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Apr 30, 2008

Make Firefox Faster

I came across a few cool tricks that will make Firefox run faster. The tricks are actually quite old as they have been around the Internet for quite some time, but it still works great for me, so I think it's worth sharing here.

(If you are still using IE, I recommend you to download Firefox now. It's a free web browser, with enhanced security and a bunch of cool stuff.)

Here are the cool tricks to make Firefox faster in loading pages:

1. On the URL bar, enter "about:config".

2. In the filter, enter "network.http.pipelining" to bring up this preference name. By default, the value is set to "false". Double click on it to change the value to "true".

3. Enter "network.http.proxy.pipelining" in the filter to bring up this preference name, and double click on it to turn the value to "true".

4. Enter "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" in the filter to bring up this preference name. The default value is 4. Double click and set the value to 10.

By doing the few tweaks above, your Firefox web browser will become much faster in loading pages.

What does the tweak do?
When we are browsing the Internet, our web browser (Firefox) is the client, and will be requesting data from the servers (e.g. YouTube, FaceBook, Blogger etc..) to be displayed on the browser. By default, most of the web browser (including Firefox) will be sending one request at a time to the server, and wait for the respond from the server before sending the next request. By doing the setting above, we are actually enabling what we call the HTTP pipelining which enable Firefox to send multiple request simultaneuously without having to wait for the respond from server. And the number of requests that we can send in one time is controlled by the value that we entered for "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" (step 4), which we have set it to 10. By doing this, Firefox will now be sending 10 request at a time, which will make it load much faster.

Any side effect for making this tweak?
Yes, some servers that do not support pipelining are not able to handle multiple request will cause page to load incorrectly. That is the reason Firefox has it turned off by default. But I haven't got any problem so far after making this tweak, and my Firefox did perform much faster. I assume most web server nowadays do support pipelining.

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