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Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition by Patrick Killelea

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Browser Tuning Tips

The browser may not typically be a bottleneck, but you probably want to get the best performance out of it that you can. Here are some suggestions, both general and specific to certain browsers.

General Tips

The following sections provide some general tips for getting the most out of your browser.

Upgrade

Try to get the latest nonbeta version of your browser. Newer versions usually include new features like HTTP 1.1 persistent connections to improve performance.

That said, there are some things to be said for the older versions. First of all, beta versions of new browsers often have bugs and performance problems associated with them, while the older nonbeta versions are more stable. Netscape 4.0 beta ran Java especially slowly, but this was fixed in the version that was officially released. You may want to wait until a browser is officially released before trying it.

Second, browsers have been getting fatter very fast. Netscape 3 for Linux takes about 5M of memory when you first start it up, Netscape 4 takes about 8M, and the latest browsers can take 20M or more. As you use them, they both grow through the loading of features and through memory leaks. If you’re memory-constrained, you will get better performance with the older version, especially if it makes the difference between swapping to disk or not.

Do less

You can change your browser’s settings so that the browser does only the minimum necessary to get and show you a page:

  • First, turn off the automatic ...

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