Talking tech since 2003

It’s no secret that Firefox extensions can potentially cause Firefox to become slower and less responsive during the course of using it throughout the day. What some people may not realize is that too many extensions can actually cause web pages to load much slower than they otherwise should. I recently downloaded the Opera 10 Beta to test it out and noticed that my site (as well as many others) loaded much faster in Opera 10 Beta and Safari 4 then it did in Firefox (3.0.11). Of course, the question that came into my mind was “why?”. Why are these browsers loading and rendering pages so much faster? Is it the newer rendering engines implemented in the latest releases or could it possibly be something else as well?

I should also note that I have been questioning why the main site seemed so much slower than the forums. While I was able to make a bit faster by removing some unnecessary code it just didn’t seem to load as fast as it should, especially, with the new server.

Over the years, I have accumulated a number of Firefox extensions. After all, extensions are one of the key reasons many people love Firefox. What I did not realize though is actually how many of these extensions I had installed. I had a little over 30 extensions installed in Firefox. I didn’t even realize, I guess they just kept piling up. After going through a number of the extensions I rarely use and either disabling and/or completely uninstalling them I proceeded to download and install Firefox 3.5 Beta 4.

After launching the new beta of Firefox (only to find out even more extensions would have to be disabled) I started to experiment again. I loaded up my website and various others in all three browser and surfed around each site a bit within each browser. The results? Nearly identical. All three browsers were now on essentially the same playing field. I did notice that Opera 10 Beta and Safari 4 were able to render javascript a bit faster than Firefox 3.5 Beta, though. I will have to compare them again once the final version of 3.5 is released.

The bottom line here is that if you are a Firefox user and use extensions, you may want to consider going through and disabling the ones you do not use often and uninstalling ones you do not want or use anymore. I guarantee it will make your browser experience a better one.

Just so everyone knows I currently only have 7 active Firefox extensions.

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