9 Simple Tweaks to Speed Up Firefox Immediately
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Nearly all web browsers have similar speeds Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox The browser you're using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year. Read More when actually browsing the web, so “speed” actually comes down to the performance and how you use the program. Whether you’re already a Firefox user or switching from Chrome to Firefox Switching From Chrome: How to Make Firefox Feel Like Home Switching From Chrome: How to Make Firefox Feel Like Home So, you have decided that Firefox is the better browser for you. Is there anything you can do to make Firefox less of a foreign environment? Yes! Read More , this guide will tell you how to speed it up.

We’ll be sticking to the latest stable version of Firefox for this one. While Firefox on Android has some cool features Firefox 42's Tab Queuing for Android is Awesome - Try it Out Now! Firefox 42's Tab Queuing for Android is Awesome - Try it Out Now! Mozilla has released a new beta version of its popular Firefox web browser and it's got a fantastic feature for Android smartphones. Tab Queuing opens external links later in the background in Firefox. Read More too, this article focuses on the desktop browser.

You should obviously use the latest and greatest version of Firefox. We believe it’s the best browser for Linux and has enough in it to be your favorite on Windows or macOS.

Download: Mozilla Firefox for Windows | macOS | Linux (Free)

1. Enable Hardware Acceleration

enable hardware acceleration in firefox

The new Firefox Quantum can take advantage of your computer’s GPU to load pages faster and play online videos more smoothly. But for quite a few computers, this isn’t enabled by default. So check that first.

  1. Go to about:preferences
  2. In General, scroll down to Performance
  3. Uncheck the box for Use recommended performance settings
  4. Check the box for Use hardware acceleration when available

You’ll also see another option under it called Content process limit. If your computer has a dedicated GPU and more than 8GB of RAM, raise this beyond 4. Otherwise, leave it to the default 4 value. Generally speaking, raise it to 5 for 16GB RAM, 6 for 32GB RAM, and 7 for 64GB RAM.

Hardware acceleration and content process are the first things you should check if Firefox runs slow while other browsers run fast 5 Things To Do When Firefox Runs Slow But Other Browsers Run Fast 5 Things To Do When Firefox Runs Slow But Other Browsers Run Fast Firefox shouldn’t feel slow, particularly when compared to Opera and Internet Explorer. If it does, try these tips and see if you can restore it to its full glory. Read More .

2. Disable Data Collection and Telemetry

firefox disable data collection

Firefox continually collects anonymous data about how you use the browser. It then sends that data to its servers, to improve features in the browser. Don’t worry, this isn’t compromising your privacy, but it does make Firefox slower.

You can stop Firefox from doing this with a couple of simple tweaks.

First, you need to disable Data Collection in Firefox:

  1. Go to about:preferences
  2. Go to Privacy & Security, and scroll down to Firefox Data Collection and Use
  3. Uncheck all boxes in this section
  4. Restart Firefox

Behind the scenes, Firefox uses something called Telemetry to send that data across. To disable Telemetry, you will need to dive into about:config settings.

3. Essential About:Config Tweaks

You can change intricate settings in Firefox through its accessible Configs menu. We’ve featured a few essential Firefox tweaks 6 Useful about:config Tweaks You Should Know for Firefox 8+ 6 Useful about:config Tweaks You Should Know for Firefox 8+ Are you browsing this article in Firefox? If not, go ahead and fire up the browser and take a look at all the options you can change. It’s pretty easy to customize Firefox, right? Especially... Read More already, but this time, we’re going to concentrate only on those that make the browser work faster.

How to Access and Use About:Config

firefox about config warranty confirmation

  1. Open a New Tab
  2. Type about:config in the URL bar
  3. Click I’ll be careful, I promise
  4. Search for any string mentioned below
  5. Double-click value to change the value of any field
  6. Click anywhere else to save the changes

Once you’re in about:config, change the following preferences to the denoted value so that your Firefox runs faster.

