Everyone wants faster Web browsing. After all, who has time to wait for Web pages to load these days? This is especially true if you're a tab-junkie like me. When you live with an open browser containing 10 to 15 tabs running at any given time, you know how crucial it is to have as fast a browsing experience as possible. But how do you manage this? Are there tricks to getting more speed when your pipe is maxed out already? You bet your sweet bits and bytes there are.
Not every solution will work for every user, and not every solution should even be attempted by every user. However, if you like to eke out as much blood as you can from every turnip, let's see how you can squeeze a bit more speed from your browsing experience.
Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.
1: Use a fast browser
Not all browsers are created equal. Some are simply faster than others. The top speed you will find, in the current crop of browsers, belongs to Google Chrome. If you've grown accustomed to Internet Explorer or Firefox, you'll notice a dramatic increase in rendering time using Google Chrome. Of all the ways you can speed up your browsing experience, this is by far the best. Google Chrome also helps speed things up by allowing you to enter search strings in the URL address bar. With this feature, you don't have to add yet another toolbar, thereby slowing down the browser even further.
2: Disable Flash
Flash pretty much saturates Web sites now. It's almost impossible to get away from this technology. Problem is, Flash can be slow, so it directly affects the speed of your browsing experience. You can have Flash turned off by default and then re-enable it to view what you need to view. The biggest problem with this is that some browsers require an add-on to block Flash. For Chrome, you need the extension Flashblock. There's also a Flashblock extension for Firefox. Internet Explorer has a built-in tool you can access by clicking Tools | Manage Add-ons. In the Manage Add-ons dialog box, double-click Shockwave Flash Object. Then, click the Remove All Sites button. This will disable Flash for all sites.
3: Save your temporary Web files on a RAM disk
I wrote an article awhile back on using a RAM disk to help speed up disk-intensive applications. Since the RAM disk will be much faster than your standard hard drive, using it to save all your browsers temporary files will create a faster environment for your browser. However, this solution is not for the newbie, and you will need to use a third-party to better achieve this task.
4: Get rid of all those toolbars
You've seen them in the wild: browsers so filled with toolbars they take up the majority of real estate in the browser window. Most users don't realize those toolbars tend to slow down the browser in many ways. Some toolbars simply take up precious computer memory, while others eat away at bandwidth by sending and receiving data in the background. The math here is quite simple: The more toolbars you have, the slower your browser will run. Some of those toolbars might seem essential. But if speed is really your top priority, you will want to jettison that extra baggage for the speed you will gain.
5: Use tabs, not windows
Too many tabs can cause problems, but they're still your best bet for browsing efficiency. How do tabs speed up your experience? A couple of ways. The first is all about organization. With multiple tabs in a single window, it becomes quite a bit faster to locate the page you need to work on. You don't have to maximize a window, discover that it's not the right one, minimize it, maximize a new window... until you find the correct one. A single window open with multiple tabs is far easier to search. This is not the only way tabs can help you. Browsers like Chrome treat each tab as an individual process (instead of a child process of a parent). So when a Web site causes a tab to crash, you can close that one tab and not lose all the other tabs. This behavior is not a standard at the moment, so you'll need to switch over to the Chrome browser to take advantage of it.
There are hundreds of ways to make your browsing experience faster. But the above list should give you an immediate, noticeable boost in speed. Have you found other ways to speed up your browsing experience? Share your favorite tricks with your fellow TechRepublic readers.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.