Firefox slow, hitching or freezing? Check your add-ons.

Firefox has been driving me crazy for the last year or two. It’s a great browser. It feels right. It’s add-ons are its killer feature. No other browser has the right set of add-ons and so I’ve never switched. But Firefox has been suffering for a long time and I had no idea what it was until now. I was even relegating Firefox to a few main tasks and using Mozilla Seamonkey (sans add-ons) for miscellaneous surfing.

In two previous posts, I thought I had found the fix for firefox slowing down, hitching and freezing. I was wrong but I was on the right track. My first recommendation was to start a new profile. My second recommendation was to manage some advanced settings. The truth is, none of these are required.

I don’t know why it took me so long but I finally disabled every single add-on I had installed. As you can guess, just like starting a new profile, disabling all the add-ons made Firefox spring back to life. It honestly felt like a whole, fresh new browser. Then, I started enabling a few add-ons at a time. Then wait a day. I tried out the add-ons bit by bit to try to narrow down which one was slowing it down…

And the loser is? Firebug! Even though the latest versions of Firebug say it’s disabled unless you open it, something is going on. For me, Firefox would start out somewhat snappy, then slow down as the day progressed and start suffering horribly as the days passed. I’ve been running with all add-ons enabled except Firebug for the past week and I’m happy to report Firefox is still snappy without a single restart.

I hope this helps someone who, like me, was going mad trying to figure out why Firefox performed so poorly.

In case you’re interested to know which add-ons I use: Clear Cache Button, Remove Cookie(s) for Site, Firebug, Flashblock, Flashbug, Googlepedia, Password Exporter, Define, and a few others I can’t recall at this moment.

I can’t express how nice it feels to have a fresh, responsive firefox, and all except one add-on, back for my regular work and surfing!

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