3 Hacks for Firefox That Will Double Your Internet Browsing Speed

There are many people out there complaining about the Firefox RAM Memory Bug. Lets get it straight. It’s not a bug. It’s part of the cache feature. This ‘feature’ is how the pages are cached in a tabbed environment.

To improve performance when navigating (studies show that 39% of all page navigations are renavigations to pages visited less than 10 pages ago, usually using the back button), Firefox implements a Back-Forward cache that retains the rendered document for the last five session history entries for each tab.

This is a lot of data. If you have a lot of tabs, Firefox’s RAM memory usage can climb dramatically. It’s a trade-off. What you get out of it is faster performance as you navigate the web.

Now a lot of us have found the ‘secrets’ on how to manipulate settings in “about:config” to drop the memory usage as long as possible and to increase the speed at which Firefox loads sites. Read on to find out how to do this.

Remember: Firefox (download it here) is the best internet browser available (in my opinion), and these tweaks below will make it even greater and faster. So enjoy!

Reduce the amount of RAM Firefox uses for it’s cache feature

Here’s how to do it:
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 in 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.

This means it will make 10 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.

These simple tweaks will make your web browsing with Mozilla Firefox 2-3 times faster and easier. And I think they are fairly easy to apply. Enjoy!

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[tags]firefox, tweaks, hack, tweaking, tips, fix, ram memory, software, apps, free, open source, mozilla[/tags]

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108 Responses
  • Brent Reply

    It annoys me so much when people don’t get this: RAM is a CACHE!

    The only time reducing the memory usage of an application is a benefit is if your physical memory is getting so full that applications are spilling over into virtual memory on disk, which is 100x slower. As long as you’re not filling it up completely, the more bits of an application that stay in RAM, the better that application will run.

    Using tweaks 1 and 3 to reduce Firefox memory usage means when you attempt to access whatever WAS in memory it has to go fetch it from some slower source (internet, disk cache, etc) = bad.

    Tweak 2 is good though.

    • Sarah Jackson Reply

      Chrome forever :D

      • S. Balmer Reply

        Chrome uses more ram than firefox, look at any benchmark, or try it yourself. And it is not due to using more cache. Chrome is multiprocess and because of that it wastes ram.

        • Fabian Reply

          chrome is based on firefox :) but yeah chrome 4 lyfe

  • Will D Reply

    Does this slow down Youtube video loading? It was much slower after I did this “hack.”

    • GenniCe Reply

      No, it doesn’t slow down video streaming on YouTube or any other video streaming website. Maybe you did something else that slowed your video loading, or just server was crowded too much…

      But these tweaks can only make things faster.

      Enjoy!

      • S. Balmer Reply

        That is bullshit. Many of the options you recommend do in fact make the browser slower. You just have to look for the documentation of the options on mozillazine to check it.

        The default values are what they are and not others for a reason.

  • stokvis Reply

    thanks dude, hope this speeds things up

  • inventory management software Reply

    thanks for this tips..
    i just try it, and it’s true.. now my browser speed faster than before.. :)

  • Tech Blog Philippines Reply

    Such a great post. I have dugg and stumbled it. :)

  • Brent Reply

    I guess no one read my first comment. Only tweak 2 is the only thing that will actually yield any visible performance benefits. Reducing Firefox memory usage can only slow it down.

    • Rhys Reply

      Finally! Someone that actually understands what cache is! Hahaha

  • JohnDB Reply

    Well, I have tried all these 3 hacks mentioned above, and it did not slow my speed at all as Brent says. My speed has been douled if not even tripled since these tweaks.

    Thanks for sharing these Gennice! I will share this on my blog too. Very useful hack.

  • fab Reply

    amazing that the only one who knows what’s really good is…Brent! cheers!

  • larryfroot Reply

    Did the tweaks, astounded by the speed increase. Great job mate, and thanks for the advice! Well impressed!

  • aby Reply

    Thanks for sharing these tweaks. They did speed up my browser.
    Thanks again.

  • JHayes Reply

    Yes, yes and yes. Remarkable increase in page speed and download time … videos pop right up. Thanks.

  • Bash Bosh Reply

    Hi,
    I have used all these tips! I must say that these are working on my connection! Now, I browse much more faster thanks to these tips! Thank you for sharing Genni ;)

  • 3Dingo Reply

    Is this a good idea for dialup users or just for highspeed internet users?
    My friend Snow is on dialup.

    • GenniCe Reply

      Well when you’re on Broadband connection, the speed gets noticeably better. But this can be used on dial-up connections too, although the speed will not be dramatically better.

      You can compare that to this situation:
      One worker has salary of 100.000$ and other worker 10$

      If you give them both raise of salary for 10%, the one with 100.000$ will have much more money added to his salary (110.000$) But the one with 10$ will only get 11$ now (which is not so big difference than before but it’s still more).

