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Tweak Firefox to Get a Better Browsing Experience

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Firefox Tweak
Here are a few simple tricks to improve Mozilla Firefox’s performance and privacy settings. You can also enjoy ads-free browsing

Have you ever tried entering about:config in a Firefox tab and checked the available configuration fine-tuning options? If not, try it to customise your Firefox, but be careful while you do these changes. Also, restart the browser for the changes to take effect.

Improve speed
You can improve the browsing speed in Firefox in quite a few ways, some of which are listed below.
Enable pipelining: Start by entering about:config in a new Firefox tab. Click on the ‘I’ll be careful, I promise!’ button and search for ‘pipelining’ (without quotes). Double click on the desired option and ensure the following settings:

network.http.version 1.1
network.http.pipelining true
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests 8
network.http.pipelining.ssl true
network.http.proxy.pipelining true

By applying these changes, Firefox is configured to enable the pipelining feature of the http 1.1 protocol and send eight simultaneous http requests to the website. This increases your browsing speed, provided your Internet connection is fast enough to handle these simultaneous requests. Going beyond eight will not help since it is the maximum limit for Firefox.

Disable animation and placeholder images: You can do this by changing the following options.

browser.tabs.animate false
browser.panorama.animate_zoom false
browser.display.show_image_placeholders false

Disable ‘safe browsing’ (at your own risk): Change the following option.

browser.safebrowsing.enabled false
0 Pipelining Options

Figure 1: Pipelining options

1 Firefox Min

Figure 2: Firefox memory use – when minimised

Run Firefox in RAM to speed it up: Follow the instructions in
Configure Firefox to use 10 MB RAM when minimised: Open the about:config box; right-click anywhere in the ‘Preference name’ pane, then create a new Boolean variable – config.trim_on_minimize, and set its value to ‘True’.
This is especially useful for systems with low RAM, or if you see heavy RAM usage by Firefox under the task manager.

View source code in your preferred editor
Start by entering about:config in a new Firefox tab, search for view_source.editor and change the following options:

view_source.editor.external true
view_source.editor.path Enter your editor path

Now, pressing Ctrl-U will open the source code in the editor mentioned in the path. For example, you may enter c:\windows\notepad.exe for viewing (or editing) the code in Notepad. This could really be helpful for developers and testers.

Ensure privacy while browsing
Disable third party cookies, and delete all cookies when you close Firefox:

Tools – Options – Privacy
Use custom settings for history
Accept cookies from sites
Accept third party cookies - never
Keep until - I close Firefox
Select ‘Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked’ under Tools – Options – Privacy

Websites store information about you in cookies, which are accessed whenever you visit the same site again. This is primarily used for various reasons such as ‘Keep me signed in’, providing customised contents to you.
Third party cookies are those that are placed in your computer by sites that you are not visiting—you may wish to block them all together.
Use the add-on, Ghostery: Most of the websites you browse through, track and record your activity – even though you have selected ‘Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked’. They could also be selling this information. Ghostery detects these trackers and allows you to block them. It’s available for free at

2 Firefox Max

Figure 3 : Firefox memory use – when maximised

3 Trackers blocked by Ghostery

Figure 4: Trackers blocked by Ghostery on a prominent media website

Use the Adblock Plus add-on to block advertisements
On many websites, advertisements are one of the the biggest nuisances. AdBlock Plus blocks banners, pop-ups and video advertisements. Install it to see the difference–it is unbelievable.
There are various user configurable settings for this addon:

  1. Subscribe to various filters to block advertisements.
  2. Disable this add-on for particular websites
  3. By default, this add-on allows some non-intrusive advertisements such as those by google to be displayed – user can disable them from filter preferences.
  4. Create custom rule for blocking particular contents such as advertisement, banner or video if not automatically blocked.