Firefox uses too much memory (RAM) - How to fix
Firefox sometimes uses more memory (RAM) than it should. This can make Firefox slower, and in extreme cases, it can even make Firefox crash. This article describes how to make Firefox use less memory.
- Depending on your operating system, you can review and monitor memory usage through specific tools. On Windows, the Performance tab of the Windows Task Manager displays memory usage.
Table of Contents
- 1 Updating to the latest version
- 2 Extensions and themes
- 3 Plugins
- 4 Checking Firefox hardware acceleration
- 5 Restarting Firefox
- 6 Using fewer tabs
- 7 Memory troubleshooting tools
Updating to the latest version
The latest Firefox version includes improvements about memory usage. Update to the latest version.
Extensions and themes
Disabling memory consuming extensions and themes
Extensions and themes can cause Firefox to use more memory than it normally would.
To determine if an extension or theme is causing Firefox to use too much memory, start Firefox in Safe Mode and observe its memory usage. In Safe Mode, extensions and themes are disabled, so if you notice a significant improvement, you can try disabling or uninstalling extensions.
- For more information on starting Firefox in Safe Mode and on how to find which extension or theme is causing your problem, see Troubleshoot extensions, themes and hardware acceleration issues to solve common Firefox problems.
Hiding intrusive content
Many web pages have content you don't really need such as ads and that uses memory to display (see the plugin section below). Some extensions allow you to block such unnecessary content:
- Adblock Plus lets you block ads on websites.
- Flashblock allows you to selectively enable and disable Flash content on websites.
- NoScript allows you to selectively enable and disable all scripts running on websites.
Plugins to display special types of content can consume large amounts of memory, especially older versions.
Updating your plugins
To check to see if you have the latest versions of all your plugins, go to our Plugin Check page.
Disabling memory consuming plugins
You can test to see whether one of your plugins is causing Firefox to use too much memory by selectively disabling some of them:
At the top of the Firefox window, click on the buttonOn the menu bar, click on the menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the , and then click menu . The Add-ons Manager tab will open.
- In the Add-ons Manager tab, select the panel.
- Click on a plugin in the list to select it, then press to disable it.
- Repeat for some of the plugins in your list.
After disabling some of your plugins, close and restart Firefox, and observe its memory usage. If you don't see an improvement, you can enable those plugins again and try with a different set.
If you do see an improvement in Firefox's memory usage after disabling a certain plugin, you may leave it disabled. If you can't because its use is widespread on Internet, try to find an alternative lighter plugin:
- For PDF readers lighter than Adobe Reader, see View PDF files in Firefox without downloading them.
Checking Flash hardware acceleration
For certain plugins that play videos such as Flash, the content rendering in full screen can be accelerated by hardware. It eases memory usage in case of a dedicated graphic card memory.
- Navigate to a page that shows a Flash video.
- Right-clickHold down the Ctrl key while you click on the video player and click in the context menu. The Adobe Flash Player Settings screen will open.
- Click on the icon at the bottom-left of the Adobe Flash Player Settings window to open the Display panel.
- Check Enable hardware acceleration is selected.
- Click to close the Adobe Flash Player Settings Window.
Checking Firefox hardware acceleration
Firefox hardware acceleration eases memory usage in case of a dedicated graphic card memory.
Firefox's memory usage may increase if it's left open for long periods of time. A workaround for this is to periodically restart Firefox. You can configure Firefox to save your tabs and windows so that when you start it again, you can start where you left off. See Restore previous session - Configure when Firefox shows your most recent tabs and windows for details.
Using fewer tabs
Each tab requires Firefox to store a web page in memory. If you frequently have more than 100 tabs open, consider using a more lightweight mechanism to keep track of pages to read and things to do, such as:
Memory troubleshooting tools
- The about:memory page allows you to troubleshoot finely specific issues about memory (e.g. caused by a website, an extension, a theme) and sometimes its button may help you instantly reduce memory usage.
- RAMBack lets you flush many of Firefox's caches, allowing you to distinguish caching from leaking.
If you're a C++ programmer, you can even try your hand at some of the tools Firefox developers use to debug leaks.
Based on information from Reducing memory usage - Firefox (mozillaZine KB)
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