How to Speed Up Firefox – Complete Guide

Firefox is probably one of the best internet browser these days. It is so much popular among users because of its features and its extremely light interface that does not consume much system resources. But if you are a power internet user and have used Firefox to extremes then you will feel that it is okay for normal users but for a power user it is not the best choice. For instance if you have around 20-25 tabs opened then it will make your browsing experience slow by hogging the system resources. So, today in this guide I will be highlighting some points by which you can know how to speed up Firefox.

How to Speed Up Firefox

How to Speed Up Firefox - General Tips :

Actually there are some general tweaks that you can find anywhere on the internet to speed up Firefox. So, before I do anything else I will be reminding you about these general tweaks.

1. Firstly check the add-ons that you are using on Firefox. If you find some add-ons that you are not using now, then it’s a good practice to remove them. Actually the more add-ons you have the less stable your Firefox becomes. Here I would like to make one thing very clear that there is a difference between disabling an add-on and removing an add-on completely. Disabling an add-on means that the add-on is inactive but still it will use your system resources on the other hand removing an add-on completely means that you have uninstalled that add-on and it is no longer in your system.

2. Secondly you need to check the plug-ins installed in Firefox and remove the plug-ins that are of no use to you. Actually there are certain software’s that install some promotional plug-ins on your browser and these annoying plug-ins consume your bandwidth and also keep hogging your system resources, so it’s a good practice to keep checking plug-ins installed on your Firefox and remove the waste ones regularly.

3. If you feel that your Firefox is running dead slow then you should also try clearing you browser history and cookies.

How to Speed Up Firefox by changing Firefox configuration file:

This part is a bit tricky and before going further ahead I would suggest you to take a backup of the Firefox configuration file, so that in case anything goes wrong you can revert back to your previous settings.

The configuration file is named as “prefs.js” and it can be found at following locations on your system.

Windows Xp:

<system drive>\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile ID>.default\

Windows 7 or Windows Vista:

<system drive>\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile ID>.default\

Generally the file is hidden so you may need to select the “show hidden files” option and then copy the “pref.js” file to some other location.

Basics of tweaking the Firefox configurations:

Firefox offers a specialized way to change the configuration settings, you don’t need to conventionally open the files in a text editor and then change its values but Firefox allows you do do the changes in a more sophisticated way. All you have to do is to open your preference file on Firefox for this simply type: “about:config” (without quotes) in your Firefox url bar. After opening this file firefox will prompt you with a warning, click the button “I’ll be careful I Promise”. Now Firefox will display you a long list of preferences that you can change, but do not change any value without knowing about it as it may result in making your browser unstable.

  • To change any Boolean parameters simply double click the parameter and the parameter value will get toggled. By toggling I mean that if the value is initially “true” then it will turn to “false” and vice versa.
  • In case on your Firefox you don’t have any preference that needs to be changed than you can add the preference by right clicking on the preference page in the about:config window and choose New > String, Integer or Boolean depending on the data type of the preference.
  • According to my experience to find a relevant parameter among all the listed parameters is quiet tough so in order to make this process easy, use the filter bar above the window. In the filter bar you can type in the parameter name and all the related parameters will be listed accordingly.

Preferences to be changed for improving Firefox speed:

Here I have mentioned a list of all the parameters that can be changed to improve your Firefox speed. If any parameter that I have mentioned is not on your preference list then you can add the parameter as told above. If any of your parameter is already set to a value mentioned then you can simply skip that parameter and move on.

browser.tabs.animate: false

By default this setting is true, this parameter is responsible for enabling or disabling tab animations (e.g. when you open a new tab). This parameter can make your Firefox plain and dull but it can drastically improve your speed.

browser.display.show_image_placeholders: false

By default this is set to true, this parameter is responsible to display the image placeholders before images are loaded.

network.prefetch-next: true

This setting is responsible for fetching the contents of a page that are linked to a page that you are viewing. This makes your internet experience faster.

network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server: 8

This setting increases the maximum number of persistent connections per server which can help to speed up loading of multimedia rich sites. Default value is 6

network.http.pipelining: true

If this setting is set to true then your browser can send multiple requests to the server at a time. One thing I would like to bring to your notice that this is not supported by all the servers and some servers can send incorrect response to the request and this can cause unexpected behavior.

network.http.pipelining.maxrequests: 8

This can specify the number of requests that can be pipelined together to be sent to the server.

network.dns.disableIPv6: true

It disables IPv6 DNS lookups to prevent a significant delay with poorly configured IPv6 servers. By default this value is set to False

At last you need to add a parameter named “nglayout.initialpaint.delay”. Do it as follows right click anywhere on the “about:config”page and select the “New” > “Integer” option and Name it as “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” (without quotes) and set its value to “0″(without quotes). This parameter specifies the time the browser waits before it acts on the requests that it receives.

So, these were all the tweaks that I have personally used and they worked fine on my machine. These tweaks have made my Firefox quiet fast and have improved the overall browsing experience. But if anything goes wrong for you then you can simple replace the “pref.js” file that you have backed up initially.

Happy Browsing :)

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Ankit is the founder of Geek Revealed. He is tech Geek who loves to sit in front of his square headed girlfriend all day long. :D   You can find Ankit on FaceBook or Google Plus

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