Waterfox 56.1.0 web browser release information

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 27, 2018
Updated • Mar 27, 2018

Waterfox 56.1.0 was released on March 26, 2018. The new version of the web browser comes with security updates, reintroduced support for Mac OS 10.7, a Google Play Store presence for the browser's Android version, and a redesigned website.

Waterfox users can run a manual update check with a tap on the Alt-key, and the selection of Help > About Waterfox. The browser should pick up the new version and install it automatically.

The new release is available on the official project website as well, so, if you prefer to download it from there you can do that as well to run the installer after the download completes.

Waterfox 56.1.0


The new Waterfox 56.1.0 includes the security updates MFSA 2018-06 and MFSA 2018-06 which Mozilla released for Firefox 59.0 and Firefox 59.0.1 in March 2018. The release does not patch the security issue MFSA 2018-10 which Mozilla patched yesterday.

Probably the biggest change of Waterfox 56.1.0 is that Stylo is enabled by default now in the browser. Stylo, or Quantum CSS, was introduced in Firefox 57.0 by Mozilla to speed up the processing of style sheet files and data in the browser.

Waterfox users can refresh profiles on about:support in the new version of the browser. Refreshing resets preferences for the browser and installed add-ons, removes any custom themes, and removes related add-on metadata. It preserves add-ons, plugins and dictionaries.

A refresh may be useful if you run into issues when using the browser. While you could create a new profile instead to run tests using it, refreshing is easier but it may require that you modify the browser's configuration and add-on preferences afterward.

Waterfox uses the old preferences layout by default. Users who prefer the new layout introduced in Firefox some releases ago, may load about:config?filter=browser.preferences.useOldOrganization in the browser's address bar and set the preference to false to activate it.

Other changes in Waterfox 56.0.1

  • The cookie prompt has been removed as it requires more fixing to make it work properly.
  • The discovery pane for add-ons has been removed.
  • Punycode is shown by default to prevent phishing attacks using it.
  • The Waterfox Android app is listed on Google Play. It shows up as unreleased, but you may download it from Google Play now. F-Droid store version is upcoming.
  • Some media codecs have been updated.
  • Fixed playback issues on Windows for media that used the WMF decoder.

Waterfox supports any Firefox add-on that supports Firefox 56.0 or earlier. You can install classic add-ons in the browser and WebExtensions, provided that they support Firefox 56.0 or earlier. WebExtensions that require new APIs introduced in Firefox 57 or later are not yet supported.

Alex Kontos, the lead developer of the project, plans to port Firefox 57 WebExtensions APIs in future releases to improve support.

Other upcoming changes include support for Mac OS X 10.6, the reintroduction of the cookie prompt, and integration of a classic add-ons catalogue on about:addons.

Now You: Do you use Waterfox? What's your impression of the new release?

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Waterfox 56.1.0 web browser release information
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Waterfox 56.1.0 web browser release information
Waterfox 56.1.0 was released on March 26, 2018. The new version of the web browser comes with security updates, reintroduced support for Mac OS 10.7, a Google Play Store presence for the browser's Android version, and a redesigned website.
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  1. Steve B said on May 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I have a problem trying to run the SiteLauncher 2.8.9 add-on on Waterfox 56 although it runs on FF 56. The preference dialogue box seems to be incorrectly rendered which prevents selection of the expected Close response box . This means preferences cannot be saved.

  2. jack said on April 26, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Was there a bug fix in the latest waterfox update? i updated it in my linux mint update manager and after that it broke waterfox. So i reverted back to the previously working version. I use pale moon for now because i dont know if it is safe to update yet. What is the use of updating if i cant even open the browser?

  3. A different Martin said on March 27, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I played around with Waterfox ages ago when it was basically the unofficial 64-bit version of Firefox. It used the same profile as Firefox, which caused some minor annoyances going back from 64-bit Waterfox to 32-bit Firefox — having to re-approve or re-enable certain plug-ins and then restart, I vaguely remember — but it worked fine.

