I know that many people will be offended by this post, but I know that I am not the only one having so many troubles with Firefox. For years Firefox was getting worse with every new version.  Before you start throwing rocks at me, please read the post to find out why I hate Firefox, and why they need to release 64bit version, yesterday.

Long time ago, there were only few browsers available, most of them (except for Opera) were pretty bad. But then, we got a great browser called Firefox. And soon after that we got another tool, more important than any other tool for web development. This tool was extension for Firefox, and it’s called Firebug. And while we had Firefox 1.0, and Firefox 1.5 everything was fine. But then, they made Firefox 2.0. And if it wasn’t for Firebug, that was the point I wanted to delete Firefox and never use it again.

It was slow, used too much memory, and was unable to handle many open tabs for a long periods of time. They were releasing updates left and right, but nothing really changed. The things were made worse once the 64bit Windows was used more and more. I started using 64bit XP few years ago and using Firefox was simply frustrating. And in that time I started using Opera as a main browser because everything was much better than Firefox. Except one thing. Opera had nothing like Firebug was. And I had to use Firefox still… Yes, I know, there are many new features added over the years, but with all that there are many more new problems.

Good thing was that I wasn’t the only one with these problems, and some people released 64bit version of Firefox. Most extensions were not working, but it was still much better than regular Firefox. Another good thing was that after some time, Mozilla finally admitted that memory management in Firefox is bad and that they will fix that in Firefox 3.

Guess what? They didn’t. On Vista x64 Firefox 3 is slower than IE7 or now IE8, takes forever to load and crashes regularly very, very often. To make things worse, Firebug was causing as many problems as Firefox on it’s own was. Endless alpha/beta version, problems and crashes, but still nothing comes close to Firebug. Or so it looked like. But all other major browsers were on the rise, and things were changing for better.

Opera released first preview version of Dragonfly development tool that over time has grown, and it can do almost everything Firebug can. Major problem with Dragonfly is that it looks differently from Firebug, so it will take some time getting used to. Take into account that Opera is extremely stable  browser. On my desktop machine that’s working without restart for more than 20 days now, Opera 9.64 is running from the moment Vista booted (yeas, it’s running 20 days without problems), without restart, with 10-20 tabs opened at all times, and uses some 200MB for all that tabs. On laptop I use Opera 10 Beta 2 and things are also very smooth considering that’s still in beta stages. At this moment I have 34 tabs (I am not kidding, working on few projects right now, researching and testing) opened in Opera 10 with Dragonfly active and it uses 270MB. Good luck trying to open 34 tabs in Firefox (2, 3, 3.5) and let it run for a few hours. I tried that my self (with same 34 urls opened in Opera) with both 3 and 3.5, and it crashed after 21 tabs on 3 and 28 tabs on 3.5. FF3.5 in the moment it crashed used 730MB. Browser closed and the firefox.exe process still remained running taking full CPU load and I had to kill it using task manager.

Google Chrome browser also has development tools, but they are still not very usable, but that will change. Chrome is also very stable browser and it doesn’t cause problems. Many people I know have switched to Chrome as a major browser.

But the real frustration is trying to debug something with Firebug either with FF3 or FF3.5. In the past 4-5 hours I FF crashed 25 times! It works with a single tab (debugging some things in WordPress and jQuery), but still I hit reload few times, and everything stops. I close it, but even the window is gone, FF process is still working, eating a lot of memory. And I have only Firebug extension installed, nothing more. Many people told me to disable extensions if Firefox is causing troubles. But disable all extensions, and what you get? What’s the point of Firefox without extensions. Many things you need them for, you already have built in Opera. And on Firefox I use ONLY Firebug, nothing more. If I disable Firebug, I don’t need Firefox anymore. And Firebug is the last reason I have Firefox installed at all.

My best guess is that most of the problems Firefox has are caused by the fact that it’s not working well with 64bit operating systems. And that’s used as a excuse a lot. But that’s not right, because Opera and Chrome are 32bit programs running under 64bit, and they work fine. Also, 90% of all programs still have only 32bit versions and rarely they have problems. And for Mozilla finding excuses simply is not an option since they want to rule the browsers market. They were announcing 64bit version when 3.0 was announced. Nothing. Again with 3.5 another announcement for 64bit version. And, again nothing. But, if the 32bit version was written as it should, they wouldn’t need 64bit version.

Get a faster browser, download Opera

I know that many people are using Firefox just fine. They need 2-3 tabs opened, they are not developers and they don’t need browser to run all days, for days. But I need, and most of the developers do. So, there you have it, I really, really hate Firefox.

Go download Opera and give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Rating: 2.3. From 2 votes. Show votes.
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About the author

MillaN
MillaN
Dev4Press owner and lead developer

Programmer since the age of 12 and now WordPress developer with more than 8 years of WordPress experience, author of more than 100 plugins and more than 20 themes.

20 Comments

  1. shakaran says:

    I use FF 3.5.2 on Ubuntu and it also is slower. But Opera isnt Open Source, so I never use it.

    I wait better releases, it is my hope.

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  2. Robert Puglisi says:

    I concur. Firefox began “hanging’ on my iMac 64 with 3.0.10 and is in perpetual hang with 3.5.2. I now use Opera, Safari and Camino. Best feature of Camino is that I can copy and paste text and images into my emails. Firefox is a dead issue for me now. Safari is slower than Camino and Opera. Opera is fastest by far.

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  3. I saw this “FireFox going to Ashes” phenomenon too. I had started with FireFox 1.x in those days and with every new release, I could see the change. With time, FireFox got slower and slower.

