Monday, March 28th 2005

FireTune makes Firefox slower?

I recently heard of FireTune 0.5, a free tweaking utility for Firefox 1.0. I thought it would probably just activate pipelining, but I’d give it a try all the same. It turned out it didn’t touch the pipelining settings, but it altered the number of connections allowed per server (among other things, perhaps).

The program gives you the choice of tuning one particular profile at a time or tuning all profiles in one go:

Screenshot of Firetune v0.5

It then lets you select roughly how fast your computer is, and what type of Internet connection you use. Since my computer is an AMD 64 3200+ and I’m on a 0.5 Mbps DSL connection I thought it suitable to choose “Fast computer / Fast connection”.

However, my testing of loading times for a few major websites shows that FireTune more often than not makes the webpages load more slowly:

Three out of five websites load more slowly after using FireTune

I did the tests using the timer suggested by Total Idea, after inactivating both disk and memory cache before starting (by setting browser.cache.memory.enable and browser.cache.disk.enable to false) I set up two new, identical profiles: one which I tuned, and one which I left with the default Firefox settings. Each webpage in the test was loaded ten times with each profile and an average was calculated.

Now, since I’m not an expert on Firefox’s network settings, I don’t quite understand why the tuned settings are causing longer load times for some of the webpages. If you do – let me know in the comments.

Here are the test data:
OpenOffice format (14.1 kB)
Excel format (12.0 kB).

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