    Nowadays, Pale Moon x64 is my primary browser and I’d be interesting in hearing about how Waterfox compares with Pale Moon in real-world use. I’m running into a slowly growing number of sites that won’t work in Pale Moon (I load them in Iridium instead), but apart from that, Pale Moon has been remarkably functional and trouble-free for me since … well, since I started using it. Virtually all of my most important extensions (or forks or workalikes) still work, and of all my browsers, it’s the least hassle to use. I’m aware, however, that its future and that of its successor, Basilisk, are not guaranteed, so I’m curious to know whether it’s worth giving Waterfox a trial.

    1. Richard Allen said on March 28, 2018 at 8:47 am

      First, I’ve had Pale Moon installed since it was released and about a year after it was released I moved from FF to PM as my primary. About a year and a half ago I moved back to FF because of video playback issues with flash and html5 and scrolling performance had gone downhill. At that time I moved to the 64-bit version of PM hoping that would help with my problems, it did not. And yes, I’ve also tried a clean install with a new profile. I was sad when I moved back to FF as my primary but its worked out. With PM, scrolling on Feedly is horrible, Flickr is better but I consistently see a stutter, some sites are good and on some I see a micro-stutter. To me it feels like the rendering of elements is being delayed until they have moved too far into the viewport. Scrolling in FF is excellent and Waterfox, so far, is just as good.

      I’ve had Waterfox installed since last year when it started using its own profile location. I first used a copy of my FF profile and I thought it was okay, then I did a clean install which worked much better.

      Browser startup takes Pale Moon 2.2s, Waterfox 2.8s and FF 2.1s. Page load times are close between WF and PM with a slight edge, sometimes, going to Pale Moon. FF beats both on average by 30% but to be honest, without the dev tools open, it would be hard to tell on most websites which was the faster one. Rendering feels faster and smoother on WF and FF when scrolling a page. WF is using 13 addons, a mix of legacy and webext. PM uses 14.

      CPU and GPU usage looks to be fairly equal between PM and WF but I see the percentage fluctuating more with Pale Moon. PM uses a single process so it uses less memory but on Waterfox I can open 16+ websites/tabs before using 1GB of memory. I have WF set to use 3 content processes which will show 4-6 processes in the Windows Task Manager depending on how many tabs are open. For me, the default is one content process which I bumped up to 3.

      For me, Waterfox has the advantage over Pale Moon with scrolling performance, video playback, rendering performance and I haven’t seen any issues with any sites using WF. I don’t use Netflix or Amazon Prime if that matters. I’ve had many browsers installed for a long time now, right now I have 7 installed and Pale Moon is the one I use the least. Two years ago I would have never thought that could happen. I think WF is definitely worth a try. Do a clean install. Different hardware can of course show different results. I’m using:
      Win7 Pro x64, Intel Core i5 4460 @ 3.2-3.4GHz, 16GB DDR3L @ 1600MHz, GTX 750 Ti SC, 240GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD (OS), 1TB WD Black (DATA) in a Dell mini-tower with a Dell U2415 monitor.

      1. A different Martin said on March 28, 2018 at 6:31 pm

        @Richard Allen:

        I really appreciate this detailed comparison.

        I also run Win7 Pro x64, but on a Lenovo ThinkPad T510 with 8GB of RAM, no discrete GPU, and two 2TB 5400rpm mechanical drives. I haven’t noticed any video playback, scrolling, or rendering issues in Pale Moon x64, but I no longer have Flash installed and I nearly always use the TrackPoint (an entirely separate system from the touchpad and mouse). Maybe it’s only because I don’t have high-end hardware features for Pale Moon to attempt to exploit, but the *only* problem I have with Pale Moon is that some sites no longer work in it. (I know nothing about Web coding, but I’ve read that it’s because Pale Moon doesn’t support the very latest standards and protocols, which I interpret to mean that more and more site designers are coding for Google Chrome, with broader browser compatibility an afterthought.)

        I’m already resigned to having to use Chrome or Firefox for Netflix. (I’d be curious to know whether it works in Iridium; I’ll have to give it a try.)

        At any rate, I’ll probably give Waterfox a shot — starting out with a clean profile.

