How to Speed up Firefox: Top 10 Ways

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

firefoxspeedometer0100_ffxWith facilities for tab browsing,  popup blocking, integrated Google search, simplified privacy controls and more, Firefox is a top notch browser. Mozilla Firefox is versatile enough to support the different versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac OS  X and Linux. With so much said and done, Firefox still remains resource hungry. Even when a few tags are opened and it is idling in the background, or you have minimized it, you will see a less than a quarter of the CPU being used. Actually a number of additional features work in the browser as you work online. There are easy and simple ways to speed up your Firefox. We’ll give you the 10 ways, how to  speed up Firefox.

1. Disable the auto update

Firefox loading could be slow due to auto update. Follow the steps to disable the auto update

Step 1: Go to the Tools - >Options- >Advanced- >Update

Step 2: Uncheck all the selections and click OK.

2.  How to download files faster in Firefox

To download files faster with Firefox you have a Firefox extension DownloadThemAll. It acts as your download manager

3. Enabling Pipelining

In Firefox the pipeline option is turned off. Enabling the pipelining will allow you to send several request to the web server at a time. To enable it follow the steps below

Step 1: Type about:config into the address bar and press Enter

Step 2: Go to the Filter text box and type network.http. The settings will appear, look at the nearby figure.

Step 3: Double click on the network.http.pipelining setting and make it true

Step 4: Double-click the network.http.pipelining.maxrequests setting. A text box will appear, type 8 into it and click ok.

P.S: This is for version Firefox 1.X-2.X

4. Install Fasterfox

Install the Fasterfox extension for Firefox. It not makes Firefox faster but also makes tuning easier.

5.  Keyboard shortcuts to get instant results

There’s a range of Firefox keyboard shortcuts that you can avail. You can surely speed up firefox as a power user. Here’s 5 keyboard shortcuts

  • Back/Forward Navigation: Alt Left Arrow / Alt Right Arrow
  • Complete .com Address : Ctrl+Enter (When you’re in the URL bar)
  • Zoom In / Out: Ctrl + / Ctrl -
  • Bookmark all tabs: Ctrl Shift D
  • Undo closed tab: Ctrl Shift  T

6. Increase or decrease the Memory used

Here’s a tweek that will help you to adjust the amount of RAM used by Firefox.

Step 1: In the address bar type about:config and press Enter

Step 2: At the top of the page you get Filter text box. Type browser.cache in it.

Step 3: Double click the browser.cache.memory.capacity

Step 4: It is set at default 50000. in case your system doesn’t have lot of memory, like 512 MB or 1GB reduce the number to 15000 and click Ok.

7. Content notify ontimer

This option sets if to reflow pages at an interval any higher than that specified by content.notify.interval. Right-click anywhere in the about:config window and select New and then Boolean from the pop-up menu.


Type content.notify.ontimer in New boolean value pop-up window and click OK


You will be prompted to choose the value for the new boolean. Select true and click OK

8. Notify Backoffcount

With this option you can controls the maximum number of times content will do timer-based reflows. After this number is reached the page will reflow once the downloading is finished. Now follow the steps

Step 1: Right click anywhere in the about.config window and select New and then Integer from the pop-up menu.

Step 2: In the new integer value pop-up window and click OK

Step 3: Now you will be prompted to enter value. Enter 5 and hit OK

9. Minimize unwanted CPU cycles and Bandwidth Usage

By default Firefox downloads the pages from the links that you are not visiting frequently. This is called link prefetching. The webpage hints the browser that certain pages are likely to be visited. The browser downloads them immediately to be viewed when requested by the user. If you don’t actually click the link it means you used up bandwidth and CPU cycles to store history for web page you might not view ever.

Type the following at the Filter text box on top of the page:

network.prefetch-next and

Set the Value key to false

10. Reduce the Wait Time

With this hack you could reduce some milliseconds that you wait before the page is displayed. This can be avoided by creating a new config option. To do this follow the steps

Step 1: Right click on the about:config screen and select New- > Integer

Step 2: Name it nglayout.initialpaint.delay and press OK.

Step 3: Next screen set its values to 0.

P.S: The value denotes the seconds browser will wait before it acts on the information.


Fran J.
September 10, 2009: 12:54 am

Yeah. It’s helpful but incomplete. What is the preference in number 8. Don’t know it. Kindly reply. Thanks!

August 11, 2009: 11:13 am

Fantastic, I have just got Firefox, and this really sped it up

Thanks ;)

June 12, 2009: 2:11 pm

in 8. Notify Backoffcount, what is the name of the preference? I tried notify.backoffcount and content.notify.backoffcount.

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