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Speed up Firefox with these tweaks

February 25th, 2005 Tony Leave a comment Go to comments

Does Firefox seem way slower than Internet Explorer to you? Well it certainly is out of the box. I’m not sure why they don’t make the following settings default but check these out. They may change your opinion of the browser.


Type “about:config” in your firefox address bar.

Search for the following settings:

1. network.http.pipelining
Set to true
2. network.http.pipelining.firstrequest
Set to true
3. network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
Set to 32
4. network.http.proxy.pipelining
Set to true
5. nglayout.initialpaint.delay
Set to 0

Its very likely that you won’t have an entry for network.http.pipelining.firstrequest. Thats ok. Just add one.

Right-click on the preferences list, select ‘New’ then select ‘Boolean’

On the first prompt, type:

On the second prompt, set it to ‘true’

Its also likely that you won’t have an entry for nglayout.initialpaint.delay

Right-click on the preferences list, select ‘New’ then select ‘Integer’

On the first prompt, type:

On the second prompt, set it to ‘0′

Thanks to MatthewHSE and rise2it of WebmasterWorld for these settings. Thanks to rona for heads up on the nglayout.initialpaint.delay also not being present. Firefox is way faster for me and has enabled me to finally bail on IE.

How does it help? These are Matthew’s words:

Enabling the pipelining features allows the browser to make multiple requests to the server at the same time. The “maxrequests” is the maximum number of requests it will send at once. I’ve heard that 8 is the most it will send at once, but setting it higher won’t hurt, just in case. The initialpaint.delay is the length of time (in milliseconds) after the server response before the browser begins to paint the page.

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  1. Tim Marchant
    March 2nd, 2005 at 05:29 | #1

    Stumbled upon your blog this morning.

    Found the CPanel/PHP/Curl fix I had been hunting for, fixed (I hope) the crippling problem I have been having with Firefox freezing while I download files (seems better so far).

    Remember the “Clapton is God” graffiti? Right now I am thinking “Tony Spencer is God”.

    To quote the Governor of California “I’ll be back.”

    Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Jake
    July 10th, 2005 at 03:56 | #2

    Holy crap! This made my FF smokin fast! Thanks!

  3. Tricia
    September 23rd, 2005 at 20:41 | #3

    hey i messed up and made a boolean string for nglayout.initialpaint.delay and i can’t delete it or modify it properly
    any suggestions?

  4. Jane
    November 20th, 2005 at 00:10 | #4

    hello – i just did these things and firefox crashed as usual.

    firefox used to be excellent, top of its class… but now, it’s as bad or worse than bill’s creations. what is worse is that this has been happening for months and no fix has come out. i am not using switchproxy (which is what some people are using that seems to be causing the problems) as one of my extensions.

    my extensions are:
    gmail notifier
    resizeable text area

    i have switched to opera now for general browsing but stumbleupon doesn’t have a downloadable opera version, so i’m stuck with disease ridden i.e. or buggy (and now infinitely annoying) firefox.

    any help would be appreciated – i created a new profile thinking perhaps that would sort out the problems… nope.

  5. Angela
    February 27th, 2007 at 21:02 | #5

    I’m a non-techie, although I can follow your instructions. What I want to know is, will there be any problems implementing the changes? Do I need enough memory or something? What could possibly go wrong?

  6. March 3rd, 2007 at 04:10 | #6

    The Firefox extension called “FasterFox” did all of this for me.

  7. Richard
    March 3rd, 2007 at 06:21 | #7

    May thanks. Certainly speeded my FF up.

  8. March 6th, 2007 at 12:33 | #8

    Note to Jane – disable or remove AdBlock. That worked for my crashing FF.

  9. Dave
    December 22nd, 2007 at 04:47 | #9

    Another note to Jane – When you installed Mozilla Firefox they should have put a Safe Mode shortcut in Start – All Programs – Mozilla Firefox. This will start FF without any extensions. If it runs acceptably fast with this shortcut then the problem is in one or more of the extensions (add-ons).

  10. February 11th, 2008 at 23:26 | #10

    Thanks mate! I’m using Firefox 3 Beta 2 and I thought it couldn’t get any faster, but with your tweaks they did!!

    Thanks a million. =)

  11. Mac User
    May 24th, 2008 at 10:22 | #11

    This is by far the fastest I have ever seen Firefox fly!!! Finally, the name follow function with this info!!!!
    Great tip with adding new entries!!!!

    Looks like safari is going to the trash!!!

  12. richard
    June 21st, 2008 at 07:03 | #12

    unbelievable speed. thanks!