        By the way, I’m planning on switching to a bare-metal install of Linux Mint sometime before Windows 7 reaches end of life. In the meantime, Pale Moon seems to work pretty much the same in my Linux Mint virtual machine as it does in Windows. Since I’m looking to the future, I guess I had better give Waterfox a shot in my Linux VM as well.

      2. Richard Allen said on March 29, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        I honestly and accurately try to relay what I see with my software experiences but I don’t expect that everyone else will see the same thing I do.

        Pale Moon has made impressive progress with video playback over the last year and right now the only problem I see is with video thumbnail previews on some sites not working. On my 8yr old Win7 x64 laptop, which has a dual-core with a small Nvidia graphics card, video thumbnail previews are an even bigger problem. Actual video content now works very well, finally. Even 1080p 60fps works well, not too long ago that was just a dream in a far off galaxy.

        In the past I preferred flash because on YouTube the contrast with mp4 looked washed out. Now with vp9 and mp4a being used more I haven’t had flash installed on my system for a few months.

        Linux Mint? I’ve wasted way too much time trying to get a nvidia graphics driver installed in Linux Mint in VirtualBox but have failed miserably and repeatedly. I’m thinking of figuring out a dual-boot setup but…I’ll probably drag my feet for a year or two. LoL

        With Pale Moon it might be something with my hardware combination it doesn’t like causing my scrolling problems. I’m not up for doing another clean install right now. It’s just frustrating that six other browsers are working so well and as much as I like to think that I’m smarter than the average bear cub when it comes to FF based browsers I guess I’m not all that. Obviously. ;)

      3. A different Martin said on March 30, 2018 at 5:54 am

        @Richard Allen:

        Your crack at Linux Mint was prescient. Probably *while* you were typing it, I was at a friend’s place updating *his* Linux Mint virtual machine, including some level-4, display-related packages, and I got the dreaded “software compatibility mode” warning, so it looks like I’m going to have to do some dicking around to get the right nVidia driver installed (or uninstalled) on his machine. Things are simpler when you don’t have a discrete GPU to deal with…

        As for dragging your feet for a year or two before getting around to a dual-boot, as luck would have it you have just around that amount of time before Windows 7 reaches end of life! (Well, unless Microsoft issues a fatally borkogenic security patch *before* January 2020… ;-)

        As for my installing Waterfox in Linux Mint, it’s not in the repository, and I the stories I read from people who tried to compile it themselves were very discouraging. There might be a PPA or two that work, but I’m a Linux beginner, and I’m not sure I want to mess with the potential complications if they don’t or if a dependency conflict develops later on. I might just wait until a Snap or Flatpak Waterfox package is issued. (Well, either that or until I develop some elementary Linux troubleshooting skills…)

        Again, I really appreciate your feedback. I’ve installed Waterfox on my Windows system and gone through the basic settings. Next is to load it up with my favorite extensions and customize it, but that will be for another day. (Like you, I’m pretty happy with my present browser, so there’s no urgency.)

    2. Anonymous said on March 28, 2018 at 5:27 am

      Pale Moon is based on very old version of Firefox, it’s more recommended to use Basilisk which is based on Firefox 56.
      Waterfox will use Quantum as base on the next version so it’s not recommended to use Waterfox if you want to use legacy addons. Waterfox is great if you want to disable the default Firefox telemetry without hassle.
      For now let’s just cross our fingers.

      1. George said on March 28, 2018 at 11:09 am

        The “Pale Moon is based on very old version of Firefox” argument is even older. Get informed, please.

      2. Jody Thornton said on March 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

        By the way Pale Moon v27.8.3 was released.

        I’d agree that the UI is based on an older version of Firefox, but the updates are backported similarly to Waterfox. Alex has been able to retrofit Quantum security updates to Waterfox 56x, while Moonchild does the same with security updates to Pale Moon.

        What I’m not sure is, whether or not the use of the old non-Australis UI cause any insecurities of its own. Are there any holes that can’t be plugged?

      3. Mike O said on March 28, 2018 at 7:48 am

        Basilisk is based on Firefox 56? I thought it was based on Firefox 52. Where did you hear about this?

        Also… Waterfox is going to use Quantum as its base in the future? I don’t remember reading about that.

