Introduction: How to Make Firefox the Most Useful Web Browser There Is

Picture of How to Make Firefox the Most Useful Web Browser There Is

If you are already not convinced that firefox is better than everything out there, here are a few tips and tweaks that will make you want to switch. If you are using firefox, maybe you still didn't know about these.

Step 1: Getting Firefox

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Just download and install firefox... Works with just about every operating system there is... But don't get the beta, there aren't as many themes and plugins for those

Step 2: Speed 'er Up!

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Do this if you have high speed internet, it won't work as well if you are using dial-up.

In the address bar, type in about:config

Once you are there, in the filter bar, type in pipe. You will come out with 3 results, network.http.pipelining

The first and the third should normally be set to false, and the middle one should say 2.

Double click the first and last one to set them to true, and double click the middle one to set it to 20 or 30. Try each out or even different numbers and post your results, because i did not really notice a different between 20 and 30, but then again I have satellite internet.

That 20 means it will make 20 requests at once, now you know why this is only for people with fast internet.

Step 3: Still Movin' Fast!

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Now, right-click anywhere in the window, select new, then select integer. Name it nglayout.initialpaint.delay and set the value to 0. This is the delay to open a web page.


Now, to give firefox more memory, make a new integer, name it browser.cache.memory.capacity and depending on how much memory you have, give it anywhere above 8 megabytes. To do that, set the integer anywhere above 8,192. It's in kilobytes... I have mine set to 90,000 which is i guess around 90 megabytes...

Firefox seemed to respond faster after doing this...

Step 5: Adding the Themes

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Depending on what operating system you are using, there are different themes to make it match, but of course most people like firefox to look unique, so it does not have to match your os. Mine looks almost like safari.

To add a theme go to tools, select addons, go to the themes tab, and you will find a little link that says "Get Themes" You can browse around the themes, then just install one. If you like the way mine looks, it is "iSafari". You can search for it.Once it is installed, Go to the theme tab again, select Use Theme, then go back to the install tab and select restart firefox.

Step 6: Adding Addons

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Go to the tools menu again, select add-ons, and then go to the extensions tab of the window this time. Select "Get Extensions" And browse around. Install them the same way you install themes.

Here is a list of my favorites:
Meebo-Instant messenger without having to download anything... works with aim, google talk, msn, and a bunch more
BugMeNot-If you have to log in to something, for instance the New York Times to view an article, right-click, select BugMeNot, and it will log in for you with an already registered name.
DownThemAll-Massive Downloader...
Flagfox-Shows location of a site's server
Forcastfox-Weather in firefox
Remove It Permanently-Remove ads from a website, so whenever you go back *kapoof* no ads!

Look at the picture below to see how well Flagfox works...

Step 7: Adding Search Engines

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Now, if you noticed, there is a little search bar in the upper right hand corner of firefox. There should be a small G in it, the google symbol. Click on it, and you will get a list of search engines. To add a search engine, click on the G, select manage search engines, and the click "Get More Search Engines" You can then install the search engines from there.

But, let's say you want a search engine that is not on the list, like an instructables search engine. Go to, type in the name of the site, in this case instructables, select it from the list, and press add when prompted.

Step 8: Done

Ok, you're done! Now, post anything else you know about firefox, such as other ways to make it faster, cool themes, cool extensions, or just overall tweaks here for everyone to try out.


plznothanks (author)2011-05-17
Wesfletch (author)2011-02-27

To tell the truth, Firefox isn't necessarily the BEST. I find that Google Chrome is faster for everyday surfing, while Firefox has much faster flash capabilities. Firefox is also more customizable, but, the "best" really depends on your needs. I personally swap back and forth between the 2. (author)Wesfletch2011-03-17

Yes, I agree, but I also understand that chrome runs YouTube very well, it is created by the owners, and YouTube is the only flash I use.

Wesfletch (author)jj.inc2011-03-19

Ah well, I'm young and quite addicted to flash games. I find that chromes just a bit laggy with anything too graphic intensive. (author)Wesfletch2011-03-19

O, maybe I should try firefox with the powder game and falling sand, I do play those and they really lag.

Wesfletch (author)jj.inc2011-03-19

Yeah, a good game I use to test speed is Dust on NotDoppler. It requires very good flash, and lag is obvious. (author)Wesfletch2011-03-19

Thanks, I never realized that my browser could be the lager, now those games run much better, I guess I will have to keep Firefox even though I only use it for one thing.

Woogaus (author)2010-09-28

I'm running version 3.6.10 Firefox and when I clicked on the tab it automatically had Instructables listed, all I had to do was acknowledge it. I haven't tried it with any other sites yet.

Wesfletch (author)Woogaus2011-03-19

The Beta version of Firefox 4 is available, and it did much better, it actually went back to original, found my most visited, and automatically made them bookmarks, without me importing old info. (author)Woogaus2011-03-17

Chrome does the same thing, I type In and then I just hit enter, I don't even have to click the down arrow or the actual drop down, it just auto goes in unlike any other browser.