Change or disable telemetry in Firefox

  • Set browser.download.animateNotifications to False
  • Set security.dialog_enable_delay to 0
  • Set network.prefetch-next to False (Only on slow internet connections)
  • Set browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.telemetry to false
  • Set browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.telemetry to false
  • Set browser.ping-centre.telemetry to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.archive.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.bhrPing.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.firstShutdownPing.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.hybridContent.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.newProfilePing.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.reportingpolicy.firstRun to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.shutdownPingSender.enabled to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.unified to false
  • Set toolkit.telemetry.updatePing.enabled to false

Your Firefox should now be visibly faster, as you have just disabled unnecessary animations, stopped the countdown timer when you’re installing extensions, and told it to stop preloading web pages when you’re on a slow connection.

4. Disable Accessibility Services

firefox disable accessibility options

Firefox Quantum is always monitoring your browser through something called Accessibility Services. It’s useless for anyone who doesn’t need assistive technologies for physical impairments.

Here’s how to safely disable Accessibility Services in the new Firefox:

  1. Go to about:preferences
  2. Go to Privacy & Security, and scroll down to Permissions
  3. Check the box for Prevent accessibility services from accessing your browser
  4. Restart Firefox when prompted

5. Download Speed Tweaks for Firefox Quantum

download speed tweaks to speed up firefox

With almost every browser, there are a few common tricks to speed up performance. You could manually do all of that or let a handy extension called Speed Tweaks take care of it.

None of the seven tweaks are selected by default, so you will have to check what you want to use. The tricks include:

  • Block common ads by default
  • Pre-solve DNS entries
  • Block all images from loading by default
  • Speed up page rendering while scrolling
  • Load the mobile version of websites
  • Discard inactive tabs to save memory
  • Clear the browser cache

It’s a quick and simple fix for a faster browser, and you can toggle any setting on and off when you want.

Download: Speed Tweaks for Firefox (Free)

6. Remove Built-in Firefox Add-ons

9 Simple Tweaks to Speed Up Firefox Immediately firefox pocket integration

The new version of Firefox integrates add-ons like Pocket out of the box, whether you want them or not. Removing them can speed up the browser’s startup time and memory usage.

We’ve shown you how to remove these Firefox integrations, but here are the quick shortcuts if you don’t need step-by-step instructions from the article:

  • In about:config, set reader.parse-on-load.enabled to False
  • In about:config, set reader.parse-on-load.force-enabled to False
  • In about:config, set browser.pocket.enabled to False
  • In about:config, set loop.enabled to False

7. Switch to Bookmarklets

Use bookmarklets instead of add-ons in firefox

We’ve been saying this for quite some time now, but you should seriously consider the benefits of using bookmarklets instead of extensions or add-ons. Bookmarklets are lighter, safer, and work just as well as several popular add-ons.

For instance, you can ditch the Pocket add-on and install the Pocket bookmarklet to stop Firefox wasting RAM on Pocket till the moment you actually need to add a new page. Yup, otherwise, that extension is taking up RAM even if you don’t use it.

We have a large list of bookmarklet alternatives to add-ons, so start replacing those extensions!

8. Manage Your Tabs

Apart from extensions, the other thing that really slows down the browser is the number of tabs you have open. It’s all right to have several tabs open, but you need to manage them correctly to ensure Firefox doesn’t start crawling. Funnily, you’ll need to accomplish this is with two add-ons.

Auto Tab Discard

Auto Tab Discard extension for Firefox

You keep a lot of tabs open, but you don’t always need them all the time. Auto Unload Tab will automatically stop that tab from taking up CPU cycles, RAM, or from reloading. Right-click in the tab or the extension icon to see a context menu with all the options you need. You can add individual tabs or certain sites to the blacklist so that they are ignored by Auto Unload Tab.

It’s one of the must-have add-ons for faster web browsing.