  4. John Fenderson said on March 27, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    “Do you use Waterfox? What’s your impression of the new release?”

    Yes, I use Waterfox. I haven’t tested the new release yet, but it sounds fine. Nothing in it screams “install immediately”, so I’ll probably test it over the weekend.

  5. Richard Allen said on March 27, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Waterfox is definitely a Very Good choice for those not wanting to use FF Quantum for many reasons.

    Before the update smoothScroll was very good, very close to what I am seeing in FFv59, now, on my hardware, it is every bit as good as FF. A huge deal for me because I have smoothScroll cranked up. Waterfox is now the only browser that can match FF in scrolling performance and smoothness. What I use:
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.lines.durationMaxMS”, 600);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.lines.durationMinMS”, 450);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.mouseWheel.durationMaxMS”, 600);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.mouseWheel.durationMinMS”, 450);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.other.durationMaxMS”, 400);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.other.durationMinMS”, 200);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.pages.durationMaxMS”, 400);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.pages.durationMinMS”, 200);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.pixels.durationMaxMS”, 400);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.pixels.durationMinMS”, 200);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.scrollbars.durationMaxMS”, 400);
    user_pref(“general.smoothScroll.scrollbars.durationMinMS”, 200);
    user_pref(“mousewheel.acceleration.factor”, 8);
    user_pref(“mousewheel.acceleration.start”, 2);
    user_pref(“mousewheel.min_line_scroll_amount”, 3);
    For those not using a 4 core processor and discreet graphics the two lines using 450 might be a little high, 300-400 might work better.

    I noticed with this update that the element picker wasn’t working like it should with the legacy version of uBO 1.13.8. Updated to uBO v1.15.18 (legacy) and all is well now. Before the update I don’t remember seeing “Add-on compatibility checking is disabled…” at the top of the addons page. And now that I’ve updated uBO I now see a “could not be verified warning” because it is not signed. No biggie, other than the text for both warnings being a waste of space IMO.

    The new layout in the preferences now works! Whoop whoop! :)

    Overall I think performance is very good but it does not match FF. Even with servo enabled. Browser startup is 30% slower and page load times are often 20-30% longer (flickr.com/explore, wired.com, bbc.com are some examples). And I wish some of the security and privacy improvements that FF now has were ported into WF, like the one for URI resource leakage. I use an addon for that I was hoping to could get rid of.

    All that said, I like Waterfox, a lot.

    1. ams said on March 28, 2018 at 1:56 am

      thanks for explaining the smoothscroll prefs. I had no idea these tweaks could achieve such dramatic improvement!

      1. Richard Allen said on March 28, 2018 at 8:25 am

        Pretty amazing isn’t it?!

        Glad you found it useful. Those are some of the first settings I change on a new install.

      2. watchpocket said on March 30, 2018 at 12:51 am

        I don’t understand what the scrolling advantage does. My WF scrolls fine & it doesn’t feel like I need to tweak it. Can you give more detail about what your tweaks do versus the default configuration? Thanks.

      3. Richard Allen said on March 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        You haven’t changed anything mouse or scroll related in about:config? The Horror! ;)

        “mousewheel.acceleration.start” number of mousewheel clicks when acceleration starts; acceleration will be off if pref is left at the default of -1. Most recommendations are to use 3, I like 2 so that acceleration is started with less rotation of the mousewheel.

        “mousewheel.acceleration.factor” determines how fast the page moves, the factor to be multiplied for constant acceleration, the default is 10. Basically 10x faster when the setting is enabled. 10 on my desktop is too fast for me but doesn’t feel as fast on my old laptop. You don’t want the scrolling to be so fast that your hardware can’t keep up with the rendering on graphics heavy webpages. Depending on hardware and bandwidth 6-8 should be fine for most people.

        For years, mousewheel.acceleration.start and factor have been THE very first settings I change on a new install. That’s just what I’m used to and… I can’t stand the slow as molasses default scrolling speed on FF based browsers. :)

        I would describe the smoothScroll duration settings as being a glide. The higher the numbers the further the glide. Because I use a mouse on both desktop and laptop the smoothScroll.mouseWheel.duration is what gets used the most. The other settings are for Page Up and Down, Up Down Arrows and so forth. You will have to have smooth scrolling enabled in the preferences or general.smoothScroll = true, samething, true is the default.

