A handful of Firefox tweaks that will double your browser speed

Firefox users take note: You need to do this. Now. As in, this instant. More savvy users are probably already familiar with editing Firefox’s configuration file but whether you’re a computer rookie or a seasoned veteran, Gnoted has issued a handful of tweaks that really get Firefox cooking. As much as we all love the fox, it can get a bit slow on occasion – especially if you’re like us and have 35 open tabs spread across four windows at any given time. By tweaking the way Firefox handles some caching functions, you can dramatically improve page load speed and even prevent Firefox from hogging your system resources while minimized. If you don’t currently have any experience playing with your configuration file, don’t be scared. Just follow the simple instructions, take your time and if you want a security blanket to squeeze, jot down each setting before you change it so you can always restore the default configuration if need be. So without further ado, hit the jump and get tweaking – just remember to restart Firefox when you’re done.

Reduce the amount of RAM Firefox uses for its cache feature

  1. Type “about:config” (no quotes) in the adress bar in the browser.
  2. Find “browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewer
  3. Set it’s value to “0“;(Zero)

Increase the Speed at Which Firefox loads pages

1. Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit Enter.
(Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.)

2. Alter the entries as follows:
Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true
Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true
Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 10.
Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 8. (Elucidated for Sietze)

This means it will make 8 requests at once.

3. Lastly, right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0“;.(Zero)

This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives. If you’re using a broadband connection you’ll load pages faster now.
Optionally (for even faster web browsing) here are some more options for your about:config (you might have to create some of these entries by Right Click –> New– > Interger or String

network.dns.disableIPv6: set “false”
content.notify.backoffcount”: set “5“; (Five)
plugin.expose_full_path”: set “true”.
ui.submenuDelay”: set “0; (zero)

Reduce RAM usage to 10MB when Firefox is minimized:

This little hack will drop Firefox’s RAM usage down to 10 Mb when minimized:

1. Open Firefox and go to the Address Bar. Type in about:config and then press Enter.
2. Right Click in the page and select New -> Boolean.
3. In the box that pops up enter “config.trim_on_minimize”. Press Enter.
4. Now select True and then press Enter.
5. Restart Firefox.

66 Replies to “A handful of Firefox tweaks that will double your browser speed”

  1. This is an awful guide. Instead of speeding up firefox, it actually reduces speed by limiting memory available. That would mean that pages have to be reloaded. I’m beginning to think this guide is to troll people. By disabling ipv6, it may be the case in a few years that you may not be able to open webpages at all. content.notify.backoffcount only applies if content.notify.ontimer is set to true. plugin.expose_full_path to true doesn’t improve speed and can cause security problems. Are you trolling or what?

    1. The guide works well.
      Notice the date of publication and true it was written long ago.
      New versions of Firefox do not need these settings.

      You’re right, now recommended not disable IPv6. I now use this new version of the protocol and would not work if you turn off.

      The guide raised was tested with Firefox 3.5.
      And this thought about the optimal use of memory and network speed.
      I now believe that the most important thing is to set the IP protocol, to improve the browser.
      But, in most cases the speeds are enough to lose no time, a second or so is not worth 1 week to investigate how to improve as well use linux (which I think is very fast).

  2. it was good, i first used ur setting then found another site which was suggesting more to set in this aboutconfig thingy i used them and my speed died, then i had to reset them all . since theres no option to delete one, so i set em again as it was said on ur page. not sure if i need to do something else o get rif od them setting or just resetting them would do so .. thanks

  3. Im trying to beat this game on facebook called cubefield and i found out that you could tweak firefox to make the game slower so you could go through the levels easier. Do you know of anyway I can accomplish that?

    1. The game suggests, is not part of Facebook.
      Facebook is staying at the home page Fans: http://ow.ly/1qybk

      The game is at: http://ow.ly/1qybN is programmed in Flash.
      Flash is a plug in any browser. Firefox or IE, for example.

      Anyway I have been testing on my notebook with 256MB of RAM and Windows 98, Pentium II and it works great.

      I recommend you check all programs you have open when they’re playing.

      Sorry I can not help you more, but the issue has to do with Flash or not using the browser.

