How to Travel at a Million Files a Minute

The New York Times has a nice piece on what to do to make your web surfing faster: How to Travel at a Million Files a Minute .  They recommend a faster broadband connection (ideally FTTH), more RAM for your computer, and Firefox and Safari over IE. The NYT has also misspelled tranquility (see below).

TWEAK YOUR BROWSER
Another player involved in Internet speed is the browser you use to navigate the Web. Choosing the right browser has become pretty simple: Most experts recommend Firefox, which you can download free from mozilla.com/firefox.

Firefox’s open-source architecture means it has been tested and tweaked by far more people than proprietary browsers like Internet Explorer from Microsoft. Firefox also uses less of your computer’s memory, freeing it up to handle other tasks. (Microsoft says it will release an upgrade in August that will increase the speed of Explorer.)

But Firefox’s real advantage is its collection of user-generated add-ons. These are small, free modifications to the Firefox browser that can do many things (like change the browser’s appearance, help manage content and integrate third-party search features).

If you’ve ever noticed that a site is slow to load because of graphics-heavy ads, you can install the Adblock plug-in, which eliminates ads from your browser (blocking ads has benefits beyond improving speed — cleanliness and tranquillity [sp] are two that come to mind).

Sites that use a lot of animation (known as Flash animation) can also be slow; Firefox has another plug-in, called Flashblock, that allows you turn the Flash portions of a site on or off. For these reasons, Macintosh users may also want to download Firefox. While Apple’s Safari browser is quick (and far less susceptible to viruses), it does not work with any of these add-ons.

2 Responses to How to Travel at a Million Files a Minute

  1. It’s all very well having a fast browser but if the fundamentals aren’t in place, you will still have to deal with slow speeds. The UK is a minefield when it comes to broadband speeds. I personally have never recieved an advertised connection speed!

    http://www.top10-broadband.co.uk are currently holding awards for all the main brand broadband ISPs. One award is obviously speed related and they are basing the winner on ACTUAL speedtests performed by customers on varying ISPs. Go and check it out:

    Broadband Awardshttp://www.top10-broadband.co.uk/awards/2008

  2. I’d also like to point out that they erroneously referred to extensions as plug-ins; they’re two different things in Firefox.