Getting through the day without using a web browser is not a thing. We rely on them for everything. When your browser is acting up, the impact to your productivity, or sanity, or Netflix binge can be serious. Below are several of the more common problems users might experience with their web browser, and what you can do to fix those problems.
Troubleshooting issues with your web browser is not entirely difficult. Most of today’s web browsers have built-in tools that will take care of numerous issues or at least help you get back to running smoothly in no time.
1. Poor Performance or Slow Page Loading
First things first, check the speed of your internet. Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or TestMy.net are good tools for this. Now that you know your connection speed is fine, poor browser performance and page loading can be the result of several different issues.
Most modern day web browsers will keep themselves up to date, but just in case, check to make sure you’re running the latest version of your browser. Below are the most common browsers and how to check for updates:
- Google Chrome
- Browser Menu > Help > About Google Chrome
- Browser Menu > Help > About Firefox
- Windows Settings Menu > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for Updates
- Mac App Store > Updates
Sometimes your browser performance is linked to extensions you might be using. Disabling them all and then enabling them one by one, seeing the impact to performance can help determine which extensions are causing your problems. Below are the most common browsers and how to disable/enable their extensions:
- Google Chrome
- Browser Menu > More Tools > Extensions
- Browser Menu > Add-Ons
- Browser Menu > Extensions
- Browser Menu > Preferences > Extensions
If you find that there are no extensions causing performance issues, then the browsers cache might have issues impacting performance. Clearing that data is like changing the oil for your browser. But, once you do this, you will most likely be logged out of all your favorite websites, so be ready to log back into them. Below are the most common browsers and how to clear their website cache:
- Google Chrome
- Browser Menu > Settings > Advanced > Clear Browsing Data
- Browser Menu > Options > Privacy & Security > Clear Data
- Browser Menu > Settings > Choose what to Clear
- Browser Menu > Preferences > Privacy > Manage Website Data
Your last option, if you are still experiencing problems, is to uninstall and then reinstall your browser. This is what many call a clean reinstall. While uninstalling the browser, if given the option, to tell the uninstall to remove all data, related to your browser, from your computer. This will ensure the uninstall will remove settings, extensions, cookies, cache, and anything else. Now reinstall the browser. If you are still seeing performance issues, then malware could be to blame. Which we will discuss about in a little bit.
2. Unwanted URL suggestions
As time browsing the web goes by, your web browser will start to suggest URLs based on what you type into the address bar. This is a handy feature at times when you are trying to browse and do not feel like typing out a full website address. The problem is you will undoubtedly start seeing suggestions for stuff you do not want or want other people to see. The most successful way to stop this is to delete your browsing history, which I explained above. But that’s a pretty extreme option.
Removing a single URL is a less extreme option and very easy to do. In any browser, start typing in the address bar until you see the URL suggestion you want to remove. Once it appears, use the arrow keys to select that suggestion and then hit the following keys to delete the URL from suggestions:
- Google Chrome
- Shift + Delete
- Delete ( or Backspace)
- Shift + Fn + Delete
For Edge, you will have to clear your browsing history, as listed above, to remove URL suggestions.
3. Web Page Appears Incorrectly
When a web page starts looking odd compared to what to you normally expect, it can become frustrating. The first few things you can do is try refreshing the page, visit the page in another browser or another computer. If the web page looks odd on all browsers or devices, the issue is due to your internet or something was changed by the website. Double check to make sure the website address is correct and that you have not been redirected to fake version of the website. That can happen due to scammers.
If the page does not look odd on other browsers, then a safe assumption would be that there is a problem with your browser. A few steps you can take to fix the issue are 1, clear your browser history, or 2, disable browser extensions to see if they are causing issues, or 3, uninstalling and reinstalling your browser. All of these options I explained how to do earlier in this article.
4. Auto-Fill Data is Not Working
Auto-Fill is super handy when filling out information during the checkout process or a sign up form. But from time to time it’ll not always work how you expect it to. Other times, the data will just not show up.
