I think that Firefox is one of the best browsers out there. I also think that WordPress is one of the best Content Management Systems out there (free or otherwise). That’s why I found it rather hard to preach about these two best-of-breed technologies when you pair them together.
I like to use Firefox when authoring articles via WordPress, but I experienced unexplainable slow-downs when typing in the editor. I thought that it might be Firefox’s built-in spell check, or some setting within WordPress. Come to find out there are a few tweaks you can do to Firefox to restore the speed you once had.
1. First and foremost, turn off hardware acceleration
Much like the S3 Virge chip, this feature is more of a “de-cellerator”. Your mileage may vary, but I haven’t noticed anything be faster with acceleration on, but totally notice when it doesn’t work right.
To change this setting, click on the Firefox button in the top left corner of your browser, then click Options. Click on Advanced, and then click the General tab. Then uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available”.
2. Clear your cache
Browsers like to cache things, which in theory makes things faster. In actuality it can slow things down, as accessing a bunch of individual files can cause your hard drive to thrash about. If your cache gets rather large (like 1GB or so), then it can actually be quicker to re-download the file you need.
Go to the Options dialog again, and click on Advanced, and then open the Network tab. Click on “clear now”. It will take a few minutes before your browser is finished.
Now that your cache is clear, click on “Override automatic cache management” and change the cache limit to 100MB or so.
3. Clear your browser’s History
Clearing the history is one of the things that can make your browser faster. It’s probably a good idea anyway, especially if other people use your computer. If you have privacy issues like this, then it’s probably a good idea to enforce others having their own profile and require them to switch to it.
The way to clear your history is to click the Firefox button, then History, and then click “Clear Recent History”. You can also hold down Ctrl + Shift + Delete. A handy window will pop up and ask you how far back you would like to delete. If you just got finished with an hour-long porn session or were looking up divorce lawyers, then select “Last Hour”.
For the purposes of making things faster, select “Everything” and click “Clear Now”. You can also click on “Details” and fine-tune what you would like to remove… but make sure that “Browsing & Download History” is checked at a minimum.
Once everything is done, restart your new speedy browser.