TL;DR: Please recommend the “Reset Firefox” feature to anyone who complains about odd, persistent performance problems and/or high memory consumption.
In Ars Technica’s article about the Firefox 19 release, carbon fibre made a comment complaining about Firefox’s performance.
Firefox still doesn’t fix memory issues and smoothness, at least on my experience. It’s constant random jerks and extreme mem usage, until restarted. I use chrome but I have been wanting to switch FF for awhile, but I can’t, as long as they fix these issues, long standing issues since ver. 4.
There were four notable responses.
korg250 (my emphasis):
They are losing market share by not fixing the memory issues. Even on my 8GB SSD i5 system I have to restart it when it reaches over 1 GB because it starts to slow down A LOT. And it get over 1 GB very fast for someone who constantly open/close tabs like me (even in safe mode).
I was an avid FF user until I saw myself installing an add-on to restart FF when it reaches X MB of memory usage. Today I use Opera for most of my browsing but I some sites does not work properly with Opera and some extensions only exist on FF.
Do you have extensions installed? Maybe one of them is causing it.
every benchmark I saw, firefox uses less memory than everybody else, I really don’t get why people complain about it?
You might have problems with your profile. Visit about:support, and click on the “Reset Firefox” button in the top right corner. It’ll generated a new profile that preserves much of your browsing history, though it will disable any add-ons you have. (It’ll give you details about exactly what it preserves and discards before doing so, so you can cancel it if you change your mind.) This step fixes a lot of performance problems like the ones you describe.
To summarize the responses:
- Me too! It sucks.
- Are extensions to blame? (A reasonable question, though less likely since Firefox 15 fixed most extension-related leaks, and one that can be difficult to answer conclusively.)
- Is a busted profile to blame? Try “Reset Firefox” to determine if so.
carbon fibre didn’t respond, but korg250 (the “Me too!” commenter) took up the commenting baton…
In my case it is not about memory usage, but how slow it becomes when it reaches 1 GB of usage.
I will try the about:support tip listed before.
Out of curiosity, which version of Firefox are you basing this on?
Because the thing about these “I used Firefox until X got too much for me, and I switched” kind of imply something quite significant, which is “I am no longer using Firefox, and can therefore not speak for the possible improvements that have happened since I switched”.
For the last couple of versions, Firefox has shown extremely good memory usage in my experience. And yes, they were absolutely horrible at this in earlier versions, and I’ve been *that* close to switching a number of times because of it. I’ve ranted a lot about how their memory usage was just so broken I doubted they’d ever be able to fix it. But in my experience, they have.
(And yes, this is 120% subjective, and I am certainly not arguing that if your experience differs then you are wrong. But I have noticed a vast improvement in recent versions. As I recall, the first of these fixes started trickling in around the FF13 timeframe, but I could be wrong on that.)
I think you’ve some other computer issues. Here is my system, 2.4gig firefox process. Still running fine and dandy no slowdown, this is 18 mind you.
I am always in the latest version. Was using 18.0.2 until today. Now I am on the 19 after resetting via about:support (still watching how it goes).
Maybe my installation had something wrong and even after the updates the memory issue remained – I don’t know. But I made the “switch” over the last week, when I compared speed between FF and Opera.
The reset via about:support worked for me. My FF is running smoothly for over 24 hours. Thanks guys!
Many people have used Firefox for years, and so the chance of mysterious profile problems occurring are quite high. “Reset Firefox” cleans that dirty slate. As the support page says, it will “easily fix most problems”. It’s a simple, one-shot process with a high effectiveness rate that can be explained in a single sentence — perfect for mentioning in an online forum. (Indeed, I should have linked to the support page in my comment, and then I could have written less explanation.)
Ideally it would also be tried by anyone who tries switching back to Firefox from another browser. In fact, if Firefox is started up for the first time in a while (3 months? 6 months?) it would be great if it offered to automatically do this.