      I hope now this will be clearer to you. :D I gave my best to explain this.

      Enjoy!

  • 3Dingo Reply

    That does make it clearer. The double and triple part is out the window then. We are talking 10% now. Got it.
    The one that worried us was the 2nd one that allows pipelining. That sounded like it might not be good for dialup.

    I’ll try it. Thanks!

  • GenniCe Reply

    The double and triple part is not out of window. It IS Double and for someone even triple faster speed, but I just mentioned 10% as an example. That’s all. So double and triple still stay :D

  • xBLAHx Reply

    Just so you know. This is the most useful tip that I have found online since ever!

    Off I go to try them three tricks……….goodbye for however long. Thanks Gennice!

  • 3Dingo Reply

    Working great so far and easy to do. It’s faster no question.

  • Gordon Reply

    Found pipelinig made page loading slower and caused many pages to never stop loading even when all data had seemingly be loaded. Reverted changes and it all works fine again.

    • GenniCe Reply

      What about the other 2 tweaks? Did you try them?

      • C-Locc Reply

        I tried all of the above tweaks, and had mixed results. I ended up turning caching back on and actually prefer it like that, cache and pipeline both on. Anyway, now I am having problems with FaceBook, and other sites that work similar to the way it does. What I mean is, you know how when you scroll down on FB, on either just the main page looking at other peoples posts, or when you’re in ‘friends’ and you’re scrolling down to see more friends, well you know how it doesn’t show everything and it normally loads more as you go down? Now mine is not. I am not sure why. If you could help me resolve the issue, but keep my speed up at the same time, it would be greatly appreciated.

        Thank you, and have a great day!

        • Dennis Reply

          If you experience that problem, then just revert the 3. step from the main post above.
          By that, I mean, delete the property “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” which you initially created following the instructions from the post.

          That will make your browser wait until the whole page is finished loading. It might slow down things a little bit, but will fix your problem. (It will still be faster than your initial speed before implementing above instructions).

          • spex

            works for other problems, too. thx

  • Eric Ferraiuolo Reply

    These are all bad ideas!

    You want Firefox to have a cache (50MB is fine) otherwise it will make http requests for all elements on the page

    Setting network.http.pipelining.maxrequests to 10 is a bad idea; the http 1.1 spec (which Firefox follows) allows 2 simultaneous requests per DNS hostname; you’re overriding it with 10! http requests open sockets and take CPU power. If your internet seems slow, you probably have an older computer, which this is a horrible idea.

    Web developers optimize their web sites to work best with the default browser settings, not these odd ones.

    • GenniCe Reply

      But why so many people, after applying these tweaks had their speed doubled. Almost everyone notices speed boost when they apply this. But that what you are talking about could be true for slower computers and for those with dial-up connection maybe…

    • Rishodi Reply

      I’m going to offer some elucidation, as you — and the author — appear to be rather confused on these topics.

      First of all, the browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers preference has nothing to do with Firefox’s cache. The author appears to be confused here as well. Setting it to 0 will force Firefox to re-parse pages, thus slowing performance, when the back and forward buttons are used. It will not affect the browser cache, and thus will not force the browser to re-request all elements on the page. Nevertheless, I would not recommend setting this preference to 0. I can’t speak for the usage of others, but I use the back and forward buttons frequently, and I find the relatively small amount of memory used by this option to be worth the increased performance.

      Secondly, I don’t think you either don’t understand the difference between HTTP connections and requests, or you don’t understand how pipelining works. I’ll attempt to explain. You’re correct that the HTTP 1.1 spec allows for 2 connections per hostname. However, enabling pipelining does not affect this number. Without pipelining, a client issues HTTP requests sequentially; that is, it waits for the server to respond to its last request before issuing the next. With pipelining enabled, a client can issue multiple HTTP requests over a single connection without waiting for a response. Enabling pipelining does NOT mean that the browser will open additional connections to the same hostname. Additionally, Firefox does not support pipelining more than 8 requests, so setting this preference for any value greater than 8 will not change the maximum of 8 pipelined requests, contrary to the author’s claim. Enabling pipelining is supported by HTTP 1.1 and can greatly improve performance. More more information on pipelining in Firefox, see here: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/netlib/http/pipelining-faq.html

      Finally, setting the nglayout.initialpaint.delay preference to 0 will force the initial page display to appear more quickly, but will increase the time taken for the final rendering of the page to appear. Thus, 0 is not an ideal setting. It’s recommended that the browser be allowed to wait a few hundred milliseconds before attempting to render the page, as this will decrease the amount of time required to render the final page.

  • Ex Girlfiend Reply

    Hey, cool tips. I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that person from that chat who told me to go to your site :)

  • Frank J Reply

    I recently wrote an article on this. I guess good minds think a like!