    With 15 add-ons, I complained less as I knew not whom to blame!

    However, the fact that FireFox is regularly crashing on many JavaScript heavy websites (jQuery in particular) and that too many tabs (more than 10) are causing it to freeze, is more than enough for me to have switched to Chrome as my primary browser.

    It is simply unbelievable to see Chrome start in under a seccond under heavy system load, whereas loading FireFox even after having it in memory takes over 5 seconds!

    I have my office desktop, two laptops, home desktop … everywhere it is the same story.

    Take it as a warning bell Mozilla Corp.

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  4. MillaN says:

    At this point Chrome and Opera are miles ahead of Firefox. On my AMD Phenom 4xCore with 8GB RAM, Chrome opens in under 0.3 seconds, Opera need 0.5 seconds, IE8 is at 1.2 second, and Firefox 3.5.1 on 4.6 seconds (Firefox 3.0 needs more then 7 seconds). And on my laptop (Intel CoreDuo with 4GB RAM), differences are even bigger. Also, Firebug contributes to most of the JavaScript related crashes in FF3 and FF3.5 in my experience.

    The only 2 reasons for Firefox to be ahead in terms of use is the Firefox hype that’s obviously still strong and not so good marketing for Chrome and Opera.

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  5. Leila says:

    I dropped Firefox the day Google Chrome came out. Google Chrome let me move a tab from a Window to other, a very useful feature when you work with two monitors.

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  6. Stefan says:

    I’m experiencing the same problems as i’m also using FF on Xp64. There are so many memory leaks since v2.0 that i every day think about switching back to my beloved Opera.

    Actually, i don’t think the Dev team at Mozilla cares about any of that problems as they just appear on rarely used systems. But i don’t think it’s such a problem to exit FF correctly if you hit the big [X]..

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  7. MillaN says:

    Unfortunately for Mozilla developers 64bit OS systems are used much more everyday, and Firefox is the only browser that I know about right now that’s not working as it should on 64bit OS.

    Also, Firefox 3.5 behaves very strangely depending on extensions installed. I managed to remove many thing, reinstall browser until made it work stable enough to work for a while. But that’s not good enough. Mozilla must take stability problem seriously.

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  8. sambit says:

    you should consider trying safari..

    and you should certainly consider a mac OS and not windows 64bit!!!
    (notice how is said mac OS and not apple computer 😉

    im using the new ubuntu on my laptop and firefox 3.5 is worse than 3.0 in terms of performance…

    but since you like faster/more stable browsers.. in my experience safari 4 is nicer than chrome

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  9. MillaN says:

    Safari 4 on Windows isn’t nearly as fast as Opera and Chrome are, but it’s a stable browsers. Unfortunately, Mac is not an options for me.

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  10. I’m surprised to read this. I am the heaviest tab user of anyone I have ever met. I usually run 30-50 tabs or more for months at a time, in BOTH Google Chrome and Firefox 3 (now 3.5). So I usually have almost 100 tabs open on my system altogether.

    Firefox hasn’t crashed on me in years! And I run about 10 Addons including Firebug. Maybe the difference is that I run rock solid Windows 2000 instead of breakneck 64bit OS?

    Google Chrome is good but its unique “seperate process per tab” model results in a massive increase in memory usage. Firefox uses 300-500MB RAM on my system with all those tabs, Google Chrome will hit 1GB+.

    Chrome has crashed on me only a few times but it’s not even supported officially on Windows 2000 so I don’t complain.

    If you guys are getting Firefox crashes with no add-ons (or just Firebug) then you have something seriously wrong. I would lean towards the 64 bit.

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  11. Daniel says:

    You can do the same with Firefox 3.5

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  12. Paul D says:

    I run FF on XP64 and I hate it. For several years FF has been getting worse in terms of stability and speed, and the Mozilla folks do not seem to care. Each version (I am now on 3.5) keeps whatever problems were in the previous release and then piles on some new problem.

    Of late trying to load FaceBook is unbearably slow, and while FB may have its problems, this is not their fault. Opera loads the identical FB pages in seconds or less whereas FF can take minutes, yes minutes, to load, for example, my Inbox. WTF?

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  13. MillaN says:

    Exactly right. FaceBook is great example. And all similar, JavaScript heavy websites, are mostly unusable on FF under x64 OS.

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  14. Lerato says:

    I can only use Fire fox browser on my PC….. And I hate it!!!! It always crashes…. I tried downloading Chrome, But it won’t work on my computer…..

    I hate firefox…..!!!

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  15. JB says:

    I finally got fed up with Mozilla Firefox. It is such a waste of time. The browser crashes all the time, the movies are jumpy and it never seems to fully stream so that movies are watchable and it’s getting worse. They even embed Bing in my personal email. After that, I said forget it. I was already using Safari to watch movies and it’s pretty good. So I’m shopping for a better browser, because I took all things pertaining to Mozilla Firefox off my computer. At this point, I pretty much hate the program.

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  16. Mark says:

    Yea, This one’s bad

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  17. Misha says:

    Bejeezus! Firefox is officially the worst among the top-tier browsers. It loads ridiculously slow, it hangs ever so frequently, and it crashes all the time. I’ve been patient with them, but even Aurora sucks major. It’s obvious now that the developers do not have the ability to improve on Firefox – at least not for the foreseeable future. I’m going back to IE.

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  18. i agree i wanted to throw rock at the one who make firefox
    ant they will go to the shadows of hell

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