  13. Coty2255
    June 21st, 2008 at 22:51 | #13

    all i gotta say is, SICKNESS!

  14. Liam
    June 22nd, 2008 at 06:23 | #14

    Hey thanks, Tony and friends. I downloaded Firefox 3 and was very disappointed with all the hanging and crashing. But your tips have turned my little laptop into a real Net blazer! I could feel the restrictions relieving in the browser as I made the final changes. Amazing stuff.

  15. Chris
    July 5th, 2008 at 08:36 | #15

    One thing you might want to also add is that after doing the NGLayout tweat they need to then do the content.notify.interval and set that to 0 as well.

    Hope that helps a little more

  16. slacker
    July 7th, 2008 at 04:42 | #16

    a milliion thanks..
    wow, you aare so knowledgeble

    and you helped me make my mind taking the “Computer Hardware and Operating Systems” course next year.lols.

  17. Jenn
    July 9th, 2008 at 23:08 | #17

    i don’t know if this isn’t useful for macs, but i did everything you said to do, now my FF keeps crashing every couple seconds. *sighs*

  18. Jay
    July 29th, 2008 at 17:22 | #18


    I just switched over to this from IE7 it is really nice. 1 question though if Firefox was not better than MS no one complains about it. if MS makes one mistake the whole world stop revolving and everyone protests.

  19. Nagendra
    August 6th, 2008 at 18:19 | #19

    I had been using Firefox 2 and was pretty happy with the performance. I recently upgraded to FF 3 and the drop in speed was painfully obvious. The same page took significantly longer to load and refresh. I stumbled on your blog while Googling and tried the “FasterFox” add-on suggested by Phil. Thanks Phil, my FireFox is amazingly fast now.

  20. jytdog
    August 19th, 2008 at 21:00 | #20

    I just tried to get fasterfox — there is no version at mozilla or the developers site that is compatible with firefox 3.0.1. i tried to install anyway and firefox rejected it because it was “not compatible!”

  21. Chgot
    September 3rd, 2008 at 10:37 | #21

    Just a problem with
    it was already in my list, and I changed the value from 600 to 0 as required, but when I close and reopen FF, the value is set back to 600. Other boolean values are NOT reset after reopening. What can I do? Is there a “Save” feature or something?

  22. firefox techy
    September 13th, 2008 at 12:28 | #22

    Superb guide it certainly seems to speed up firefox big time! and I wouldnt be without this mod..
    However I should point out that there is no point setting ‘network.http.pipelining.maxrequests’ as any higher than ‘8′ as this is the max according to what I read here.. http://www.nettechguide.com/how-to-speed-up-firefox-page-loading-times

    Tech Master

  23. mastermind
    December 12th, 2008 at 05:44 | #23

    Thanks very much for these great tips. When i first downloaded firefox 3 i recognized that it was slower than firefox which is also great. I didnt paymuch attention to speed, but now after i tried these tips, firefox3 seemed to work REALLY fast!!! with fast broadband DSL connection firefox is making webbrowsing much faster with the tips above!! i wonder why the developers of firefox didnt put these tips as default configuartions for the browser, that would have made firefox3 faster in the first place and gave better reputation to the newly released firefox…:P anyways, even if firefox 3 was a bit slower than the previous ones, one should put in mind that its a n open source browser and addons and patches can be made for it and thus problems can be solved! this is flexible software at least! it is not IE! IE SUCKS!!! especially IE7 ! LONG LIVE THE OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY! LONG LIVE FIREFOX! ;) :p:p:p:p:p

  24. Jay
    January 8th, 2009 at 18:43 | #24

    Wow, this really works, i wish I knew this long ago. Thanks for sharing this! Also, if theres any Mozilla devolopers reading this, please take note and add this to the new release!! Peace

  25. Denis
    January 27th, 2009 at 07:41 | #25

    Thank you – this seems to have solved major problems I was having with Firefox 3 freezing and showing a beachball on Leopard 10.5

  26. Bruce
    February 4th, 2009 at 22:37 | #26

    so i tried doing this on my mac, but it won’t let me add entries, because i can’t right click

  27. anonymous
    March 18th, 2009 at 22:08 | #27

    Bruce: the interface only allows a right click on an existing table – so make sure you click the “Show All” button, and when you right click, do it on one of the existing entries.
    oh! just realised you might not know how to right-click. Either hold down the “CTRL” button and click normally, or you can set a preference in “System Preferences->Mouse” to allow “two-finger” clicking, where you hold two fingers on the mouse pad and click to make a right click.

    Good luck!