  • Melayu Boleh Reply

    How to drop the memory usage as long as possible and to increase the speed at which Firefox loads sites. Read on to find out how to do this….

  • Computer Juice Reply

    Great post! This is why I love blogging. Always something interesting to read, watch and enjoy. It keeps the mind active. Thanks, Amy x.

  • Nikhil Jain (@nikhiljn) Reply

    Thanks @gennice, just tried, this really works!

    Thanks so much, promise to spread the word.

    • GenniCe Reply

      I’m really glad you like it Nikhil. Yest it works and it’s cool isn’t it? :) And thanks for spreading the word!

      Enjoy!

  • Durga Kumar Reply

    Thanq so much it helped me a bit

  • Nurra Reply

    I agree with the first guy’s comment. The first time i glance at this guide, i knew i should follow the 2 tweak and i did. The 1 and 3 makes no sense, unless you have a slow pc.

  • Kelly Smith Reply

    These are totally awesome hacks. I can’t believe the difference. I will put a link on my site to yours for recommendations to anyone who wishes to find this information.
    Thanks!

    • Dennis Reply

      Thanks Kelly! I’m glad you like them. :)

  • ankur Reply

    well your tweaks were fine in the begining but after some time my browser surf speeds slowed down again.

    • Dennis Reply

      That must have been due to something other that you might have done to your browser… Because these tweaks have permanent effect.

  • Lee Stevens Reply

    After months of java crashes Firefox is finally stable, video feezes and buffering problems remain.Which gets you into the nether world of ,Yutube,Win7 or Firefox?
    Yahoo/Microsoft have reheated the browser wars. IE 9 is a bust.Google needs to decide if its going to be Chrome or Firefox because this is going to get messy.Firefox has to do more testing before it releases buggy upgrades that need a series of upgrades and fixes. There has to be one safe and reliable browser that has more customization than Chrome. I suppose it all boils down to how big a threat the Chrome OS is. If its a serious threat to Microsoft you can expect clear splits and divisions to occur rapidly.If this happens I wonder who will speak effectively for consumers because the browser wars were a useless pain?

  • aaron Reply

    I had enabled pipelining previously (had selected for 8 requests) and firefox was still a little slow. After upping pipelining to ten and adding the “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” integer my firefox speed is comparable to chrome.

    Have to say I agree with others who chose not to implement the 1st and 3rd hack though, but I have plenty of ram to be able to utilize a large cache.

  • Freelance Adam Reply

    Do these get carried over when a new version of FF get released?

    • Dennis Reply

      Yes, they do.
      These are settings that you apply. When Firefox updates, it doesn’t change any settings you have previously applied.

  • Lawn Care Advice Reply

    I always use Firefox when I need it’s valuable extensions, but the speed is always an issue so I always revert back to Safari when I would prefer Open Source at every opportunity. I’m going to try these new setting right now, to try and bring my speed up so I can start using Firefox for my everyday.

  • SA Reply

    Thanks for sharing these tweaks. They did speed up my browser.
    Thanks again.

  • Atom Reply

    I will try it. I have downloaded Firefox 4.0 and realize it is still sometimes very slow. I need to restart it. Very disappointing. And the last session is always deleted. All tabs are lost. I had hopes that Firefox 4.0 would be better than the last version.

  • coolhandz Reply

    I just used #2 on this list, it seemed to me that this was the only one that really made since(even before reading the comments). Works great.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Sreerag Nampoothiri K Reply

    cool tricks…but, firefox popularity kinda decresed these days…do you have any similar tricks that work for google chrome/rockmelt…i think Rockmelt is the best browser now :)

    • Dennis Reply

      Thanks for suggesting that. I’m going to write some great tips on how to do this on Google Chrome. Stay tuned.

  • Roxy Reply

    wow my ff is faster :D tx

  • Bisi Reply

    Please whats the best browser for a nokia x2 o1 and this firefox hacks,does it work for phones? Thanks a lot

    • Dennis Reply

      I haven’t tested it on Firefox mobile… But I doubt you can apply these there.

  • Atif junaid khan Reply

    really dude it works good man . . . . .

  • internet marketing Reply

    The first one will actually slow down browsing speed, but will reduce RAM usage.

  • pankaj Reply

    Its really work…
    Thanks Dude
    ur Rocks !!!

  • srujan Reply

    thanxxxxxxxx dude its working

  • Rodger Reply

    Will these tweeks still work if you keep a lot of tabs open all the time?
    I’m trying to figure out how to get better performance with a lot of open tabs… :)

  • swapan khanra Reply

    it is marvellous.nice hacking.thanks for tips.my mozilla firefox realy fast.