The first step you want to take to is ensure auto-fill is actually turned on. Below are the most common browsers and how to check autofill settings:
- Google Chrome
- Browser Menu > Settings > Advanced > Auto-Fill
- Browser Menu > Options > Privacy & Security > Forms & Passwords
- Browser Menu > Settings > View Advanced Settings > Auto-fill
- Browser Menu > Preferences > Auto-fill
Once you have verified auto-fill is enabled, then we come back to the usual suspects, bad data in the browser cache or browser extensions. Follow the steps from earlier about clearing your browser’s cache and the steps to disabled and enable extensions. If you do find out that an extension is to blame, double check to see if an update is available for that extension. Otherwise, you might want to consider removing that extension or disabling it.
5. Browser Keeps Crashing Randomly
Solving this problem is the same as the steps we outlined for the browser performance section. If you’ve followed those steps and the browser is still randomly crashing it’s time to move onto other factors involving your device.
Sometimes new hardware, like a printer or webcam, can cause issues with your browser. If you just installed a new device, try uninstalling it and seeing if that fixes the issue. Unfortunately, trying to figure out if hardware on your computer is causing your browser to crash is difficult. Basically troubleshooting boils down to uninstalling and reinstalling hardware devices and software. This is tedious to do and sometimes may not help you find the problem.
The best advice we can recommend is to ensure all of your device drivers, software, and operating system are up to date. Most software has a “Check for Updates” under an About menu. And most drivers will be updated by the operating system or have an update feature. Make sure to go through all of those updates on a regular basis.
6. Way Too Many Pop-Up Windows
Pop-ups are a pain to deal with in the web world. Thankfully they are not as bad as they used to be. But, every once and awhile you might notice a large number of websites will start showing pop-ups. When that happens, malware or adware could be on your computer and causing these headaches.
The adware or malware might be running as an extension on your browser or as a separate program on your computer. It could even be hiding it’s activity from you. One of the first steps you should take is run a full system scan with whatever antivirus software you have installed on your computer. Another step after that could be doing a secondary scan with Microsoft Safety Scanner or ClamWin Portable.
For your browser, run the the steps in section one to find what could be causing the issues with pop-ups. Also, take a moment to install an ad-blocker, which are especially helpful on pop-up heavy sites. Just remember to white-list your favorite websites.
7. Unstable Internet Connection
Having internet problems can be a real bummer, but they probably extend beyond just browser. The first thing to check is if the issue is with all of your devices or just one device.
If the issue is isolated to one device, you will want to see what is using your bandwidth. You can do this by searching for Task Manager on your Windows task bar or, if you have an Apple device, searching for Activity Monitor in the macOS Spotlight. These tools will show you applications running on your device and how they are using system resources, such as CPU power, hard drives and your network.
You might find that a weird application is using bandwidth. If you do not recognize the application, try running some system scans, as detailed in section six of this article. If you notice bandwidth is being used by a browser, it’s time to dig into what’s wrong with the browser.
When trouble shooting internet connection issues with a browser, you will want to go through several of the items already cover in this article. This includes, disabling add-ons, clearing the browser cache, checking for updates, and so on and so forth.
If you find that the issue occurring on all devices, the issue may be outside of your control. Check for updates on your router and try rebooting your modem. Otherwise, you may have to call your service provider for help.
8. Broken Videos and/or Images
When a web page is not displaying images or videos, it could be an issue with the website’s hosting provider. Other times it might be due to your internet connection, so run through the steps in the previous issue. Websites might not work properly when you have certain settings set on your browser.
If, after checking your browser’s settings, you are still seeing issues, then it’s time to run through all the troubleshooting steps we have gone over earlier. Third-party extensions can cause issues with images and videos, especially ad blockers.
9. Homepage Randomly Changes Often
The homepage for your browser can change at times. Installing other browsers might do this, sometimes installing an application, like anti-virus, will update your browsers homepage. That is kind of normal if you do not pay attention when installing new software.
The issue is when your homepage changes, without your permission, and keeps changing after you have attempted to change it back. When this happens, it’s a sure sign that either an extension or malware is causing your homepage woes. These extensions or malware could be attempting to further infect your computer or get you to visit websites with affiliate links, in an attempt to earn some money.
We hate to sound like a broken record, but now is the time to run through steps outlined in section one. Disabling extensions, updating your homepage, and restarting the browser to see if the homepage does not change will be a quick red flag you have a bad extension. Running a security scan is also a good safety measure as well. See section six of this article for more information.