Download: Auto Tab Discard for Firefox (Free)

OneTab

Firefox-Onetab

Available on all major browsers, OneTab is one of the brilliant ways to manage tabs without losing them. One click of the OneTab icon and it will close all open tabs and and generate them as a list. You can reopen all tabs in another click, or just save the list so that it can be opened later.

It’s a simple way to keep your browser light without dumping any open tab and desperately searching for it later.

Download: OneTab for Firefox (Free)

9. Refresh Firefox to Start From Scratch

how to refresh firefox

The first time you installed Firefox, it was much faster, right? Browsers get slower with age. If you want to go back to the feel of that fresh installation, Firefox Quantum has an easy way to do that.

You can Refresh Firefox How to Fix Issues in Chrome and Firefox With a Browser Reset How to Fix Issues in Chrome and Firefox With a Browser Reset Chrome and Firefox both include a reset feature that you should use if you're having a lot of problems with them. Read More to remove all add-ons you downloaded and customizations you’ve made. It will also restore your browser settings to default.

Here’s how to Refresh Firefox:

  1. Open a new tab and go to about:support
  2. Click Refresh Firefox in the Give Firefox a tune up box
  3. Click Refresh Firefox again in the dialog prompt that pops up to confirm your decision

More Firefox Productivity With Tab Management

These tips and tricks are excellent ways to speed up your slow Firefox browser. But the most common reason your browser runs slow is the tabs. Unless you make an effort to handle your tabs well, none of these tweaks will have a long-lasting effect. So whatever you do, make sure you learn tab management in Firefox Quantum 15 Must-Know Power User Tips for Firefox Tabs 15 Must-Know Power User Tips for Firefox Tabs When was the last time you only had a single browser tab open? It must have been temporary. We'll show you how to best manage tons of tabs in Firefox. Read More .

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  1. stv pls YT
    September 11, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    some about config strings and performance tab are not present in firefox 51 and i dont like quantum, is too modern looking for me

  2. Zhong
    August 29, 2018 at 1:20 am

    Can you import your about:config setting and import them to a new profile?

    • Joseph J Pollock
      September 1, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Don't know, but you can:
      (Haven't done this in quite some time, so take this more as a general idea rather than as exact instructions. And make a backup of everything before you modify it!)
      Find your profile. In Linux, it's under $HOME/.mozilla/firefox or firefox-esr. I don't know where it is in Windows.
      Copy the entire profile to a new directory at the same level. This is the directory with a name that begins with a bunch of random characters.

      Edit profiles.ini and
      Copy profile0 and paste it below as profile1 changing the profile name to your new directory.
      You should now be asked what profile you want to use whenever you start Firefox. (If not, you can start it the command line option -ProfileManager .) Since this is a PITA, there's a command line argument you can pass to Firefox telling it which one to use. -P profile-name
      When you start up the new profile, you can change whatever you want and it will be saved, but you can still start up the original profile with everything the way it was.
      Caveat: I did this a long time ago and on Linux. I do not use Quantum because it killed all the add-ons that are the only reason I still use Firefox at all.

      • dragonmouth
        September 1, 2018 at 12:18 pm

        AFAIAC, the changes in Quantum are outweighed by the elimination of the add-ons and plug-ins I got used to using, especially the security/privacy ones.

  3. dragonmouth
    August 27, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    The big problem with Refresh Firefox is that it wipes out any and all about:config changes. If you made only a few changes, re-applying them may not be a problem. However, if you made hundreds of changes, you are screwed, because - 1) chances are you don't remember which keys you changed and you didn't document them, 2) it will take you a long time to re-apply them. It used to be easy to backup all of FF settings with FEBE but FEBE no longer works with FF Quantum and no alternative was provided.

    • Joseph J Pollock
      September 1, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Good point. That's what backups are for! Then, you can run a diff against your backup on any file and see what changed and decide what to restore manually. There are a bunch of files in there, but prefs.js has all the normal settings in it - in almost the same format as about:prefs shows and you can edit it with a text editor as long as you're careful (and Firefox isn't running) and as long as you have a backup.