Woogaus (author)2011-03-17

When I typed in about:config, I got a lot more than 3 or 4, haven't counted them, but I would say close to 1000 lines.

Lftndbt (author)2008-03-07


Internet explorer > Firefox >>> OPERA

Nice Instructable though... ;) (author)Lftndbt2011-03-17

Just so you know, You need to swap > to < unless OPERA sucks 4 times worse than IE.

xACIDITYx (author)Lftndbt2008-04-06


IE<Opera< =Firefox!!!=

heyzuphowsitgoin (author)Lftndbt2008-03-07

thanks I;'ll try opera out! thanks for the advice :p

erikals (author)2010-02-26

there's an extension I use called Net Usage Item. It takes an XML feed from your ISP's data usage page and shows it in a handy bar in your tool bar.

ampaxx (author)2009-05-27

a nice add on, if you use gmail, is gspace. it allows you to easily store files using the storage space in your gmail

xACIDITYx (author)2009-03-16

Erm... placing IE above firefox... epic fail.

Gamer917 (author)xACIDITYx2009-03-24

sorry, i messed up, i deleted that

xACIDITYx (author)Gamer9172009-03-25

Ah, I see.

I think you two are looking at it different ways. Nonetheless, Firefox still seems to be best, although chrome is catching up. If any of you use a mac, try out Sunrise. Fastest browser ever. Unfortunately, it has no add ons and is very basic.

john 621 (author)2009-02-24

will tweak work with firefox 3.0.6 ? cant get past step #4 or this info does,nt applie i reset verything back to there defaults

camel flag (author)2008-11-18

because u have a proxy on chalky

Dms12444 (author)2008-10-19

Thanks, I am using firefox right now (although I have been for 4 years now) and i just made it better. ps:seriously nice job, In my opinion though I do like Opera web browser as well.

chalky (author)2008-09-27

in the "speed her up" category of your instructable you said they were only three options but i have four so what gives??

dariel24 (author)chalky2008-10-06

yeah i have 4 options too, just modify the:
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests---20 or 30

and ignore the fourth, or in mine it says

chalky (author)dariel242008-10-07

network.http.pipelining.ssl is the third option in my pipe config??
see enclosed clip i have already changed it from false to true,so should i change it back??
thanks in advance

dariel24 (author)chalky2008-10-07

i also dont know. well if your firefox is still working i dont think you need to change it back... even if you ignore it (back to false) firefox still runs very fast. you decide.

chalky (author)chalky2008-09-27

PS/firefox roxxxxxs

dariel24 (author)2008-08-14

from years ago.....
and now my firefox is even BETTER
thanks for the GREAT instructibles
ps, i rate this instructibles with 5 star :-P

LemonyPotatoes (author)2008-07-26

FIREFOX ROX! Anyways, I knew about the pipelining, but not the rest.

nomax (author)2008-06-04

I recommend the add-on fast-dial, you can have your favoured websites as thumbnails for faster access (like in opera):

hotrodlincoln (author)2008-05-15

Holy crap, I have had Firefox for ever, and didn't know you could speed it up. Just tried it, and its like moving from dial up to hi speed all over again. This thing is on some serious speed now. Thanks!

martymunch (author)2008-05-15

I just got a new Mac and started using Firefox (about two weeks ago) after someone else had recommended it. Good ideas, I did steps two through five and there is a definite noticeable difference. Thanks!

enza99 (author)2008-04-26

"This sets the maximum number of requests that can be sent to a server via pipelining before anything is sent back to the browser. You can choose between 1 to 8."
Making Firefox faster: editing your about:config

enza99 (author)enza992008-04-26

forgot to say thats for network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
btw i was looking for this i havnt seen it on here yet =P

shammallamaman (author)2008-04-25

Fasterfox makes firefox soo much better, and sorry to tell you but Opera sucks, it goes

tjsdaname (author)2008-04-19

safari is also good for windows...... but firefox rules!!!!

Monkey T. (author)2008-04-18

Okay, another add-on i tottally LOVE! is yoono, try it!

Monkey T. (author)2008-04-17

never mind, whoops

Monkey T. (author)2008-04-17

my firefox doesn't have any different themes, how to i get them, r they free?

chuckr44 (author)2008-03-07

I also use Infolister to list all my add-ons and their versions. Very handy as I can save the output then post into a forum if you are having browser problems.

chuckr44 (author)2008-03-07

I use Adblock to block regular and flash ads in Firefox. It works great.

onlyonebowman (author)2008-03-06

sorry to say but themes slow it down alot

really? i didn't notice that i wouldnt think they would noticibly slow it down becasue they are all made for firefox... ill keep that in mind thanks

whatsisface (author)2008-03-06

I'm rockin 20 add ons and alternating between 3 themes =]

crestind (author)2008-03-05

This is a great guide! +

thanks! glad you like it

rimar2000 (author)2008-03-05

YES, Firefox (3.0 b3) is more fast after this procedure. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

thanks... and no prob!

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