  4. to make firefox much faster than chrome type about:config in the address bar.When about:config opens there will be a long list of entries with a filter on top.Type content.interrupt.parsing in the filter bar double click the entry or select it and press enter.When the entry becomes from true to false then type content.notify interval in the filter and change it to any number between 10000 and 50000 after that type content.max.tokenizing.time in the filter and change the amount to three times the amount of content.notify.interval lastly change content.switch.threshold to a number between ten and fifty thousand lastly right click on any entry select new integer and create content.notify.backoffcount and set the integer to -1

  5. Yeah right, reduce caching. Not only in Firefox but everywhere. Those RAM chips will get dirty if you use them.
    Oh man – and again 6572635 people with fucked up configurations asking so called experts for help. Thanks, no.

  6. The last one listed “reduce Ram when minimized to 10mb” works for about 2 seconds. After that, it starts to creep back up. For example, while typing this comment, Firefox is using 53,716k of Memory (RAM). When I minimize this page RAM usage drops to 10,660k. SWEET! But after watching the RAM usage over the next few seconds, Firefox continues to gobble up memory. After being minimized for about 10 seconds, Firefox is using 46,100k. Is there a fix for this to cap it at 10mb (or thereabouts) when minimized, or do I have some sort of “memory leak”.

  7. that works great.

    ALSO: Speed up Firefox startup time by going to Preferences>advanced/update and then unchecked all the update boxes. You will have to update every so often on your own, but it’s worth the (not) wait. 🙂

  8. Isn’t there a extension for Firefox that does all of these performance improvements for you? It seems like an easy extension to make.

  9. Let’s take a look at just one of these settings, initial paint delay.

    (I’m obviously over-simplifying, but I think it still reflects reality.)

    Think about two of the basic bottlenecks to you seeing a Web page, the time it takes to download the page content and the time it takes to “paint” that content onto your screen so that you can see it. Both depend on the resources you have available. The first resource is bandwidth and the second is CPU.

    By waiting for a half second, Firefox can download 1/2 a second of data before it makes its first “paint”. If your connection is fast enough, that first paint gets enough of the data onto the screen that you can start reading the page right away and it may not matter how many more paints it needs to make because you’re already engaged with a somewhat functional page, not waiting.

    For people with fast connections, setting the initial paint delay to a smaller number often works just fine because they get enough data downloaded and even if that means that the total time it takes to complete loading the page (because it requires more time-consuming paintings) is a tad longer, it’s all OK.

    But for people with slower connections (and or slower CPUs) changing that initial paint delay number lower usually means that the first paint doesn’t get enough of the page data painted onto the screen for it to be usable and it might take several paints before the page becomes usable. Because painting actually takes time, the more of those Firefox has to do, the longer it is before the page becomes usable and before the page is completely finished displaying.

    For some people on really slow connections, dial-up, for example, or with slower CPUs, setting the initial paint delay up to half a second or even a full second might actually make the browser feel a lot faster.

    So, a setting that works for one user may not work for another. Firefox’s default settings are optimized to work for the largest number of users. That means that some people on both ends of the spectrum could benefit by tweaking a particular setting but most people will have a good experience with the default settings.

  10. I was the one that posted the vid on youtube. I’m working on getting another one up just like it with all the same tweaks as I deleted the first one. It will be back up in a bit

  11. hello ,
    i followed ALL your tips regarding how to speed up
    Firefox .
    i noticed a vast increase in speed .
    thank you for this ” much appreciated ”
    information .
    it really was as easy as you said .
    Regards ,

  12. Y here are some cool tweaks but guess there are a huge number of hacks in addition to this …sorry for my english, just download the eBook : hacking firefox , more than 150 hacks…..

    you can find a lot more….

  13. i always suspected that repeatedly clicking on a page made it load up faster
    my inital guess was that each time you did it, it loaded up more information into the cache.

    and im assuming when you set the cache file limit to 0 is because you dont want ten deposits of every page?

  14. Agreed about the concerns about the pipelines. Also, why get rid of your cache? Do you understand what cache does for a system?? And thanks for lowering security with loading pages immediately. Don’t do any of these ‘hacks’

  15. no matter what number you put in the maxrequests field it is limited at 8. so putting more is unfortunately fruitless.

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