Stop browseris­sues

Given how much is done on­line, your browser can be the big­gest source of pain to your com­puter

Computer Shopper - - AUDIO DEVICES -

We all rely on the in­ter­net, re­sult­ing in more browser win­dows. At the same time, web­sites have be­come more com­pli­cated and more laden with ad­ver­tis­ing, videos and the like, slow­ing down our com­put­ers. In fact, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, slow com­put­ers are of­ten down to browsers run­ning away in the back­ground eat­ing up re­sources. Here’s how to fix the is­sues.

It’s of­ten the extra junk in a web­site that brings your PC to its knees, so block­ing the junk while al­low­ing the good stuff through makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

STOP AUTO-PLAY­ING VIDEOS

Chrome 66 and higher has a new fea­ture that will au­to­mat­i­cally stop auto-play­ing videos that have the sound turned on. This should cut down on a lot of an­noy­ances, but not all sites are caught in the net. An al­ter­na­tive is to in­stall the HTML5 Video Au­to­play Blocker ex­ten­sion (tinyurl.com/chromeau­to­play­blocker). You can right-click the icon in the Chrome Tool­bar and select op­tions to view a whitelist ⬆ This Chrome Ex­ten­sion can pre­vent auto-play videos from hog­ging re­sources of sites where au­to­play is al­lowed. YouTube, Vimeo and Net­flix are all pre-filled, but you can add your favourite web­sites here, too. Re­mem­ber, many pub­lish­ers make money from ad­ver­tis­ing, so we al­ways rec­om­mend sup­port­ing the ones that pro­vide good-qual­ity con­tent to en­sure they can keep pro­vid­ing it.

BLOCK ADS

In­tru­sive, over-the-top ad­ver­tis­ing can also bring your browser to its knees. An ad blocker can make all the dif­fer­ence, al­though you ⬆ AdBlock can cut down on in­tru­sive ad­ver­tis­ing should whitelist good-qual­ity sites, help­ing to keep qual­ity jour­nal­ism go­ing by al­low­ing the web­site to make money through ad­verts. AdBlock (tinyurl.com/chromead­block­ex­ten­sion) is a good choice. To whitelist a site, visit it and click the AdBlock icon. Select Don’t run on pages on this site.

PRE­VENT CRYP­TOCUR­RENCY MIN­ERS

An in­creas­ing trick with some sites is to run a cryp­tocur­rency miner on your com­puter when you visit. This makes the site money, but wastes re­sources on your com­puter. To fix this, run the No Coin Chrome ex­ten­sion (tinyurl.com/no­co­inchrome).

CUT DOWN ON BROWSER ADD-ONS

The chances are that your web browser is one of the apps you have open all the time. As well as the re­sources that the main ap­pli­ca­tion uses, browser add-ons can build up over time, need­lessly tak­ing up mem­ory and sys­tem re­sources in the back­ground. We’ll show you how to cut down on them in Chrome.

Click on the menu icon (the three ver­ti­cal dots at the top-right of the Chrome browser win­dow) and select More tools, Ex­ten­sions. You’ll see a long list of add-ons that have been in­stalled. Go through the list and dis­able any that you don’t want to use by re­mov­ing the tick from the En­able box. This leaves the ex­ten­sion in­stalled, but pre­vents it from eat­ing any re­sources. If you spot an ex­ten­sion that you re­ally don’t want any more, click the Bin icon to delete it for good. FIX DNS IS­SUES One prob­lem with brows­ing the in­ter­net is with the Do­main Name Sys­tem (DNS). When you visit a web­site, such as com­put­er­shop­per.co.uk, the DNS sys­tem con­verts that hu­man-read­able name into an IP ad­dress that your com­puter uses. This is called a DNS lookup. Vis­it­ing a web­site gen­er­ally re­sults in mul­ti­ple DNS lookups for images, ad­ver­tis­ing, plug-ins, videos and the like. ISP DNS ser­vices can be un­re­li­able or slow, giv­ing the im­pres­sion that your com­puter isn’t work­ing prop­erly. Switch­ing to a dif­fer­ent ser­vice provider can help. Cur­rently, the best sys­tem is Cloud­flare’s, which uses the ad­dresses 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1.

It’s not al­ways pos­si­ble, but the best op­tion is to change the DNS ad­dress that your router gives out. Con­nect to your router’s web man­age­ment page. Find the DHCP set­tings and, if avail­able, change the pri­mary DNS en­try to 1.1.1.1 and the sec­ondary DNS to 1.0.0.1. Save the set­tings.

If you can’t make the change on your router, you can ad­just your com­puter’s set­tings di­rectly. Open the Con­trol Panel from the Start menu, and select Net­work and Shar­ing Cen­tre. Click Change adapter set­tings and then dou­ble-click the net­work con­nec­tion that you use to con­nect to the in­ter­net, such as Eth­er­net or Wi-Fi. Click Prop­er­ties, select In­ter­net Pro­to­col Ver­sion 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Prop­er­ties. Select Use the fol­low­ing DNS server ad­dresses and then en­ter 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 in the Pre­ferred and Al­ter­na­tive DNS server boxes. Click OK to ap­ply the set­tings.

⬆ Change your PC’s DNS set­tings to im­prove the qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity of your in­ter­net con­nec­tion

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