... there are popups offering services to speed it up but i don't trust them. are they safe?
Whatever you do, do not download or install any product claiming to magically "clean up" or "speed up" or "optimize" your Mac. Without exception, they will do the opposite. If you already did, you found the problem. Fix it.
If it is only Web browsing that seems to be slower than it used to, that is often the result of such sites becoming ever more demanding of hardware and bandwidth. Short of paying for faster Internet service, buying additional memory, or a faster Mac, there is little you can do to cope with such so-called progress.
If you're experiencing general slowdowns or "freezes" unrelated to Internet activity, the problem may be related to your computer or the software you installed and is something you may be able to fix, or at least improve. Aside from hardware failures and software that you install, including OS upgrades, there is no reason that your computer should not work precisely the same as it did when it was new.
Without a more specific description it is difficult to provide specific guidance. Read the following to determine if something may apply to your concern:
General Mac maintenance: Tips to keep your Mac in top form
General purpose Mac troubleshooting guide: Isolating issues in Mac OS X
Creating a temporary account to isolate user-specific problems: Isolating an issue by using another user account
Identifying resource hogs and other tips: Runaway applications can shorten battery runtime
To identify potential hardware problems: Apple Hardware Test
To resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance, use Disk Utility.
Safe Mode or "Safe Boot" is a troubleshooting mode that bypasses all third party system extensions and loads only required system components.
Read about it: Starting up in Safe ModeMacBooks iMacs iPods AirPorts, OS X Mountain Lion, 27 years Apple!
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