instead of the latest one. (On a 32-bit system, the latest version works fine.)
Duplicate Tab Closer
In case if you're like me and open a million different tabs so that you don't forget where you found a specific bit of information, Duplicate Tab Closer might prove to be useful. As I'm sure you guessed from its name, this add-on will check if you've opened the same web page in multiple tabs and, in case you did, automatically close the duplicate one. However, keep in mind that any running add-on will add to your browser's resource consumption, so don't install it unless you actually need it.
Tab Utilities is an interesting add-on which offers some really cool extra functionality. Although not specifically designed to help improve overall performance, this tool is capable of automatically unloading tabs you haven't clicked on in a while, thus stopping them from taking up memory space. Additionally, this extension will automatically close blank tabs that you didn't mean to open, provide an undo button for when you accidentally close tabs, as well as allow you to select multiple tabs at once, etc.
In case you prefer a hands-on approach, Unload Tab is a handy add-on which allows you to manually unload any tab you want and keep it suspended until you are ready to use it. Basically, this tool is the Firefox version of Chrome's Great Suspender extension. Furthermore, you can instruct the add-on to automatically unload certain tabs, create an exclusion list for tabs that you never wish to suspend and control the way Firefox loads your tabs at start-up.
Being totally honest, Tab Scope won't drastically improve your browser's overall performance, but it could prove to be really useful in certain situations. This add-on will allow you to preview open but inactive tabs by hovering your mouse over them. This means that, if all you need is a quick peak to a webpage you've already opened, you can now do so without making the tab active, thus saving precious time. Furthermore, if the website that you're just previewing (instead of actually clicking on it) uses resource-consuming plug-ins, the overall performance will be less affected.
Tab Data (+Memory usage)
In case if you're interested in finding out which of your tabs take up most resources, Tab Data is the solution you need. This tool is capable of showing you exactly how much RAM each of your tabs requires, highlights your top 5 resource consumers and provides detailed statistics of your recent and current browsing. Moreover, the add-on is capable of performing a garbage collection which will clear out some of the needlessly occupied space and memory.
If you've tried out the previously mentioned add-on, than you've probably noticed that websites with Flash content take up a whole lot of resources. (Furthermore, the Flash plug-in isn't exactly safe as I've mentioned in a recently written article). FlashBlock is a Firefox add-on that automatically stops any Flash-related content from the websites that you open. HTML5 content still goes through, so you will be able to watch videos if they're using the right plug-in. In case you actually want to see a Flash video, simply click on it, and it will be unblocked.
If you've been using Firefox long enough, you might not actually realize the how much trash that has piled up from your previous browsing sessions. Click&Clean is an effective add-on which is capable of automatically deleting your browser's history, cache and stored cookies, removing Flash Local Shared Objects and clearing your private data each time you close the browser. Additionally, this tool has secure deletion capabilities, so that the data it destroys could not be recovered.
Memory Restart is an add-on which keeps an eye on Firefox's memory consumption and gives you a quick way to restart the browser if the resource usage gets too high. This tool ads a button next to your address bar which displays the browser's current memory usage. If a specified threshold has been reached, the button turns red (it's green otherwise), and clicking on it will quickly restart Firefox. The add-on is also capable of automatically restarting the browser (when a certain memory limit has been reached) and can help reduce memory usage.
While all of the tools on this list will help reduce Firefox's resource-usage, you should always keep in mind that the add-ons you install also require resources to run. This means that you should look through the available solutions and only download the ones that you really need. Installing and running all of them at the same time could make your browser and PC actually move slower than they did before you tried to make things better. In case if you're looking for ways to make Google Chrome take up less of your system's resources, check out this article.