Make Firefox Twice as Fast and Much More Stable Easily

A must have extension for all javascript programmers is Firebug. It is my favorite extension in firefox - bar none. I cannot imagine how I managed to work on JavaScript before Firebug. But all this power comes at a price - it is slow. It causes the entire firefox application to be much slower - and sometimes even unstable. Inspite of all these shortcomings, uninstalling Firebug is not an option. A better way of making firefox faster is to create two profiles - one for browsing and another for development.

Once you made this change, the browsing profile - the one without Firebug - will be twice as fast as the other profile.

Others have noticed this speed issue as well - some have abandoned using firefox for casual browsing - opting for thinner browsers like Konqueror or Epiphany - and in extreme cases dillo or lynx. If you are in windows, there is Opera - but that will not come under the 'thin' category. IE? That's neither thin nor a browser. That is NOT an option, OK?

The Two Profile Solution

I am still not prepared to give up on firefox. To speed up firefox, I have made two profiles - Default(for browsing) and WebDev(for, well, Web Development).

That's it - now you have two profiles. Next, install all the necessary web development extensions in the new profile. My picks are...

An easier way

There is an easier method to make all this a bit less tedious. Close all fire and go to the profile folder and copy all files in the Default profile to the folder of the new profile.

Now you have an exact clone of your earlier profile. This saves a lot of time - but be careful when doing it - there is a big chance that something might get messed up.

Using the two Profiles

The default method of opening a profile is too slow for my liking. You have to open the profile manager, then select the profile you want. Not the best way.

If you want a faster way, make a shortcut to the firefox exectable on your desktop. Edit the command for the shortcut and add the arguments -P WebDev.

In windows, you can do this by right clicking on the newly created firefox icon and select properties. Select the 'Shortcut' tab and add the command line arguments at the end of the Target field. It should be something like this...
C:/Program files/Firefox/firefox.exe -P WebDev

Now create another shortcut icon - this time specify the argument as -P Default(or whatever the name of other profiles is).

Give different names for both shortcuts - it is helpful if you use a different icon as well. This is what I used...



The other options are...


I realize most of you will be on windows - so these icons are not exactly your 'type'. Just use your favorite graphics editor to convert it to the ICO format before using it.


That's it - we are done. Double clicking on the WebDev icon will open up firefox using the 'WebDev' profile and the other icon will, well, you get the idea. The point is, there is no Profile Manager in the middle.

When developing, just open up the WebDev profile - at all other times use the Default profile.

Problem with this method

Yes, there is a catch. Data cannot be shared between the two profiles. Passwords saved in one profile will not be available in the other. Other unshared items are...

There is a hack around this issue too. Before starting, this is a risky endeavor. If you have needed data in your profiles, please make a backup before continuing.

Go to the profile folder of WebDev and delete the bookmarks.html file. Then create a shortcut to the bookmarks.html file in the Default profile's folder at this location. Now the bookmarks will be shared between both the profiles.

Create the shortcut just like this for the other items too. In my system, I created shortcuts for the following files/folders...

If you are still on firefox 2, use this list instead...


If anyone else tried this, please let me know how it went for you.

More Info

blog comments powered by Disqus