Firefox Lag

I’ve loved Firefox from the first day I started using it several years ago – tabbed browsing, nearly infinite customizability, and less glitchy than IE. Also, at the time, it was super-lightweight and fast, which was another key point for making the switch away from the Microsoft native browser.

ResourcesUnfortunately, with each successive iteration of Firefox, the browser seems to grow into a bigger and larger beast. I still love Firefox, even though tabbed browsing is now nearly standard across browsers, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s still the most flexible and customizable browser out there right now. What I’m not loving is the way it seems to inflate its consumption of computer resources with each new version. I’ve started noticing how quickly Firefox starts to lag and temporarily hang up on itself after launching it, even on a newer computer with plenty of resources. And when you give your computer the 3-finger salute and check the Processes tab, Firefox is far and away the heaviest consumer.

I’m something of a power-user when it comes to Firefox, too. On any given day, I run with a minimum of 20 tabs open – and that’s just the way I start. I usually go upwards of 30-50 tabs throughout the day during my regular browsing sequences. And I know I’m not even the biggest power user out there – I know of several folks (web designers especially) who run 100-200 tabs and more at any given time. And for every tab you open, that’s more of your computer’s resources that Firefox sucks away.

One other minor gripe – with the upgrade to Firefox, I’ve hit upon more fatal browser crashes and unresponsive script errors than I’m used to seeing with Firefox. If it was just one computer, I’d attribute it to an incompatibility with something on that computer. But I’ve hit this problem with two or three computers now, so it causes me to think that something within Firefox itself is problematic. Of course, it could simply be the fact that Windows itself is buggy and always has been.

I still love Firefox, despite these little problems I’ve pointed out. I’m very loyal to open source software, and Firefox is still far more customizable than just about any other Windows-based browser out there. I would just like to see the developers of Firefox work toward returning it to the light-weight program that it started it as. In that respect, it was a much better browser in its younger days. Of course, maybe light-weight is the trade-off we have to make in order to get more use, functionality, and power out of Firefox. I don’t really know. I just know I’d like to have the best of both worlds.

13 thoughts on “Firefox Lag”

  1. I recently upgraded to the newest release of FF. Ive also noticed the etensive resource hogging although i havent had any crashs as of yet. But i do have to frequently close FF and reopen it. And i cant have as many tabs running as i usually do. Especially on flash websites.

  2. It’s a good program. It’s just becomes a bit of a monstrosity in recent versions. I’m kind of hoping it’ll start to get better again.

  3. Mine takes up a little more space than yours, but I typically only with with about 20 tabs at a time. Thankfully, I’ve experienced very few crashes or lags.

  4. Hey, no problem. I knew what you meant. :) And yeah, I had that plugin installed already. I’d just deactivated it awhile back while trying to sort out a server problem I was having. It’s active again now, though, and allows a 30-minute window for commenters to make edits. :)

  5. You know, Firefox in Ubuntu has almost none of those problems you’ve mentioned. I run it with Beryl/Compiz on my 1.7ghz processor with 512Mb of ram and hardly every lock it up.

  6. Funny, I’m viewing this post in Konqueror right now after googling for solutions to my lag problem in Firefox under Ubuntu 7.10.

  7. Shaun » Yeah, Firefox has gotten pretty bulky lately. I’ve heard that the next major release version is supposed to help alleviate some of the bloat. We’ll see how that goes.

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