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Slow Searches? 4 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Web Browser

June 21 2022

writing laptopIs your internet experience slow, yet you have a speedy connection? A sluggish web browser may be causing you problems. Browsers are so ubiquitous we take them for granted. Until we can't because we discover they are slowing us down.

Nowadays, websites contain more complex content than ever: images, video, audio, and other elements that can decrease your browser's speed over time. Unfortunately, you may not realize it until you find your browser stops working correctly. But some methods can improve browser speed and keep it that way.

Today, two browsers have more than 1 billion users: Apple Safari and Google Chrome. These web browsers are likely an indispensable part of your operating system. Browsers allow you to manage your email, post on social media, and even write, edit, and store your work documents.

Here are four things brokers and their agents can do to optimize their web browsers and improve their online productivity:

Delete Cache

The more you surf the web, the more web pages that your browser will cache – or store locally – to accelerate your internet experience. Your cache builds up when you visit new websites. Eventually, an overload of web data can noticeably slow your web browsing experience to a crawl.

A simple fix is to click on your browser's settings and find the "Clear browsing data" option, which will allow you to select and delete data that may be clogging up your browser. Right afterwards, you may see your internet speed drop a bit, but will soon be back to normal.

It would help if you also made it a habit to clean your cache every few months to maintain your browser's optimal speed. A hidden benefit of clearing your cache: Certain webpages may also contain hidden malware that could wreck your computer. Deleting your cache helps you remove potentially harmful files from your system.

Update Your Browser

Usually, your web browser will automatically update itself to the latest version. But there are times when technical issues prevent that from happening, forcing you to update it yourself manually.

A best practice with web browsers is to confirm automatic updates whenever prompted. New updates often fix recently detected security issues, offer new features, or improve browser performance.

It's also good to double-check that your automatic updates are on for your browser. The process is different for each browser and type of computer operating system (Mac or PC) you are using. If you need assistance, contact Tech Helpline, and an analyst will walk you through the steps.

If you have not regularly updated your browser, you may have to install a brand-new version from scratch instead of updating it. You'll know you have an old browser when websites don't display everything on your older browser.

Perhaps the most significant incentive to keep your browser current is the older your browser, the more vulnerable it becomes to security issues. Viruses and malware can slip by. So keep your browser current to ensure hackers won't steal your info, wreak havoc on your email or social media, or worse, take control of your computer.

That's why it is always better to update now than update later.

Less Tabs = More Speed

Learning to manage the number of tabs you have open is vital in making sure you have an optimal browsing experience. The more tabs you use in your browser, the slower the speed will likely be.

While your web pages may load swiftly with a single tab open, they can start to slow down when you have an increasing number of tabs. Plus, the most popular browsers purposefully slow down tabs that are not in the foreground and can load up to 20 times slower than the tab you are currently using.

A rule of thumb is only to have a few tabs open to improve your browser performance. If you need to access more websites quickly, it is better to bookmark the links you need.

Remove Unneeded Browser Extensions

If you have cleared your cache, are using the most recent version of your favorite web browser, don't have any extra tabs open, have a speedy internet connection, and you still have a poor browsing experience, the source of your problem might be a browser extension.

A browser extension is a small piece of software that adds a specific function or capability to your web browser. Also called a plug-in, extensions can improve your web experience.

AdBlock is an extension that helps you filter out unwanted content. Online shopping browser extensions such as Honey, Capital One Shopping, or American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping are designed to save you money or earn you miles. But sometimes, these extensions can cause a conflict.

The easiest way to see if extensions may cause a web glitch is to delete them one at a time and restart your browser. Again, feel free to contact Tech Helpline if you need assistance. As a benefit to 725,000 Realtors, odds are Tech Helpline is your member benefit at no additional cost.

As a reminder, Tech Helpline is just a click, call, or text away. On the go? Take us with you! Download the Tech Helpline mobile app available on Google Play and the App Store. Search "Tech Helpline."

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Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.