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Making FireFox a whole lot faster
A few simple tweaks to speed up FireFox
MatthewHSE




msg:1588400
 10:39 pm on Jun 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mod note - 2006/07/12: An updated version of this guide is available here:
Faster Browsing with Firefox (2006 edition) - Updated information on how to get the most out of Firefox [webmasterworld.com]


Disclaimer: This is not, and is not intended to be, a FireFox vs. Opera thread. The following are simply some basic guidelines for increasing FireFox performance, and is not meant to be a comparison of any kind! ;)

I've heard it said, here and other places, that Opera is the fastest browser available. It is fast - there's no denying that - but there are ways to make FireFox render pages every bit as quickly, with just a few easy "tweaks." I had thought these adjustments were pretty well-known, but it's beginning to seem as though they may not be. So I thought it was worthwhile to bring these "hidden settings" more into the light.

To get started, type "about:config" in your FireFox address bar. The settings you're looking for are:

1.) network.http.pipelining
2.) network.http.pipelining.firstrequest
3.) network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
4.) network.http.proxy.pipelining
5.) nglayout.ititialpaint.delay

Set #1, #2, and #4 to "true". Set #3 to a high number, like 32. Set #5 to 0.

Enabling the pipelining features allows the browser to make multiple requests to the server at the same time. The "maxrequests" is the maximum number of requests it will send at once. I've heard that 8 is the most it will send at once, but setting it higher won't hurt, just in case. The initialpaint.delay is the length of time (in milliseconds) after the server response before the browser begins to paint the page.

Adjusting those settings will help pages render much faster in FireFox. In fact, my own observations have been that, tweaked in this manner, FireFox will render faster than Opera (and yes, I realize that others may experience different results).

The FireFox Tuning thread [forums.mozillazine.org] over at Mozillazine has more information for different connection speeds, etc.

[edited by: encyclo at 2:27 am (utc) on July 13, 2006]

 

graywolf




msg:1588430
 12:42 pm on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow! It's like Scotty just kicked it into warp speed, thanks guys!

tedster




msg:1588431
 9:32 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

With all the recent publicity around Firefox, I thought this thread deserved a bump back into active status.

Thanks again to MatthewHSE for the helpful instructions.

treeline




msg:1588432
 9:52 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, in Version 1.0 I could only find 3 of those 5 settings:

1.) network.http.pipelining
2.) network.http.pipelining.firstrequest
3.) network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
4.) network.http.proxy.pipelining
5.) nglayout.ititialpaint.delay

So I changed #1, #3, #4 but didn't see the other two.

Pages load surprisingly faster. I think when people talk about how fast Firefox is, they must mean with these tweaks in place.

Thanks for the tip!

MatthewHSE




msg:1588433
 9:58 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Since the time this thread was initially created, FireFox has gone up a couple versions and at least one setting in my first post has changed.
nglayout.initialpaint.delay is no longer included as a default preference in about:config.

It still works, however, if you create it yourself. To create this setting:

  1. Go to about:config
  2. Right-click in the preferences list, point to "New," then select "Integer."
  3. At the first prompt, type nglayout.initialpaint.delay
  4. At the second prompt, set the value. I set mine to 0, but others have reported better results with 125 or the default of 250.

As mentioned later on in the thread, setting network.http.sendRefererHeader to 0 can help quite a lot as well, though it can cause problems in very rare instances.

community2004




msg:1588434
 9:38 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

cool - all well and good, other than I need to use my firefox like my visitors to my site use it, so I won't be increasing my speed :)

Clark




msg:1588435
 10:26 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Turning off referer will mean if you come to WW from Google, it won't highlight your keywords. While I like making it faster, it definitely overrides what a browser is supposed to do. Hmm, choices choices.

One question, if you add the pipeline.firstrequest, will it help or it only helps for install that have it there?

amznVibe




msg:1588436
 1:32 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another recycled thread from months ago?

Turning off referer is perfectly safe. I have yet to find a site that has issues with it. Occasionally there is incorrect referer blocking on images, and I let the site owner know they have to allow for blank referers since alot of personal firewalls block them anyway. By the way you have to turn off https (ssl) referer's under a seperate setting (again, I've yet to find problems with this).

