Once upon a time there was an Add-on for Firefox called Fasterfox. It was designed to optimise various settings that could improve browsing speed and performance in Firefox, and for a while it worked really well. Then, in 2006, development dried up and it gradually got left behind as updates to Firefox introduced compatibility issues.
Now the baton has been picked up by two different developers. This version of the Fasterfox plugin remains faithful to the original, and keeps the Enhanced Prefetching feature intact. This basically examines all the links on the currently loaded page, and then downloads those pages automatically in the background as you read the original. Click on a link and the page loads instantly.
It’s a feature that divides opinion: it undoubtedly helps to speed up browsing on the one hand, but on the other, it ends up downloading far more content than you’re likely to read, wasting bandwidth and putting extra pressure on web servers. Fasterfox wisely disables this option by default.
The plug-in gives you five basic options: by default, custom is selected, giving you access to the full gamut of tweaks, but most users should choose one of the four presets: Default (Firefox’s original settings), Courteous, Optimized and Turbo-Charged. Select any of these, and most of the tabs disappear, leaving just Fasterfox (with the Enhanced Prefetching options) available.
Will it make a difference? Most users think so, but some have claimed it can actually slow down browsing – and if you’re on a capped or mobile broadband package, enabling the Enhanced Prefetch feature is definitely not advised. With that in mind, you might like to look at a rival package – Fasterfox Lite [/article/21160-fasterfox_lite] instead.
Tweak your browser settings and potentially speed up Firefox’s performance where it really counts.