Speeding Up Mozilla Firefox

Here’s a configuration tip that enables Firefox to download Web pages faster: enable HTTP pipelining. HTTP pipelining allows Firefox to send multiple requests at the same time, resulting in faster loading times for Web content.

HTTP pipelining is an experimental feature and can cause some Web pages to display incorrectly if they’re not properly supported by the Web servers. While the speed improvements may be worthwhile, if your favorite Web pages start to look weird, try turning pipelining off again.
To enable pipelining, open the about:config interface:

  • Set the network.http.pipelining preference to “true” to enable HTTP pipelining for Web access that’s “direct connect.”
  • Set the network.http.proxy.pipelining preference to “true” to enable HTTP pipelining when the Web is accessed via a proxy server. You only need to do this if you’re using a proxy server; your ISP or network administrator can tell you if that’s the case or not.
  • Set the network.http.pipelining.maxrequests preference to a number between 1 and 8. This number is the maximum number of requests that Firefox may send out at any one time in a pipeline. I recommend it be set to the maximum of 8 initially, then test working backwards from there. Step the value down by one (first to 7, then to 6, and so on) each time you notice the page display having problems.

With this hidden preference, you have to restart Firefox entirely before you can determine if a speed boost has been gained.

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