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Making FireFox a whole lot faster

A few simple tweaks to speed up FireFox



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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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]


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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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.


2:40 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

mann, install the "launchy" extension which can let you view any page or image in your text or graphics editor of choice

stubnolez, there are no known problems with firefox and acrobat 7 but you have have something misconfigured under one of the programs

in Firefox: Tools-->Options--->
Then make sure you select the download option on the left
click PDF document under file types-- choose change
browse to the adobe acrobat file (probably C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe) and use to open it....

in Acrobat Reader: Edit--->Preferences--->Internet
unchecked everything under the "Web Browser Options"

And I'd suggest to both of you to please start new threads in the future for unrelated questions to the current thread.


2:46 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you both.
Since this problem accured after I made these changes I thought this would be the proper place to post.
I will try these changes and inform.


10:13 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Is there any way to make Firefox start quicker. I find a bit slow to start.



10:19 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Is there any way to make Firefox start quicker. I find a bit slow to start.

This is usually a sign of too many extensions, or a badly behaving extension (poorly written). I would make sure your extensions are at the newest version and comb through them asking yourself if you really are using it.

You can also keep some of the firefox DLLs in memory (like IE does) to make it start faster (if you are using XP)
Change your firefox shortcut to use this target:

firefox.exe /prefetch:1
This should make every firefox startup after the first time faster.

Some people also use the ability of windows to start programs with higher priority

start /AboveNormal /program files/mozilla/firefox/firefox.exe

There is also the firefox preloader project [sourceforge.net] which loads firefox in the background for especially slower computers to keep it instantly ready (like IE does).

Last but not least, the moox builds will use the extra registers that your particular CPU has to make all things (startup, page loading) a little faster (10% at most in my experience but it helps):
(be sure to read which build is best for your particular CPU, M0 should work with all)

[edited by: amznVibe at 10:49 am (utc) on Feb. 9, 2005]


10:41 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

By the way, for super-tweakers, there are some options we have not explored yet (and I am still researching)
user_pref("content.interrupt.parsing", true);
user_pref("content.max.tokenizing.time", 2250000);
user_pref("content.notify.interval", 750000);
user_pref("content.notify.ontimer", true);
user_pref("content.switch.threshold", 750000);


11:00 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I only have 2 extnesions DomInspector and Googlebar.

Any other ideas?



11:18 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What is your os, cpu and ram. I am assuming you are using Firefox 1.0

I can't find any problem reports for DomInspector, but just for the heck of it, try disabling the GoogleBar for a few startup tests, it's one of the largest plugins around.

I don't use Googlebar specifically because it takes too much visible space. Instead I use the "search button" extension with the built in search window so it can open new tabs with "enter".


12:53 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Anyone missing the 'Preference Name' can add them.

after entering about:config Right click in the window and select 'new string' enter the name, click ok and then enter the values suggested above.


5:21 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

amznVibe, I wasn't able to find the "downloadwith" or "launchy" extensions for FF1.0. Attempting to install the available ones gives me the message "wrong version" etc.

Perhaps you might tell me where I can find them for 1.0?


6:25 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

vkaryl, try FlashGot.net for a free extension that will work with almost a dozen specialized download managers (FlashGet, Free Download Manager, GetRight, Internet Download Accelerator, LeechGet, Net Transport, ReGet, Star Downloader, etc.)


6:53 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I did try that one. First it took me a dozen tries to get it to download, then once I got it, it installed supposedly but never would give me the option to select GetRight - seemed to only want to do FlashGet (which I understood was actually some sort of spyware? or an enabler of same?) So I uninstalled it.

Right now I'm just waiting for GetRight to get it right for gecko-based browsers, and utilizing right-click/copy link location which immediately opens the GetRight download function - works, just a couple of extras steps not really needed....

So did you do some tweaks to the 2 mentioned applets which allows them to work with 1.0? Or are you still using 0.9?


7:04 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The getright creator(s) actually recommend FlashGot [getright.com] and it works great for me.

It should only offer the download managers you have installed (on mine it only lists getright and nettransport which is correct). If it is listing flashget, and you have the newest FlashGot installed, you might want to poke around and see if you really do have flashget installed.


9:11 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How come I dont have the options 2 and 5 in my Firefox?


10:28 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Since this thread was first begun, FireFox has gone up a few versions and that changed the default about:config file. See messages #33 and #34 for more information.


12:43 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I get broken images on many sites.
Working with some of the variables setting proved irrelevant.
Definitely speeds things up... but with all the freaking errors when beta testing webpages. Especially dynamically created things... I have problems... shtml's inside frames etc etc...

For me... I think I'll go back to the old settings, because when I get to a webpage, I really need to know that what I am seeing is 100% what I am supposed to be seeing, 100% of the time.

Sure did like the speed though.



4:37 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I get broken images on many sites.

This is due to pipelining. Pipelining should not be used because it does not work correctly with many of the load-balancing systems that some larger sites use for images. Orkut would be one example that I've noticed.

louise smith

5:13 am on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is a great page describing all the tricks to make adobe 7 behave in ff and to load, and unload very quickly


11:41 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How about adding this little extension with your firefox. Check it out and post your results.

FireTweaker 1.1.1 is the ultimate extension to your Mozilla Firefox browser.
With more than 20 tweaks, it will make your browser act just the way you want it to.

FireTweaker 1.1.1 requires Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1.1 and a clean installation
of Mozilla Firefox 0.9.x or higher to run properly. Please keep in mind that only the Official version of Firefox,
which is released on Mozilla.org and available for download, is supported by Firetweaker!
Any other custom compiled versions of Firefox will not be tweaked and may cause Firetweaker to crash or generate errors.

FireTweaker 1.1.1 Includes:

- Appearance: 9 Tweaks to change the Appearance of your browser.
- Performance: 4 Tweaks to increase the performance of your browser, [NEW]
- Including the Firefox Auto-Optimizer which will automatically optimize your page-loading and rendering performance.[NEW]
- Behavior: 9 Tweaks to change the Behavior of your browser.
- Webpage Appearance: 6 Tweaks to customize the way you'd like firefox to render webpages.
- RollBack! 2.0: Easily rollback all applied tweaks with the click of a button! [Now Compatible with Firefox 1.0]



[edited by: tedster at 8:16 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2005]
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