I sometimes connect my Nokia N73 mobile phone to my Toshiba notebook to connect to the Internet and do some urgent stuff like checking and replying to mails, writing articles on my websites or doing research. I do not have a flatrate for the mobile phone which means that I had to chose between a time or volume based account. I decided to go for the volume based account which basically means that I'm charged for every Megabyte of data that I transfer in either direction.
Bandwidth is normally not a huge deal on my local computer and I do not pay that much attention to the amount of data that gets transferred which was a huge problem at first when I started using the mobile phone and notebook combination. It's an unusual situation but I managed to adapt quickly.
I went on a quest to optimize firefox for low traffic volumes meaning that everything that was not necessary to grab the information of a website had to go. Here is what I changed:
Turn off Advertisement:
That's a no brainer and I'm also doing that in my regular profile. I use Adblock Plus to disable advertisement on all websites in my mobile profile. That gets rid of banner ads which usually cost about 10 Kilobyte per ad displayed on a website.
Turn off Flash Content:
Blocking Flash content is another must. Sometimes interactive content is added to websites, a video that gets posted, some animation on the entrance page or something like that. Flash Block blocks all of those flash content.
The great thing about all those add-ons described above is that you can add exceptions that do load the content. It is for instance important to add exceptions to websites that require scripts to run properly. It takes a while to fine tune everything but it is definitely worth it.
That's a setting in Firefox and once again exceptions can be added. You find the check box in the Tools > Options menu under the Content tab. If you uncheck Load Images Automatically images will only be loaded on request. A huge bandwidth saver.
Disable Link Prefetching:
Link prefetching is a browser mechanism, which utilizes browser idle time to download or prefetch documents that the user might visit in the near future. Set the parameter network.prefetch-next to false in about:config to disable link prefetching.
Disable Auto Update:
Make sure that Firefox is not trying to automatically update the browser. This has the effect that Firefox is not connecting to Mozilla to find out if a new Firefox version is available and that it won't download that version automatically. Change the parameter App.update.enabled in about:config to false.
Disable Search Updates:
Firefox checks regularly for Search Plugin updates which can be disabled by setting the parameter browser. search. update in about:config to false.
Do you have any additional tips on how to reduce the traffic caused by Firefox ? Let me know about them, looking forward to reduce the traffic even further. I would also be interested in finding out if there are significant differences between the traffic volumes of Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer.
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