        You can use smoothScroll duration without having to use mousewheel acceleration and vice versa. If you want to try both I would start first with mousewheel acceleration and get that where it feels comfortable.

      4. Richard Allen said on March 30, 2018 at 3:17 pm

        Earlier where I said “those not using a 4 core processor and discreet graphics the two lines using 450 might be a little high” is accurate but it’s more a combination of ‘smoothScroll duration’ and ‘mousewheel acceleration’ that can cause rendering problems. Acceleration factor is the setting that creates the biggest change. An acceleration factor of 16 will work fine on my desktop but it makes scolling and reading at the same time difficult. LoL The settings I use work great for reading And continuously scrolling at the same time.

  6. tmue said on March 27, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Agree with Baker – works like a charm with all my claasic FF add-0ns…

    However, did Waterfox remove the portable version, previous download page redirects and no portable version I can find…

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm
      1. tmue said on March 28, 2018 at 1:32 am
      2. exjoburger said on March 27, 2018 at 7:36 pm

        Hi Martin,

        The link to the Portable version on that page also seems to download the installable (non portable) version.

      3. dark said on March 28, 2018 at 1:51 am



  7. P2d said on March 27, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Stylo has made it more fluid than ever before, and memory hogging seems to be under control too !

  8. Baker said on March 27, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I’ve been using Waterfox since the Firefox apocalypse. All my classic addons I rely on are working nicely. Right now my set up are Waterfox on my home PC and Chrome at work for development. I just don’t see a reason to use Firefox at this point. If Alex can port back web extensions APIs and I believe he will, then Mozilla is royally screwed that a one man team is able to do what they abandoned for that sake of competing with Chrome.

    1. Pillow lava said on March 30, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      Waterfox’s author will drop legacy add-on support though. He wants to put APIs that Firefox won’t get, so that capability remains, but legacy add-ons are goners. Only those that get updated to use new APIs will survive, and I don’t think many add-on developers will bother.

      1. A different Martin said on March 30, 2018 at 8:36 pm

        @Pillow lava:

        Well, that’s bad news for me, since it greatly reduces Waterfox’s appeal as a fallback solution in case Pale Moon becomes non-viable at some point.

        “Legacy” extension support is a *major* reason Pale Moon is my primary browser. (Even if I liked Firefox ESR as much, which I don’t, *its* legacy extension support ends with the next major version upgrade, on 9 May 2018.) Pale Moon has slowly been building its own repository of ported, forked, work-alike, and original extensions, and quickly scanning through my list of installed extensions in Pale Moon, I see that almost half are now flagged with a blue Pale Moon dot instead of an orange Firefox dot. There’s no guarantee that any of the legacy extensions I rely on, whether Pale Moon or Firefox, will continue to be developed, but at least I haven’t seen an announcement that Pale Moon definitely intends to discontinue support.

  9. WebRender for the Win said on March 27, 2018 at 9:45 am

    No WebRender = no sorry for me, Firefox Nightly+WebRender is too freaaking faaaaaaaaaaaast daamn

    1. Bobby Phoenix said on March 27, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      We get it. You like WebRender. You don’t have to paste it on every post that’s not about “Firefox Nightly+WebRender”. Move along.

      1. Sorgo said on March 30, 2018 at 6:26 pm

        > We get it. You like WebRender. You don’t have to paste it on every post that’s not about “Firefox Nightly+WebRender”. Move along.

        It’s pretty mild compared to the shit a couple vocal Waterfox users pulled out for months on Firefox-related articles, yet I see you can feel the annoyance already.

        Both browsers are almost identical, one depends on the other and solves a need for the other, both benefit from the other’s existence, so this entrenchment goes anywhere from hilarious to imaginary face-slapping-worthy depending on the tone the person is using and the level of bullshit they come up with.

        Long live fox browsers and that’s it.

      2. John Fenderson said on March 28, 2018 at 7:13 pm

        Wait, he likes WebRender? Why didn’t he say so? ;)

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