Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox Web Browser Tweaks2005-10-04 (updated: 2015-04-03) by Philip
Tags: tweak, browser, pipelining, Registry, Internet Explorer, Firefox
Below, you will find browser-specific settings to help speed up your browser, for Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. The settings are generally intended for broadband internet connections, and can noticeably improve your web browsing experience.
Before we get into more browser-specific tuning, it is worth mentioning there are a few general principles that apply to all web browsers, and can help speed up web page loading time and improve your internet browsing experience:
Remove unnecessary add-ons and extensions
Browsers often include a number of unnecessary/unused/distracting add-ons and toolbars that can considerably slow down the browser and increase its memory footprint. Many unrelated programs include optional browser add-ons in their setup that get installed by default, even with staple products like Java and Adobe Flash Player. It is always helpful to review currently installed add-ons/extensions/toolbars, and uninstall/disable all that are unnecessary. Below is a list of locations for the three major browsers:
Internet Explorer: Settings -> Manage add-ons menu
Choose temporary internet files location and size
Using a second hard drive, or even RAM for storing temporary internet files can speed up seek time and page loading, especially for repeat visits to the same pages/site. It can also reduce disk writes and wear to your expensive SSD main drive. Choose something sensible for the size of this cache, under/about 100 Mb seems to work well. Below is a list of the locations under each of the major browsers:
Internet Explorer: Settings -> Internet Options -> Settings button -> Disk Space to Use
Chrome: right-click on the Chrome icon, change the target field (just after ..chrome.exe) add: --disk-cache-dir="z:\ChromeCache" (where "Z:" is the desired drive, and "ChromeCache" is the folder name). By default, Chrome stores temporary files under C:\Users\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache
Internet Explorer Tweaks
According to the HTTP specs, only a limited number of simultaneous connections to web servers are recommended, while loading web pages. With today's broadband connections, it is beneficial to increase the default number of concurrent connections to reduce page loading time. To increase the number of concurrent connections, add the following entries to the Windows Registry (the settings are not present by default in some Windows versions).
Under Windows 9x/ME/2k/XP
Navigate to Start > Run, type: regedit , find the following locations and add the DWORD values:
Internet Explorer under Windows Vista/7/2008 Server, Windows 8/8.1
Click the Windows button, type: regedit, and navigate to:
In addition to explorer.exe, you can also add a 32bit DWORD "iexplore.exe" (according to the MSDN documentation referenced below), and set it to the same corresponding value as "explorer.exe"
When the iexplore.exe settings are not present in the Registry, the default max connections per server may vary, depending on the installed Internet Exlorer version, as follows:
The above parameters, and the web patch in the downloads section of the site work with Internet Explorer versions 4 and above.
Alternatively, to apply the above tweak for Windows 9x/XP/Me/2k, you can download a web patch (sguide_webtweak_2k) from the download section of the website.
While these entries improve web page loading considerably, there is some concern that increasing those parameters much higher over 10 tends to strain webservers more (by increasing bursts of concurrent requests from the same IP), but have no effect on average throughput.
Google Chrome has a number of "experimental" features and tweakable parameters that can be accessed by navigating to: chrome://flags in the browser address bar. Please don't go wild with those, as many of them are really "experimental", and can break functionality. Still, there are a few settings that have been tested and make noticeable difference. In the Chrome address bar, navigate to:
chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area (default is 128, recommended 256) - this defines the maximum amount of RAM (in Megabytes) that Chrome can consume. Increasing this to 256, or even 512 (if you have plenty of memory and live in your browser) will reserve more memory for Chrome, reduce stuttering when scrolling, slow-loading laggy pages, frame drops, etc. This setting also works well under Android, and seems to have the biggest improvement for page loading speed.
This setting is equivalent to the IE tweak above. It allows for more simultaneous connections to web servers. Note that the HTTP specs suggest for 4 concurrent connections. Setting this value to 10 allows for more web page components being downloaded at the same time, noticeably improving browsing. To appy the tweak, follow the simple instructions below:
Note: Setting the number of connections per server to a much higher number (over ~10) can cause web servers to drop some requests, resulting in incomplete pages, increased retransmissions, etc., so it is not recommended.
Reduce Initial Page Delay
By default, Firefox waits 0.25 seconds (250ms) before beginning to draw web pages. To reduce this initial delay, do the following:
Note: This setting is not present by default. When not present, Firefox waits 250 milliseconds before first displaying the page.
Use memory cache
Firefox has the ability to write cached files to RAM instead of the hard disk. This is much faster, and reduces hard disk drive wear. It is especially useful to reduce drive wear if using SSD drives.
To change the cache location to RAM:
Advanced Firefox Settings
Below, you will find settings that may increase your perceived page loading time a bit further. Note that those are most likely best left at the default values. These settings generally do no exist under the Firefox about:config, and need to be created if you'd like to experiment with them.
content.interrupt.parsing - default/recommended is true. When true, parsing can be interrupted to process UI events.