Speeding Up Firefox

I tried this suggestion on how to speed up Firefox. It may be the placebo effect, but things do seem faster now…


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on December 28, 2004 - 01:29 Permalink

I’m not sure about those HTTP Pipelining settings, but the “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” is probably best not set to “0”. If I understand it correctly, the propose of this delay is rather than having the page jump all around as the HTML is download, it waits a fraction of a second until it has more of the HTML downloaded before it starts rendering.

It means a tiny delay before the rendering actually starts, but once it starts it will be smoother and more stable. Leaving this setting at the default can actually lead to a smoother-feeling browsing experience.

Cyn's picture
Cyn on December 28, 2004 - 01:30 Permalink

I’m pretty sure I’m faster now too. Thanks Peter.

al o'neill's picture
al o'neill on December 28, 2004 - 03:01 Permalink

The pipelining takes advantage of newer web servers’ ability to handle this feature. The disadvantage is that it might confuse a server running the (extremely) old httpd server software.

As for the initialpaint delay, I tend to prefer setting it to close to zero. It’s definitely part of the Microsoft school of UI design, but when the user sees that his or her computer is doing something right away it feels like the software is working faster. Hence the paramount importance of getting MS Office’s main screen up as quickly as possible, no matter how slow the rest of it is.

At any rate, the best way I’ve recently found to speed up my browsing is to install the Opera 8.0 Beta which I’m still playing with.

Iain's picture
Iain on December 28, 2004 - 17:05 Permalink

Interestingly I don’t seem to have a “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” entry in about:config.

I also noticed(discovered) that you can’t use the built in search for this page.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 28, 2004 - 17:19 Permalink

But you *can* use the ‘Filter’ at the top of the page. And note that the instructions indicate that you need to *add* the nglayout.initialpaint.delay key.

Ken's picture
Ken on December 28, 2004 - 19:21 Permalink

Y’all are geeks!

Rob L.'s picture
Rob L. on December 29, 2004 - 14:56 Permalink

Wow, I’m impressed. It IS faster! The page load does seem a bit herky-jerky, probably for the reason Steve suspects, i.e., nglayout.initialpaint.delay = 0. I don’t mind this, but just out of curiosity, what is the default value if I want to set it back? Also out of curiosity, would the cumulative effect of all Firefox users setting their maxrequests to 30 create a massive increase in network traffic? Could I launch a crude denial of service attack by setting this to 10000 and then hammering the Reload button?? Just wondering.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 29, 2004 - 17:52 Permalink

Much faster.

Paul's picture
Paul on December 29, 2004 - 18:57 Permalink

Well it was easy to do, it does seem faster. And being the type of person who likes instant gratification, seeing herky-jerky loading is much better than a blank screen which leads me to hit the RELOAD button or enter again a million times.

al o'neill's picture
al o'neill on December 29, 2004 - 19:41 Permalink

Rob L.: default is 0.5 seconds, but I can’t remember the unit that they use, it might be milliseconds, so 500.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 29, 2004 - 20:03 Permalink

That is interesting, Paul. I always suspect that the reason bank machines make that rattle when they process your instructions is to keep your brain comforted by believing something is happening.