Optimize Firefox Databases With Vacuum Places

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 22, 2009
Updated • Feb 14, 2015

The Firefox development team made the decision to switch to SQlite databases for data storage in Firefox 3.

While the move worked without issues for the most part, some users of the browser noticed that the size of the browser's profile folder increased significantly over time.

There was no option to optimize the SQlite database regularly, something that is called vacuuming, which resulted in the database file growing bigger and bigger.Back when Firefox 3 came out first we published a solution for the issue (read: optimize sqlite databases in Firefox) which involved running a batch file in the Firefox profile directory to optimize databases and reduce the overall size of the Firefox profile folder.
The process can best be described as defragmenting the database to close gaps that contain no data which in turn frees up disk space.

The Firefox add-on Vacuum Places improves this process by providing options to run database optimizations right from within Firefox.

The experimental add-on optimizes SQLite databases of the active Firefox profile whenever its button in the Firefox status bar is clicked on.

The database size reduction depends largely on the amount of data in the database, the time it has been in use and the last cleanup. A run on a test system (using the batch file) reduced the size of the profile folder from 64.8 Megabytes to 53.4 Megabytes.

Vacuum Places can be downloaded from the official Mozilla Firefox website. It is advised to create a backup of the Firefox profile folder before running it for the first time.

Update: Vacuum Places is not compatible with recent versions of the Firefox web browser. We suggest you use an alternative instead. One extension that you may want to try is Places Maintenance.

It works similar for the most part but offers several additional options that you may find interesting. This includes stats generation for example so that you know what it did in detail.


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  1. Agagooga said on February 23, 2017 at 4:35 am

    It looks like since Bug 512854 – VACUUM places.sqlite database on daily idle once a month was fixed, this sort of addon is no longer needed

  2. Mony said on September 24, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Firefox is the house of many add ons and many people utilize more of its add ons . Hence it is essential to improve the efficiency and your solution is at the best.

  3. Bernd said on August 25, 2009 at 7:46 am

    for those getting the exception error: it only works with firefox 3.1, NOT 3.0

  4. TLM said on August 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Vacuum Places Improved is in english an has a few options more (and they are actually implemented).

  5. joe said on August 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    i installed it. the single dialog is all in Russian so i uninstalled it

    please let us know when there is a version in english

  6. paulus said on August 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Great find Martin, to bad that this extension does not have a sort of significant indication on the statusbar (his icon) that your ready, with the vacuum.

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