Fasterfox

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Fasterfox
Fasterfox.jpg
Original author(s) Tony Gentilcore
Developer(s) RsCcman Production
Initial release 2006
Stable release 3.9.85 / January 11, 2014; 15 months ago (2014-01-11)[1]
Development status Re maintained
Written in English
Operating system Currently all
Platform Cross-platform
Available in Czech, German, Finnish, French, Frisian, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Chinese(Simplified), Chinese (Traditional)
Type Mozilla extension
License Private License Agreement.
Website Fasterfox

Fasterfox is a Mozilla Firefox extension that provides an interface for tweaking some performance related settings, such as browser network connection, cache, and timings. The extension also provides an optional controversial feature which forces link prefetching.

The original extension has not been maintained by the original developer Tony Gentilcore since 2007, and is not compatible with Firefox 3.0 or later. However, there are alternative extensions that are compatible with the latest versions of Firefox. As of August 2008, rights to the extension were sold to (Rsccman Production) "Fasterfox", who have implemented support for newer Firefox releases.

Optimizations[edit]

An interface is provided to adjust a range of networks settings.[2] This allows adjusting of:

Prefetching[edit]

With Fasterfox prefetching enabled, the browser will prefetch all links on a page in the background. Subsequently, if (or when) one or more of those links is clicked, only a fraction of the time to load the page will be used, since the page has already been cached; users can disable this option. Fasterfox version 1.0.1 and later checks the robots.txt file on the root folder of servers to see whether or not it should prefetch the page.[3]

Prefetched file types[edit]

When enabled in Fasterfox, Firefox will prefetch all links with the following extensions (it deems other things to be dynamic content by URL):

Forced prefetch controversy[edit]

Forcing link prefetching, or forcing links which are not explicitly specified as able to be prefetched, is a controversial feature, for several reasons (as a result, the preset is disabled):

  • prefetched links that are never subsequently viewed are downloaded
    • with consequences for site statistics
    • which can actually slow down browsing due to cache pollution
    • this additional traffic may cost both webmasters and user additional bandwidth (and therefore money).
    • prefetched advertising might be morally or even legally problematic - see click fraud.
  • some links cannot be cached
    • dynamic content cannot be cached anyway
    • pages can be explicitly marked as not to be cached
  • websites may fail or browsing become annoying
    • unintended side effects when visiting a web site that ascribes actions to links (e.g. exposing a "Cancel" or "Delete" action via a link)
    • users may receive error messages in connection with pages which they are not actually viewing[4]
  • webmasters may block browsers that show signs of robot activity, or simply block browsers with the Fasterfox

Blocking[edit]

As mentioned above, websites can use their robots.txt file to block Fasterfox's user agent from prefetching links to their documents (or to just some of their documents).[3] Many websites do this in order to lower their bandwidth costs and improve responsiveness.[5]

Pop-up blocker[edit]

Fasterfox also blocks pop-ups that appear as a results of Flash plug-ins (movies) and Flash exploits.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fasterfox version history on addons.mozilla.org.
  2. ^ Maybury, Rick (2006-04-03). "Bootcamp 418: Mozilla Firefox top tips". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  3. ^ a b "FasterFox FAQ: I'm a webmaster, how can I prevent prefetching". 
  4. ^ Gibbs, Mark (2006-12-15). "The perils of precaching". Network World. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  5. ^ Newton, Mark (2006-06-29). "Things move on". PC Pro. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 

External links[edit]