I often am researching stuff, and need lots of tabs open but Chrome can get very slow. I notice that often memory seems to be increasing for chrome processes - even ones I am not interacting with. I suspect this is because of Javascript.

Is there a way to temporarily disable Javascript or other resources for Chrome tabs I am not using, except for a whitelist of sites like GMail, and Facebook? (Some sites are webapps doing background tasks I find useful - like waiting for instant messages.)

I would be content with just an image of many web pages, rather than a full dynamic tab just sitting there using memory. I only need it to be dynamic when interacting with it.

I wish Chrome would keep inactive tabs in separate processes and just pause some of it's processes I'm not using.

Side note, probably separate issue: I often find killing the Flash plugin can speed things up too.

  • did you find a solution working in current chrome (v45)? Oct 7, 2015 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


I wanted something like this but I only wanted to pause the JavaScript v8 context for inactive tabs as this is less disruptive to the page than turning JavaScript off. As what I found also somewhat answers the OP's question I'll put what I found here.

I found out that doing that was possible with chrome.experimental.debugger and they provide an sample extension which uses the debugger which creates an icon which allows one to pause and unpause the current tab.

I haven't yet tested whether that could be adapted to automatically pause tabs when inactive and unpause them when they become active.

  • Great, so we're getting closer it seems! Feb 17, 2012 at 22:34
  • It also might be possible for a program to detect the current tab in use and slow down other processes by pausing them (cpulimit on Linux is great). Though I suppose finding the processes for the current tab may be tricky (or rather finding the Chrome processes that are not involved in the current tab). I guess a Chrome extension would be good. I wish the whole browser was scriptable in JS... Feb 17, 2012 at 22:39
Wrench Menu > Options > Under the Hood > Privacy 'Content settings' > Javascript

In the above section, you can completely turn off javascript for all sites and then mark as exception the whitelist of sites like GMail, and Facebook.

There is no way Google Chrome will automatically figure which tabs are active and disable javascript for the inactive ones. Not yet anyway.

enter image description here

  • I consider this overkill because I think Javascript should be everywhere, I want my web access to be dynamic, but thanks anyhow :) Feb 12, 2013 at 4:47

In March 2017 (Chrome 57), Chrome added some automation of this https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2017/03/background_tabs

Background tabs are now limited to 10ms each, on average, of processing each second.

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