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Why do web pages take so much RAM?

I have left an instance of Chrome open for the last 4 days with several app tabs pinned and have noticed three sites that have had quite extreme memory foot prints. This has not been happening for IE and Firefox. The memory foot print of those tabs and the rest of my apps caused my machine to come to a crawl and to get the low virtual memory warning from windows.

The offending tabs:

  • Twitter - 117 Mb
  • Programmers (Stack Exchange) - 167 Mb
  • Facebook - 193 Mb

My machine:

  • Windows XP Professional SP3
  • Intel dual core
  • 4 Gb of RAM
  • Chrome 15.0.874.121

I noticed the sites with the exploding memory footprints all have something in common. They are quite AJAX-y. An internal web app I have been AJAX-ifying which happened to have the fourth largest memory footprint out of the tabs.

The question is this. Are there any known issues with this version of Chrome, especially related to javascript intensive sites? Are there any settings that can be manipulated to mitigate these issues? Slightly out of scope for this site but, as a programmer is there anything I can do for my own web sites to prevent this memory creep?

Intuition tells me either Chrome is trying to cache data or there is some fault in it's handling of the javascript memory space but I just don't actually know. Any insight would be appreciated and if this is the wrong site we can move it.

  • 1
    This might belong in Programming for your later questions around avoiding memory 'creeping'. In my experiences with Chrome, it really doesn't like running a day or 2 without a close & re-open. Even after a few hours of regular use it'll have quite a large memory footprint.
    – HaydnWVN
    Dec 13 '11 at 12:19
  • Agree on the last question and may edit it out. Is this a known and accepted issue? I haven't had this happen before but I tend to regularly close the browser. Less convenient on my work PC where I could have a dozen very relevant tabs open and want to pick up the next day.
    – Rig
    Dec 13 '11 at 15:32
  • Chrome will happily remember your tabs you have open, whatever the number... (within reason) So just reopen it the next day! Save the planet and shutdown overnight! ;)
    – HaydnWVN
    Dec 14 '11 at 11:13
  • 1
    I would but its not so much about chrome. Its about my X number of SSH sessions, Y number of remote desktops, and Z number of files open in Eclipse combined with some wonky Clearcase issues I have. Guess I'll just have to close and reopen chrome regularly to keep my box running...
    – Rig
    Dec 14 '11 at 14:16

Take a look at this question, it asks a similar question and there are some good answers and comments.

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