Speed Up Firefox the No Bullshit Way

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Over the years I’ve tried numerous ways of speeding up Firefox. Most posts on that topic make you change some hidden preferences and such. I say: That’s bullshit! I’ve never experienced much of an betterment.

There are few reasons why your Firefox is sooo damn slow and you have to tackle these issues.

I use Firefox ever since it has been called Phoenix in the 0. versions. Back then the most important reasons to switch to FF were it’s light weight architecture and low load plus fast loading both of the software as well as the pages. Nowadays FF is more of a moloch. It takes up huge resources and can make your whole system slow. It freezes and crashes often etc. Back then 20k RAM taken up by a browser was much. By now FF uses sometimes 300k and more.

Nonetheless it’s still an indispensable tool and I won’t switch to a Google spyware called Chrome or an Apple bug called Safari. I use Opera only privately, it lacks important features for business use. Don’t even consider thinking about Internet Exploder as a browser. Yesterday I once again cleaned up my Firefox as it has been almost unusable already. Now it runs smoothly again.

So forget all the bullshit about messing with hidden preferences, this is simple advice here not only for geeks on how to speed up Firefox:

Remove those useless crap extensions!
The sheer number of extensions or add ons slows your Firefox. I know, I use up to 50 of them in peak times. Remove all of those that you don’t use daily or at least a few times a week. If you still have more than 20 then remove all those who don’t make money for you or in other words those you don’t need for work. Some add ons are even broken and cause memory leaks. Monitor the memory use on your Windows Taskmanager (n case you use Linux you probably know how to monitor it ;-)
Each extension is almost like standalone software. It uses lots of resources.

Delete those stale downloads!
Why take your whole luggage with you all time when sight seeing? Remove downloads from the downloads list by clicking “clear list”. Otherwise they load each time you start your browser.

Close those hundred tabs!
Come on, you can’t use more than one tab at once. You don’t need to keep all the others for later either. So close them down once you leave. A dozen of tabs should be the maximum. otherwise you forget anyways what’s in them.

Leave that bloated Flash page!
Some people still assume that a website is a movie. Flash animations use much more memory and CPU than any other website. Using them or running them in the background means heavy load. You don’t watch Flash animations? What about YouTube, Vimeo, LastFM or Aupeo? All of them are heavy load Flash media players. In Firefox 3.5 some of them run alternatively on HTML 5 but still they most probably cause your FF to slow down. Also many web apps run on Flash.

Restart that bastard!
Did you know that Firefox still runs the processes you already closed? Closing down a tab does not mean they don’t drain your memory. You have to restart your FF after closing those 100 tabs. Otherwise you still have the load of them.

Dump Firefox 2 and 3.5!
Do you use Firefox 2 or the early versions of FF 3.5? Firefox 2 is much slower than FF3 but FF 3.5 to 3.52 has a bug (or rather feature) that makes it incredible slow at startup. It has been in Firefox 3.53.

You see, no hidden preferences voodoo needed. Just apply some common sense to speed up your Firefox. Do you know some similar ways of speeding it up? Tell me in the comment section or on Twitter. Twitter comments beyond links get fed automatically into my comments.

* CC image: Need for Speed by Amnemona.