For those that want the cutting edge in Firefox speed, also try a MOOX build [moox.ws] which is especially compiled for certain CPU's. There is a noticable speed boost. Basically you unzip the moox files right over your firefox folder, while all your settings are kept intact. If you don't like it, just install the regular build back over it.

For those that want to see just how long its taking the pages and objects to download, try this nifty obscure "lori" extension [lori.mozdev.org] that adds page timing like opera does to the status bar.

Namaste




msg:1588437
 1:48 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's v. strange why Mozilla does not demonstrate it's "killer" features with the default install:
- multiple homepages through tabs
- Pipeline enabling
- All tabs enabled
- Google as SE through URL bar
- Mouse wheel settings
- Modern Skin

It's a marketing error on their part as very few users discover these features.

christopher w




msg:1588438
 2:00 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks MatthewHSE and everyone else for your hints - really helpful.

I love FireFox and the only major problem I have with it is downloading big files and the way it completely slows everything else down. Anyone else have this same problem? Any tweaks?

Thanks

MatthewHSE




msg:1588439
 2:27 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

One question, if you add the pipeline.firstrequest, will it help or it only helps for install that have it there?

To tell the truth, I don't think first requests even can be pipelined, though when it was still a preference I always set it to "true" just in case. I never noticed any performance boost from this one, but included it in the initial post in case it could be useful on some systems or something. Frankly, I doubt adding the preference will do anything for you.

I'll add my vote to that of amznVibe for the "lori" extension. Strangely enough I just installed it yesterday; very nice functionality.

amznVibe




msg:1588440
 2:39 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

the only major problem I have with it is downloading big files and the way it completely slows everything else down. Anyone else have this same problem? Any tweaks?

Install the "download with" and/or "launchy" extensions and use getright as the downloader instead. Vasty superior. I am sure some of the other downloading agents can be used as well and some of them are free.

Also noteworthy is the "Disable Targets For Downloads" extension.

ps. After using "Lori" for awhile it is kind of too beta to use. Takes up too much status bar and can't be toggled. I am now trying Extended Statusbar 1.0 [extensionsmirror.nl] instead (update apparently it can't be toggled either - looks like I'll have to hack some features in).

Oh and I just can't resist since I was so happy to find it, even thought it's not a performance enhancement - since they took away the stylesheet changer from the preview to final release, this person has made a stylesheet switcher extension [olab.free.fr]

grelmar




msg:1588441
 4:57 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I enabled pipelining months ago, and while it has vastly improved rendering speed, I have noticed the following recurring glitches, that are likely a part of the reason why it isn't enabled by default:

1: On PHP or CGI "generated" pages, it has a habit of breaking down from time to time on the tables. Tables either end up becoming 100% in width or height, which can really mess with the layout of a page. It's not a "permanent" error and can usually be fixed by refreshing the page.

2. Similar problem with CSS based layouts. For some reason, it gets relative and absolute positions messed up, and you can end up with different elements rendering "on top" of one another, most often with footer elements. The most extreme example I've seen of this is having three text blocks render on top of each other. Again, this is most likely to occur with PHP or CGI/Perl generated pages, and can usually be fixed by refreshing the page.

3. Weird link behaviour: From time to time, when you click on a link, instead of following the link, the page just repositions itself on the screen, or does nothing. A second click on the link will take you through to the apropriate page. This is most likely to occur on javascript buttons and form submit buttons, and is more likely in CGI/Perl generated pages than in PHP generated pages.

These are occasional errors, and I suspect somewhat dependant on how the pages are encoded. PHP generated pages seem to create the errors most often, say about 1 in 100 rendered pages. (And no, I haven't run any hard statistcal tests, 1 in 100 is just a guess)

Also, certain servers are not configure to handle pipelining. If the page is being served from an IIS server, fuggetaboutit.

MatthewHSE




msg:1588442
 5:10 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've noticed a few of those errors you mention, but nowhere near 1 out of 100 pageviews. But then, it may depend on connection speed, or even varying processor speeds.

Also, certain servers are not configure to handle pipelining. If the page is being served from an IIS server, fuggetaboutit.

