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5 Tips To Reduce Firefox Memory and Cache Usage

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Personal Tech . How To . Tips . Web. Development

5 Tips To Reduce Firefox Memory and Cache

Sometimes I just feel that Firefox is such a memory hog. Once I start to open
up a few extra tabs, it starts to slow down my whole system. Fortunately, you
can do something about it. Here are simple tips and tricks to reduce firefox
memory and cache consumption.

Tip 1: Reduce session history

browser.sessionhistory.max_entries determines the maximum number of pages in the browsers session
history, i.e. the maximum number of URLs you can traverse purely through the Back/Forward buttons. The
Default value is 50. We usually wont surf more than 5 of the websites we previously surfed before, and there
is really no need to store more than that in the session which can clog up memory as they grow.
1. Open Firefox
2. Type about:config in the Firefox address bar
3. Press CTRL-F and search for browser.sessionhistory.max_entries
4. Double click on the value 50 (or whatever value is there currently) and change it to something lower such
as 5.
5. Restart Firefox.
For Firefox 1.5 and above, you can also look at another configuration variable browser. sessionhistory.
max_total_viewers which also determines the maximum number of content viewers to cache for bfcache
(fast back/forward navigation). Default value is -1 (calculate based on available memory).
Set it to 0 so that no pages will be stored in memory.
set it to a number such as 5 to store only 5 pages in memory.
more info here
Tip 2: Reduce memory usage when minimize
1. Start up Firefox

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2. Type in about:config in the address bar and hit Enter

3. Right click and choose New > Boolean
4. Type config.trim_on_minimize in the pop-up box and hit Enter
5. Select True and hit Enter.
6. Restart Firefox
Tip 3: Fixed cache capacity OR Disable Cache Totally
Every time new page is loaded, Firefox will cache the page so it doesnt need to load again to be
redisplayed. By default, this setting is set to -1 for browser.cache.memory.capacity and to a number you
specified in Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network / Cache for browser.cache.disk.capacity


Note: browser.cache.memory.enable and browser.cache.disk.enable needs to be True for this to work
1. Start up Firefox
2. Type about:config in the address bar and hit Enter
3. Search for browser.cache.memory.capacity and set a number in KB to use for the memory cache (ie.
1024KB = 1MB).
4. Search for browser.cache.disk.capacity and set a number in KB to use for the disk cache (ie. 1024KB =


Set both browser.cache.memory.capacity and browser.cache.disk.capacity to 0.

Alternatively, you can also set browser.cache.disk.enable and browser.cache.memory.enable to False.
Tip 4: Use less extension and themes
This is really a no brainer. Uninstall all firefox extensions and themes that you dont use as they can cause
Firefox to use more RAM. If you think that you might still need the extension in future but not using it
currently, at least theres an option to Disable it. Use only extensions that you usually use to cut down
memory usage.
Always upgrade your extensions and themes to the latest version as they may fix the some problems leading
to memory leaks. Firefox makes this quit easy as it now does the checking for you, all you need is to do is
tick some checkboxes and your plugins and themes wil be updated.
Tip 5: Check Firefox Memory Usage
Type about:cache?device=memory in the address bar and hit Enter. Firefox will display your current
number of entries, maximum storage size, storage in use and inactive storage.
There you have it. Happy browsing!

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on April 24, 2008 at 5:16 am said:

Or you could always use Firefox 3 Beta 5

Abhishek Ravi
on April 27, 2008 at 3:20 am said:

Thanks a lot mate, that certainly helped me a great deal. I am a

victim of firefox eating a huge part of my ram (probably because of
the number of tabs open} but the above steps have certainly
reduced ram usage by firefox a great deal.

