Firefox is the best browser around right now, with a large open-source community behind it. Firefox maybe the best in terms of features and flexibility, but all of this comes at a price. Firefox is a resource hog. Firefox 3 has been a lot better at managing resources, yet it has high memory usage, and occasionally, CPU usage hit 100% and the system hangs. It can take up 140 MB of RAM when multiple tabs are open.
There are many reasons for Firefox hanging and/or using excessive memory. Plugins and extensions, which are not part of the default Firefox install may cause this. Poorly optimized sites which load several images and ads may cause this. These are inevitable.
Before mentioning the tips, let me say that upgrading to Firefox 3 is absolutely essential. Firefox 2 was notorious for poor resource and memory management, and Firefox 3 has improved in that aspect a lot. The tips mentioned here are for Firefox 3 (but will work for Firefox 2 too).
- Disable Java:
Disable the Java plugin, by going to Tools>Options>Content tab> uncheck Enable Java. Most sites do not use Java. So, you end up wasting CPU resources for a plugin(yes, it is sorta plugin) that you do not use.
- Update Flash:
Visit Adobe Flash page and update Flash to the latest version. This helps you to get any performance improvements/bug fixes for the Firefox plugin for Flash, which can often reduce a lot of problems.
If updating Flash plugin does not help, install Flashblock extension. You will see a play button instead of the Flash content. When you want to play something, click the play button.
- Disable problematic extensions:
Cut down on the number of extensions used. More specifically, try to remove those extensions which access internet to update information for each site(Alexa toolbar, PR tools, StumbleUpon toolbar etc.). This is because such extensions often hang up Firefox while they look up the information online.ADVERTISEMENT
Also, refer to this list of problematic extensions.
The fact is, these little things can be the difference between a crashing browser and a perfectly-working one.