3 hacks to get Firefox up to speed

Firefox is already known as one of the fastest browsers available, but did you know that with a few simple tweaks, you can make your experience even faster? Take Firefox from zero to 60 using the following 3 tips:

1. Adjust Firefox’s Cache

Like other web browsers, Firefox uses a cache system to store information about the pages you visit. This is done in order to increase speed by pulling up pages that haven’t changed from the cached copy. Unfortunately, the larger your cache gets, the more memory you end up using to store these files.

One way to solve this dilemma is to assign a fixed cache size. To do this, type ‘about:config” into the address bar at the top of a Firefox window. Next, enter ‘browser.cache.memory.enable’ in the Filter field. You should also set the value to ‘True’.

You can then right click and select ‘New Integer’ and type in ‘browser.cache.memory.capacity’. This will give you the ability to enter in a personalized cache size. To do this, you’ll want to enter 8192 for each half-gigabyte of RAM you’d like to utilize for the cache. How much you choose to allocate is up to you, but keep in mind that the more RAM your device possess, the more you can up the number without slowing the device.

2. Make Changes to Firefox’s Session History

When you browse a series of websites, Firefox saves your history for that session, allowing you to use the Back button to navigate back to where you were previously. By default, Firefox allows for storage of up to 50 websites per session, but this can eat up memory and slow the browser down.

To adjust the number of stored websites, simply enter ‘about:config’ into the address bar and look for ‘browser.sessionhistory.max’. Once you’ve found this entry, right click and select ‘Modify’. From there, you can change the number of stored pages to a lower number. Keep in mind, however, that you will only be able to use the Back button in a browsing session according to the number you enter, so think carefully about your browsing habits when changing this setting.

3. Save Memory When You Minimize Firefox

When you’ve minimized a Firefox window, it is still using memory. Think about this in terms of closing your eyes and pretending the world isn’t still going around you; it is. So, when you minimize a window, Firefox is still communicating with whatever webpage and associated servers are involved. This is wasting memory, but you can easily make a change that forces Firefox to release its memory when minimized.

To do this, enter ‘about:config’ in the address bar and right click in the browser window. You’ll be presented with several options, and you’ll want to select ‘New’ and then ‘Boolean’. When prompted, type in ‘config.trim_on_minimize’ and set the value to ‘True’. That’s it!

To see how to speed things up using Firefox in Windows 8, download Firefox Nightly.

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