Hack and tweak your Firefox

Despite the wide variety of web browsers available I’m still a daily Firefox user. I could never get used to Safari or Camino. I do use Chrome for testing websites or when I need multiple logins on one website. As for Opera I can’t really care for it at all.

While Firefox is the slowest of all the browsers I like it due to the add-ons and the possibility to hack a lot of settings to suit my needs. Just by typing about:config you’ll get access to customize Firefox’s core settings. Of course this doesn’t come without a proper warning from Firefox.

That warning says it all, hack and tweak at your own risk.

The first hack is to speed up web browsing.

1. In the address bar, type: about:config
2. Locate and change the following values by double-clicking on them:
network.http.max-connections = 48 or 96 [default is 30]
network.http.max-connections-per-server = 24 or 32 [default is 10]
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy = 24 [default is 4]
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server =12 [default is 2]
network.http.pipelining = true [default is false]
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests = 8 or 10 [ default is 4]
network.http.proxy.pipelining = true [default is false]

Next you can minimize the amount of RAM memory that Firefox uses when the application is minimized. Firefox is known to be huge memory hogger so this one will probably help the ones like me who have only 2GB of memory.

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In about:config filter config.trim_on_minimize
change value to true
if filter returns zero result
right click go to new and select "boolean"
Name the preference: config.trim_on_minimize
Set the value on true

I applied these two hacks myself on my Firefox installation, Firefox 3.6.3 running on OS X 10.6.3, so far it’s running without problems. But these customization should always be done with second thoughts.

For websites hack I use Greasemonkey which is by now familiar to all. I use it mostly on Facebook, Google Calendar and Google.

I’m now hoping that someone figures a way to block tynt.com. Tynt is a Javascript service applied to many popular websites like techCrunch, NYTimes, etc. Whenever you copy and paste text from those site it will add extra text and links depending how the websites have configured it. I’m 50/50 on this, a Read more link is fine with me but some sites abuse this service and give you a whole rundown of text and several links.

The only way to block tynt.com in Firefox is to install noscript or Adblocker. I’m not a fan of these add-ons so I’m hoping for a Greasemonkey solution. Meanwhile for Chrome there is a solution, Tynt Blocker. Only annoying about it it will give a pop up each time a new website using Tynt is visited instead of just blocking all and let the user make the exception.

If you want to dig deeper in about:config, check out Firefox hacking about:config complete list & tweaks.

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Ms Hyde
@darice

Darice is a web developer who likes reading, watching TV shows, taking the occasional photos and play a tennis game now and then. Darice has been blogging on her own weblog since 2003 and joined Forever Geek in January 2010. When not coding, writing or reading she can be found in the kitchen cooking.

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