Modern web browsers are great. Software, like Chrome and Firefox, has brought a lot of innovation to the World Wide Web. One of those many innovations has been browser extensibility via plugins. Plugins are great but we really need to be careful of them.
Plugins add a lot of functionality to web browsers. I won’t deny that. I use plugins too. In fact, I have one for Pinterest, Pocket, and Origin installed in Chrome right now. I’m picky about what I use, though.
When modern PCs have 16 gigs of ram or more, that doesn’t sound like much. Keep in mind that these two plugins are also using processor time too. That means at any given time, both of these plugins are using calculation time that could be used for any number of the system services running on the computer or the browser itself.
I’m pretty picky about what extensions I use. I understand the impact on system resources they can have. My friends don’t always understand it, though. There have been multiple times where they have complained that their PC is really slow when they browse the internet. I come over and take a look and find out that their browser is using 6 gigs of memory because of the amount of open tabs and plugins installed.
That isn’t uncommon either. I’ve done plenty of consulting where employees, friends, and family all have this issue. It usually boils down to a number of plugins installed.
It can be a miserable experience.
That’s not all, though. Plugins can have security risks. Chrome, Safari, and Firefox all run in a sandboxed environment, which means code running in the browser shouldn’t have access to anything in the system. All browsers have security holes, though, and sometimes we just don’t pay attention to what we are clicking. It’s not hard to give a plugin access to the system by accident. It happens to the best of us, but it’s still a security risk that we need to pay attention too.
Here’s my warning. Be careful about the amount of plugins installed in your browser. They are really great to have but can be very detrimental if misused. I suggest seeing what plugins are installed right now. Uninstall the ones that are never used anymore. Decide whether or not you really need some of them. I promise the extra speed you gain on your computer is worth it.