Sunday, 6 April 2014

How to speed up the Firefox?

Some people think, that Firefox, especially its version for Linux, is slow. Well, sometimes it could be, but in general it is not true. However the standard package isn't very fast, there are some tricks which can help you to increase overall performance of this software.

These changes affects on many levels. Some of them turn off some functions, which require a lot of CPU time, but give you not too much. Some of them help your Firefox to optimize your network usage. But trust me – if you make use of all of them, your Firefox would become definitely faster.

Always use generic packages


Do not use a package from your Linux distribution, especially if it is Debian. Its Firefox package, called Iceweasel is usually weak and based on an old version. There are some bugs, which do not occur in the generic version. So go to the https://www.mozilla.org/pl/firefox/new and download the current version. Don't worry about updates, since Firefox has a very good, built-in, update system.

Turn off the smooth scrolling


It is the most ridiculous function. It gives you literally nothing (especially when using a mouse wheel) but, on the complicated websites, may eat whole CPU core time, when you scroll. This isn't so visible on Windows, but disabling this function on Linux may give you huge performance gains.

To turn off the smooth scrolling go to the tab Edit/Preferences/Advanced from the top menu.

Tune up about:config


There are many functions, that you can change, by typing about:config in the address bar of your Firefox. Some of them are important for the overall performance.

Here you have some of my settings:

browser.tabs.animate = false
layers.acceleration.force-enabled = true
memory.free_dirty_pages = true
network.http.max-connections = 512
network.http.pipelining = true
network.http.pipelining.aggressive = true
network.http.pipelining.max-optimistic-requests = 32
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests = 96
network.http.pipelining.maxsize = 600000
network.http.pipelining.ssl = true
network.http.proxy.pipelining = true

The first setting turns off tab animations, which are totally useless and waste your time. The second turns on layers acceleration, and may not work properly on some configurations. The third frees up memory a bit more aggressively. And the few next, in general, makes your browser using many connections simultaneously. These last tweaks are the most important, but may be too aggressive on some networks. In that case, you can divide given numbers by two.

Enjoy your faster Firefox

As you see, the Firefox can become a quite fast web browser with only few tricks. It is not, of course, everything, which can be done, but I think, that these changes are the most important.