If you’ve been using Firefox for a long time, you may have noticed that it gets slower over time. It may take a few seconds to start up, or it may take a little longer to load web pages. You may start to notice that switching between tabs takes about a second, or that the menu item doesn’t appear instantly.
If your Firefox installation is slow or freezes longer than you’d like, there are many different ways to speed up the process a little. In this article, I’ll share all the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to make Firefox fast and efficient. Depending on your operating system and system configuration, some settings may give you more benefits than others.
Please note that some settings require changing browser settings in about: config. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my previous post on backing up and changing about: config in Firefox.
HTTP cache activation
Firefox can enable a new HTTP caching option to help reduce UI crashes and various other browser crashes. Open about: config and find the following entry:
Double click on it and change the value from 0 to 1. Then you can simply close the about: config tab and continue browsing. No need to restart your browser or computer, etc. The new cache will be enabled and you will get a speed boost and smoother browsing experience.
Firefox has a really cool feature that basically auto-configures your Firefox installation. However, you will only want to do this after you understand exactly what it is doing. First, it will save your browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, cookies, website auto-complete information, and a personal dictionary.
It will remove extensions and themes, website permissions, added search engines, download history, security settings, plugin settings, toolbar settings, custom styles and social features. To get to it, you must enter about: support in the address bar.
Click the Refresh Firefox button in the upper right corner to get started. I have used this function several times and it works great. Reinstalling some add-ons takes a while, but I found that it helps me get rid of add-ons that I have never used.
Enable safe mode
Firefox has a nice feature called Safe Mode that disables extensions and themes to determine if an extension is causing problems. Since Firefox is all about extensions, you’re bound to run into some of them with poorly written code that can get you a lot of trouble.
If you find that Safe Mode browsing is very fast compared to normal browsing, then you can almost guarantee that this extension is causing the slowdown. You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode by clicking the menu icon and then the Help icon.
Now select “Restart with add-ons disabled” to enter Safe Mode.
Safe mode will also disable hardware acceleration and reset toolbar and button settings. When you restart Firefox normally, everything is back to normal, so don’t feel like you’ve lost any settings you might have made.
Also, when you restart, you will be prompted to start in safe mode or update Firefox, which is another tip I mentioned above.
Your best bet is to disable all add-ons and then enable them one by one to see which one is causing Firefox to slow down, freeze or crash. You can see all add-ons and add-ons by clicking the Firefox menu and clicking Add-ons.
The more add-ons and plugins you disable or remove, the faster Firefox will run. Some plugins will be configured to request activation, and that’s okay. You want to check all those that are set to Always Activate and see which ones you can switch to Ask to Activate.
Reduce memory usage
Firefox has several of these built-in performance tricks, and another is to minimize memory usage. Go ahead and enter about: memory in the address bar and you can get detailed information about Firefox memory usage.
In the “Free Memory” section, you will see the “Minimize Memory Usage” button. Click on it and it will immediately try to free memory and therefore speed up Firefox. This is a good option if you have multiple tabs open in Firefox and have recently closed many of them. Any memory previously held by these tabs and still in use by Firefox will be freed.
Another easy way to make Firefox faster is to periodically clear the cache. By default, Firefox caches the content of most websites you visit so that they load faster on return. In the short term, this works well and speeds up browsing, however, as soon as the cache gets very large it can start to slow down.
If you click the Firefox menu, click Options and then Advanced, you will see the Networking tab that allows you to clear your cache.
I don’t recommend clearing the cache very often as it will slow down your browsing. It is best to check every few months, or check the Override Automatic Cache Management checkbox and set the value based on your hard drive type. Since this cache is accessed through the disk, it can be quite slow if you have a slow hard drive.
However, if you have a very fast SSD, using the cache might be more beneficial. So keep it small (<250MB) if your hard drive is slow, and leave it alone if you have a very fast hard drive.
If you’ve used Firefox for a long time, you’ve probably seen this trick on many blogs. Pipelining is a feature that basically allows Firefox to open multiple connections to the server, theoretically loading pages faster. I’ve had mixed results with this setting, so it’s best to test it yourself first to see if it’s worth leaving it enabled.
Opinions vary as to what value should be set for the maximum number of connections, but most diehard Firefox fans agree with 8. To enable pipelining, go to about: config and type network.http.pipe in the filter. field and you will see several settings.
The values ??to be changed are shown in the image above. I have also listed them below if not clear.
network.http.pipelining – true
network.http.pipelining.aggressive – true
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests – 8
network.http.pipelining.ssl – true
There are a couple of other little-known tweaks that can speed up Firefox browsing, but results aren’t guaranteed. Your best bet is to test them and see if there are noticeable differences.
network.dns.disableIPv6 – true
browser.tabs.animate is false
browser.display.show_image_placeholder is false
Hope your Firefox installation is a little faster. I don’t recommend using add-ons like FasterFox because they only change the settings we talked about above, and adding additional add-ons to speed up Firefox just doesn’t make any sense. If you have your own advice on speeding up Firefox, let us know in the comments. Enjoy!