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Trouble with High CPU usage of Firefox on a Specific Website


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#1
TooNew2

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My only device is a hard-wired laptop running Win7 and using both IE 11 and the ESR version 52.3 of Mozilla Firefox, it always kept updated. My Firefox usually has one window open showing a tab or two for the National Weather Service, a few more about gas prices locally, perhaps some for Ebay, and a couple tabs for one website I frequent, it having changed a few years ago due to security problems from the VBulletin system to this system:

 

Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2017 XenForo Ltd.

 

For some months, my background activity seems to have increased when on the site, to the point that doing anything on my entire system can be slow. My Task Manager shows two Firefox.exe running, sometimes with their two CPU usages totaling 60% or more, this often continuing when the Firefox is minimized. With the window showing, little circling activity arrows at some (but not all) tabs for this site keep turning off and on, no matter whether the 'reload' button has just been cancelled, this while a message on the lower side of the page briefly displays what is trying to load. It seems as if the site software is constantly trying to update various parts.

I am not the only one on the site who's had the problem; other members recently complained that the back button wouldn't function. Sometimes, by double-clicking, it would work for me but other times it wouldn't and I didn't know if it had automatically updated the page or just high activity keep it too busy to react. Site moderators (all volunteers) have been made aware of the problem and have supposedly updated the site, etc. but the problem continues. Other site members have confirmed the problem doesn't happen with other browsers.

 

I have no optional add-ons running on Firefox and see no other settings on my Options page which seem to be involved. Is there anything on my system I can check to find out exactly what's going on or solve any of the problem for me, or can I at least determine/show that this is something that needs to be fixed by the site administrators? Might my contacting the XenForo administrators be a better approach to the problem, even though I have no authority for the site?

I can post some screenshots of CPU usage from  a few months ago demonstrating some of the activity if it would be useful.

Any knowledgeable suggestions are appreciated.

 

Edit:  I just had the standard Firefox window open but closed all tabs for that particular problem website. When I first open a tab for a GasBuddy site, the CPU goes up as it loads, and more so as ads download, but quickly clicking the 'stop reload' button puts a permanent end to that, in contradiction to the process with the XenoForo site. CPU usage is now ~3% with Firefox open but without the above problem site.


Edited by TooNew2, 11 August 2017 - 11:02 AM.

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#2
UnloosedCake

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Hello TooNew2,
:welcome:
My name is UnloosedCake, and I'm here to help!

The matter of multiple Firefox processes running at the same time has a simple answer, whereas the rest of your problem can be a bit more complex.

Web browsers (Chrome is most notorious for this) will fork into multiple processes with multiple tabs or windows to allow for the scripts and rendering that's going on to happen in a multi-threaded facet, as opposed to having to share CPU time for 5 tabs in one process, it's a normal function but can get a bit RAM intensive.

The problem you're experiencing, in my opinion, has nothing to do with you, but with some sort of script or something that's running on the website. When scripts run repeatedly (an example is the one to refresh the "online users" portion of a forum) it takes up CPU power to refresh that portion of the page as frequently as the code dictates, and then when you add in however many scripts are running on that website at the same time to handle all of the forum functions, things like using all of your processing power can happen.

Unfortunately, it seems that the issue isn't on your end, which means that there's not a whole lot you can do. I would suggest trying different browsers, sometimes scripts don't run the same between them, or installing a "NoScript"-like add-on to be able to control what's running in the background which might help.

Hope that helps a bit! If there are any additional questions or issues, feel free to reply back!
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#3
TooNew2

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Thanks for the reply; I thought it probably wasn't anything at my end, but also thought that if I could get more information about what was causing the problem, I could pass it on to an administrator. I already suggested they contact the website forum provider. They all have regular jobs and normal commitments, and may not be highly computer-literate themselves, so if I could have helped, it would have been worth the trouble.

 

As for using a different browser, for various reasons, some political,  I'd rather stick with Firefox than go to anything like Chrome, but the suggestion of a "No-Script" type of Add-On is a good one I should look into.


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#4
TooNew2

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Posted above by UnloosedCake: 

 I would suggest  ....  installing a "NoScript"-like add-on to be able to control what's running in the background which might help.

 

 

Your suggesting finally got me motivated to do what I'd long intended, but first I did a very quick bit of 'research' ... and found this article talking about vulnerabilities those add-ons can bring:
 

https://arstechnica....-to-new-attack/

I've known people who liked No Script, and I even had it long ago, but based on that article, I chose AdBlock Plus, and since installing it, haven't had the CPU problem. Yes, I had thought about doing this for a long time, but just didn't get around to looking into it until now, and having done so and reported it there, a few others on the site have successfully done the same. Thanks again.    


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