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FasterFox puts extra demand on servers

© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

FasterFox is an extension that applies various speed tweaks to Firefox. The most effective of these (from the users point of view) is prefetching of all static links on a page. If you then click on one of those links, it will already be in cache and of course will load very quickly.

While this may be useful in some circumstances, it can suck down a lot of bandwidth for a page with a large number of links. That could be annoying to the user, and it is definitely annoying to the website being visited. If a user with this extension set to its default action visits one of your index pages or any page with a lot of links on it, you get hammered with a lot of page hits, and they aren't necessarily real - the user may never call them out of cache. This affects your servers performance, your log size, and your statistics. It's unimportant for a handful of visitors using this, but if FasterFox becomes ubiquitous, its effect will be quite significant. Not a lot to be done about it without limiting downloads, which is not particularly desirable either.

As this setting is the default, naive users may not even realize how discourteous they are being. If they actually do go look at the settings, they will see that a less obnoxious choice is marked "Courteous", which might give them a clue, but how many will care?

A similar application is Google Web Accelerator

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-> FasterFox puts extra demand on servers


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Sun Jan 6 16:37:16 2008: 3406   Ken

Woah. So if I install Fasterfox and do a google search not only does it download all of the search results but all of the advertisers get hit with a click?

If this catches on, priority one for sites is going to be implementing some kind of detection and rate limiting.

Sun Jan 6 18:02:22 2008: 3408   TonyLawrence

I think not - it said "static links" - probably not pawing through the JS.

Mon Feb 8 12:09:30 2010: 8040   anonymous


for Fasterfox working properly in the new Firefox-versions try (link) instead.
it works faster.

Fri Mar 27 20:06:58 2015: 12631   TonyLawrence


Prefetching is now fairly ubiquitous.


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