I have heard that each tab in a Google chrome is a separate process. So if any tab crashed it won't be affected to the whole browser. So if you open so many tabs there will be as many processes in the OS.

Is this a performance issue?

  • It depends on your RAM and CPU performance.
    – ctzdev
    Mar 15, 2011 at 15:12
  • from my 2 years experience changing from chrome to safari on my mac, with 2gb of RAM, chrome is heavier and I blame the separate process thing. my guess is that might be a good thing on windows but not on *nixes.
    – cregox
    Apr 13, 2011 at 19:06
  • YES IT DOES! I use many tabs in Firefox. Pretty much anytime some one checks out my screen they say, "hey you've got a lot of tabs open." I'm a software developer and I find it very useful to keep up to 6 rows of tabs open for the various projects I'm working on. Google Chrome is horrible for this. FF beats it hands down for performance. Chrome also cannot do rows of tabs.
    – jcoffland
    Nov 13, 2012 at 10:09
  • The only real benefit is that if one page crashes the whole browser does not crash. If you just create a stable browser and isolate plugins this is not an issue.
    – jcoffland
    Nov 13, 2012 at 10:11

6 Answers 6


I've used Chrome as main browser on one of my PCs. I've never experienced performance problems . Actually the mechanism keeps the single tabs very responsive because one "bad" site doesn't affect the other tabs.

BTW: also Internet Explorer 8 implemented the same mechanism and future versions of Firefox will do the same.

Edit: Here is an interesting blog post written by Scott Hanselman: Microsoft IE8 and Google Chrome - Processes are the New Threads

  • Yep - there's a good reason why all the browsers have or are going this way. It makes browsers far more responsive. For a even more process-intensive implementation, look at Microsoft's Gazelle - it uses a process for just about everything.
    – Dan Walker
    Jul 20, 2009 at 7:01
  • I strongly disagree. Try opening 6 rows of tabs in Chrome then in FF.
    – jcoffland
    Nov 13, 2012 at 10:10
  • 1
    I disagree as well. Things have changed since '09, chrome is terribly slow with switching between tabs. Especially pinned tabs (i think it saves the state to the HDD and reads it when switching back?). They need to work on this.
    – qwerty
    May 27, 2013 at 6:50

In the fallowing scenario:

  • have multiple tabs opened in Chrome, and don't use it for a while
  • have many opened applications that trigger windows to send unused applications to swap file (run out of memory)

When you return to Chrome, you will feel each tab recovering from swap slowdown. In other applications you will be delayed only once.

You could call it a performance issue, but it's only a side-effect of the different process architecture.

Don't get me wrong, I still prefer this over Firefox's (non) performance with many opened tabs and low memory, and it can be avoided if you have enough memory.

  • i have similar issues as Mercer Traieste. i have at least 20 tabs open, when i reload chrome... i expect at least 2 minutes of PC lagg and chrome lagg (i could say hangup). This is on a core 2 duo with 4gb ddr2 on windows 7 64bit ultimate. ALSO, when i dont use tabs that are open, when i do click on them they are blank for about a second or two (at times more). What disappoints me is that certain chrome processes get bigger and bigger, especially the flash ones even tho i have nothing flash based open anymore.
    – ad1
    Jun 21, 2010 at 20:53

Not at all. Even though processes on Windows are more expensive to create than on UNIX-based systems, It is not nearly slow enough be called an issue.

The added stability and resiliency added by using multiple processes actually makes Chrome feel faster because it tends to be more responsive when running multiple tabs with intense Javascript and/or Flash.

You can get a quick view of how the multiple processes can be used to keep the browser stable from here


Yes, it is a performance issue since each process would technically get it's own time-slice. A single-process browser would get just one slice where a multi-process browser can get a slice per process. Thus the browser is a bit faster and responds better, but your system in general will be a bit slower. (Unless you only have one tab open.) Internet Explorer 8 also uses multiple processes. Since many people use their browser quite a lot, it's a good thing to improve the performance of your browser, even though it might slow down other processes...

This technique is actually quite common on Unix systems, where a multi-threaded application would often just translate to an application that would just start a second process to run the separate thread in.

Performance-wise, using multiple processes instead of threads will make your system more reliable since a crash of one process won't kill the other ones. Furthermore, a special "guardian" process could keep track of the other processes and take actions when one of the processes seems to be stuck on something. It could even kill and restart the thread, if need be. But speed-wise, it tends to depend on the number of other processes that you have running. In general, you will have between 40 and 75 processes active on a clean Windows system. (Assume 40 for now.) If you open Chrome with 20 tab pages, processing time would then be divided over 60 processes instead of 41. This does slow down the other processes a bit. (But does give you a better browser experience.)



Just after booting my laptop on Windows 7 (with no applications running), there are 74 processes running and CPU is only yawning...

alt text

Don't worry about number of processes. Current machines will run hundreds of processes and won't even blink.

  • +1 The number of processes /= Average CPU usage.
    – surfasb
    Mar 15, 2011 at 15:18

Yes... It will. But according to the capabilities of the modern computers the advantage you get from this (Capability of handeling each web page independantly, ex : In a failure) is bigger than the memory issue. Note that the modern computers have giga bytes of memory.

P.S The google comic book addresses this issue as well. Have look.

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