Actually, I've found that IIS handles pipelining just fine, most of the time. There are a few sites I've seen where it doesn't work well, but on the whole it seems okay to me.

mann




msg:1588443
 5:21 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hello Guys,

I didn't find following setting in my browser

nglayout.ititialpaint.delay

Any Help?

tedster




msg:1588444
 6:05 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

See message #34 above, from MatthewHSE

Namaste




msg:1588445
 6:53 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've had pipelining enabled since the early days of Mozilla...NEVER had any trouble with any page on any site...some my own sites are in PHP & CSS, and no issues.

loid




msg:1588446
 7:27 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as turning the referral headers off, one immediate consequence is that Webmaster World redirects you to a member login page instead of the forum page you're looking for.

Probably other similar episodes would occur as well.

MatthewHSE




msg:1588447
 8:15 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as turning the referral headers off, one immediate consequence is that Webmaster World redirects you to a member login page instead of the forum page you're looking for.

Try logging in once and see what happens. I haven't had any problems like that.

Lord Majestic




msg:1588448
 9:36 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is there any reason why these wouldn't be the default settings?

Because it will hit the server harder.

Bernard Marx




msg:1588449
 11:11 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Doesn't this go against some http standard or other?
no more than 3 concurrent requests
- or am I confused?

Lord Majestic




msg:1588450
 11:27 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Doesn't this go against some http standard or other?

No, because HTTP standard limits number of concurrent connections to a web server to a maximum of 2, where as pipelining uses same connection to request more than one object at the same time, and then receive a bunch of responses rather than request and receive for each of those objects separately.

mann




msg:1588451
 4:37 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hello edster,

Thank YOu for quick & to point reply,

Have a nice time

jomaxx




msg:1588452
 6:38 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Great thread. FWIW, about:config is also available for those living fossils such as myself who still use Netscape. I made the pipelining changes and things do seem faster, although I have only done brief testing so far.

amznVibe




msg:1588453
 5:32 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as turning the referral headers off, one immediate consequence is that Webmaster World redirects you to a member login page

No such problem here. You sure you didn't do something extra that blocked cookies?

jetnovo




msg:1588454
 9:35 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

2.) network.http.pipelining.firstrequest

- I don't have this one in my list - any idea where it is?

I've tweaked the other 4 as suggested and it's great!

rise2it




msg:1588455
 4:08 am on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the following is missing in your installation

network.http.pipelining.firstrequest

Go to about:config

Right-click in the preferences list, point to "New," then select "Boolean."

At the first prompt, type:

network.http.pipelining.firstrequest

At the second prompt, set the value to 'true'.

rise2it




msg:1588456
 4:18 am on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Anyone know the actual FILE this changes the info in, or does it do it in the registry?

I'd like to be able to just copy this one modified file onto other machines, rather than have to go in and make all these changes over and over.

amznVibe




msg:1588457
 5:19 am on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

For all firefox changes mentioned in this thread, you type about:config into the address bar and change from there.

For those complaining that these make non-standard requests to the server, see here:
[w3.org...]

Last but not least, read about how IE "cheats" [grotto11.com] to make itself seem faster, especially for first requests.

ps. I would not tamper with initial paint delay in newer Firefox builds, it's not needed and can cause a second rendering of the page to be required.

mann




msg:1588458
 10:40 am on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hello There,

Sorry for diffrent subject, but Why Can't We Edit Browser Source of Firefox like IE.

eg. if I open html page on my desktop with firefox, I can not edit firefox source of same page, I have to use another editor.

Can any one help?

Thank You In Advance,

stubnolez




msg:1588459
 2:01 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Greetings all:
Just did all the tweaking works great except for one problem.
Went to open a file with Adobe and no luck it would not open the doc.
Any ideas? I just downloaded the 7.0 version and it said download was succesful.
Thank you

MatthewHSE




msg:1588460
 2:28 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Mann, I suggest you start a new thread for your topic; I think what you want to do can be done but it might require more discussion than would be appropriate in this thread.

Stubnolez, try changing your preferences back to the defaults and see if Acrobat files will open then. It sounds to me like your problem may be due more to a Reader upgrade than to your FireFox settings changing.

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