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on May 5, 2009 at 6:20 am said:

All great, except I have a MP3 flash based player and I want to
cache all my songs so they are not re-downloaded all the time. I
usually set the cache to 2GBytes.

on May 5, 2009 at 6:29 am said:

If youre good with firefox extensions, you can use Firebug > NET
panel and tell where those MP3 are downloaded from. All you
need to do is then copy the link location and save the file directly.

on February 28, 2010 at 12:36 am said:

grrr.. why does it take so much memory. thanks for the post

on March 20, 2010 at 8:17 am said:

Tip 2 has me a bit baffled. You wrote:

2. Type in about:config in the address bar and hit Enter
3. Right click and choose New > Boolean
Right click on what?

on March 20, 2010 at 8:31 am said:

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Right click on any row under Preference Name

on March 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm said:

Thanks David!

on March 20, 2010 at 11:39 pm said:

Glad that it helped

on March 21, 2010 at 6:07 am said:

This is excellent: comprehensive, well explained.

Thank you very much

darryl siemer
on April 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm said:

Thanks much did you write Firefox for dummies?

on May 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm said:

hi i know this may sound stupid, but how much memory cache
should i let firefox use?
i have 8gb of ddr 2 800 installed and right now i have that setting
set to

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disk.cache.memory.capacity integer 131072

on May 17, 2010 at 7:46 am said:

Not sure, Simon. I have a 8gb machine here too and i

hardly find any need to do these tweaks anymore. These
tweaks are useful for older or slower machine. Sounds like
youre having a fairly new computer there, is firefox still
slow even with 8gb of ram?
Have you tried Chrome or Opera?

Simon Joshi
on May 17, 2010 at 9:34 am said:

i only ask because i use a ssd

on May 17, 2010 at 10:36 am said:

what? a ssd is even faster, right? im only using a standard sata ide lol

on May 17, 2010 at 9:57 am said:

I ask because I use a solid state drive, and they recommend that firefox write cache to your ram instead
of your hdd to not wear down the drive

on May 17, 2010 at 10:46 am said:

May I know where did you hear that (wearing

down your ssd hd) from? All hard disk are
meant to have stuffs read/write from/to it and

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SSD can handle that way better then normal

sata ide hd.

on May 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm said:

true, but ssds write data can wear down making the ssd slower
than that of a standard HD, heres the link (its pretty well known)

on May 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm said:

I did this and it definitely helped with memory usage, but I found I
lost my home pages. Is that just collateral damage I have to accept,
or is there a way to do this and still set a couple of tabs to open
every time I use Firefox?

on May 24, 2010 at 2:57 am said:

Jeane, what do you mean by set a couple of tabs to open

every time I use Firefox?
1. as in reopen the tabs from your last browsing session before you close firefox?
2. open a number of predefined tabs each time firefox

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on January 27, 2011 at 11:02 am said:

with the about:cace?device=memory what should the numbers

read if the settings are right. For instance, my storage in use
reads 4194304 KiB. Seems like its still hogging.

Eric Cox
on March 31, 2011 at 5:22 pm said:

WOW this site is annoying. It highlights your Google search terms,

so when you got here by searching for a word that appears alot, it
makes it impossible to read. Bleh!

on April 1, 2011 at 11:23 am said:

Point taken, the plugin doing the highlighting has now been
disabled. Thanks for letting me know

on June 10, 2012 at 9:28 am said:

Right click and choose New > Boolean

Right Click WHAT????

on May 10, 2014 at 5:20 pm said:

this is a good round up of the mish mash of tweaks to reduce FF

usage I am trying Aurora at the moment, so will see if it helps as
it is hogging > 270mb of mem continuously, no matter how many

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tabs I have open it seems. a couple of points

I would recommend trying sessionmanager add-in if people are
like me and like to use FF to keep pages to go back to. pages can
be stored in a diff. session and reloaded later that way
browser.cache.disk.capacity in FF manual states it is for
caching to hard disk I think this is not relevant to memory saving?

MirazMac.Info | Miraz Mac

on June 24, 2015 at 5:58 pm said:

Thanks bro. At last i got rid of this memory hog

on June 25, 2015 at 12:21 am said:

No problem, glad it helped.

Anyway, I rarely use firefox these days and have chosen
Google Chrome as my default browser. Maybe you can give
Chrome a try?

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