  • Mr. Husic Reply

    This article is definitely a win. I remember doing the pipelining thing in high school but I did not know about the other two :) Like

  • Rian Reply

    Nice share, mate.
    Now I can bend over the Firefox to run on slow computer of mine :p

    :megusta:

  • Mr.Khan Reply

    very good post n firefox becomes very fast thanks alot.

  • dheena Reply

    its works…now im gettin speed browsing against my slow broadband…thanks :)

  • Atul Maurya Reply

    Yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!The Speed INCREASED 5 times!!!!!!!wow wow wow!!!!!!! its running like a broad band!!!!!!! we can use this tip on any type connection. example-dial up,broadband and e-sticks!!!!!!this trick works 100% true

  • Razael Reply

    Yea,have tryed these on now my FF10 and it work faster and fine,no proplems here lol..ty:D.

  • lock Reply

    Yes it has become visibly fast.
    Thanks a ton.
    Another thing, do you know how to reduce flash cpu workload from other tabs? like chrome does.

  • Vedette Reply

    Tried it a while a go and it has become noticably fast. Thank you for this.

  • Evanovici Reply

    Hack number 4:

    Google Chrome?

    • Dennis Reply

      That one can work too. :)

  • Prabu Krishna Reply

    Nice. Works For Me

  • spex Reply

    you just freed 600MB (i use alot of tabs) of my ram.
    you actually saved me from buying new ram.
    thx a lot!!!!!!!

    • Dennis Reply

      You’re welcome! ;)

  • Fuebar Reply

    I just want to reiterate the point made above; limiting Firefox’s RAM cache to 0 (as in the first tip) WILL slow down page-load speed, because that’s basically forcing Firefox to download the page each time you want to access it. As it’s 2012, most people have far more than enough RAM to not have to worry about RAM usage. For casual users, I recommend you don’t use tips 1 or 3. Two works wonders, though.

  • baba salifu Reply

    Does this hack makes my computer slow down???????

    • Dennis Reply

      No, it doesn’t. It only does what it’s supposed to do – speed up your internet page loading.

  • Jarrod Moore Reply

    I did all of these hacks and closed Firefox, normally it would take me about 12 seconds to get to this page but it only took me around five after i used them. thanks a lot, i always have had trouble with Firefox when i first start up my computer (sometimes Firefox doesn’t respond) do these hacks fix that?

  • roger Reply

    works great for me. really see a difference. thanks

  • Mohamed Reply

    Did the purpose. Firefox is better now. Such a great post, thanks dear.

    • Dennis Reply

      You’re welcome!

  • Mohammed Reply

    Works great for me. Really see a difference. Thanks!

  • Peter Capek Reply

    Has anyone here experienced with Firefox (all recent versions) the problem that, with more than about 10 tabs open, it gets VERY slow, and basically consumes all the processor time that’s available? This happens to me both on WinXP and MacOS 10.x. Closing tabs and/or windows eventually fixes it, but it does NOT appear to be related to any specific web site. May be related to Java usage.

    As to these hacks: removing caching will, in almost all cases, decrease performance, but may seem to improve it to the casual observer. Depends on so many other things, like real memory size and the load on it, communication speed, server responsiveness, user judgement. What’s really needed is an option to have FFX cache as long as real memory is available, but not go beyond that, where paging would start to happen. That’s not so easy to do.

  • Ankoku Flare Reply

    I definitely see an improvement. Thanks for sharing these tricks. For a constant web wanderer like me, they are a gold mine!

  • karthik Reply

    Ya its really works for me. Thanks for your good tips. I checked my internet speed at SpeedTest, and I got huge difference after using these tricks…

  • dylwig Reply

    I agree that enabling pipelining can be a great thing to increase load times and it allow the browser to send more requests from the page regardless of the response, as opposed to request>response>request>response>request>response etc… but firefox only supports a max value of 8 in pipelining so it is technically pointless to set it to 10 because the highest allowed value hardcoded in Firefox is 8. But the feature overall is great and can really help with load times. Here is a link that provides a detailed overview of the feature and how best to optimize it. Anyway thanks for the great article! http://egonitron.com/2007/05/25/the-truth-about-the-firefox-pipelining-trick/

  • Harimangal Pandey Reply

    Hey! amazing work man ,,,
    Can u plz tell me How to increase Downloading speed..
    Plz
    10x in advance…..

    • dylwig Reply

      That going to be your browser not firefox most likely. And if fo some reason it it is firefox, that would be more resource related(avail mem etc…) then anything outright firefox.

  • Cedric Reply

    You’ve done a great job. I’ll certainly share it and personally suggest to my friends.

    I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

  • jack flow Reply

    works great some configuration was already set but other now modified thank you .

  • Anonymous Reply

    tanks this is helpfull!

    hahahahaha….!

    i will share this!

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