Speed Up Firefox the No Bullshit Way

A hand holding a classic Soviet Union era (CCCP) stop watch.

Over the years I’ve tried numerous ways of speeding up Firefox. Most posts on that topic make you change some hidden preferences and such.

I say: That’s bullshit! I’ve never experienced much of an improvement after making some voodoo tweaks.

There are few reasons why your Firefox is sooo damn slow and you have to tackle these issues.

I use Firefox ever since it has been called Phoenix in the 0. versions. Back then the most important reasons to switch to FF were its

  • light weight architecture
  • low memory usage
  • fast start-up of the browser
  • speedy rendering of Web pages.

These days many people’s Firefox is more of a moloch. It takes up huge resources and can slow down your whole system.

It even freezes and crashes quite often etc. Back then 20k RAM taken up by a browser was much. By now my FF uses 400k and more frequently.

Nonetheless it’s still an indispensable tool and I won’t switch to a Google spyware called Chrome or an Apple bug called Safari.

I use Opera – now based on Chrome too – only privately, it lacks important features for business use. Using default browsers like Apple’s Safari or Microsoft Edge is not my cup of tea.

From time to time I clean up my Firefox when it’s almost unusable already. Then it runs smoothly again.

Please forget all the bullshit about messing with hidden preferences, this is simple advice here not only for geeks on how to speed up Firefox:

Remove those useless crap extensions!
The sheer number of extensions or add ons slows your Firefox. I know, I use up to 50 of them in peak times.

Remove all of those that you don’t use daily or at least a few times a week. In case you still have more than 20 then remove all those that don’t make money for you.

In other words remove extensions you don’t need for work. Some are even broken and cause memory leaks.

Monitor the memory use on your Windows Task Manager. Each extension is almost like standalone software. It uses lots of resources.

Delete those stale downloads!
Why take your whole luggage with you all time when sight seeing? Remove downloads from the downloads list by clicking “clear list”. Otherwise they load each time you start your browser.

Close those hundred tabs!
Come on, you can’t use more than one tab at once. You don’t need to keep all the others for later either.

Close them down once you leave. A dozen of tabs should be the maximum. Otherwise you forget anyway what’s behind them.

Leave that bloated animated page!
Some people still assume that a website is a movie. Videos and animations use much more memory and CPU than any other website.

Using them or running them in the background means heavy load. This also applies to ad-hevy animated pages like Wired.

You don’t watch videos or animations? What about YouTube, Vimeo and Last FM or simply Tumblr with all its memes?

All of these sites are heavy weights because of showing moving pictures. They most probably cause your FF to slow down. Also many Web apps are script-heavy and slow as well.

Restart that bastard!
Did you know that Firefox still runs the processes you already closed? Closing down tabs does not mean they don’t drain your memory.

You have to restart your FF after closing those 100 tabs. Otherwise you still have the load of them. The latest versions of FF are better at handling multiple tabs. Update!


You see, no hidden preferences voodoo needed. Just apply some common sense to speed up your Firefox. It should work for Chrome and other browser as well.

Do you know some similar ways of speeding it up? Tell me in the comment section or on Twitter. Twitter comments beyond links get fed automatically into my comments.

Last updated: April 26th, 2018.