Given how much is done online, your browser can be the biggest source of pain to your computer
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.
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 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
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 22.214.171.124 and the secondary DNS to 126.96.36.199. 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 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 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