When you monitor the network traffic of the Firefox web browser you may notice that the browser establishes a connection to detectportal.firefox.com on start by default.
The connection is one of the first that the browser makes automatically and you may wonder why it is being made in first place.
The name provides a clue; Firefox attempts to find out if the Internet connection is limited. Hotels and other places that provide access to the Internet make use of captive portals that limit connectivity unless the user enters a code first.
Web browsers and any other Internet software cannot establish connections when that happens since every attempt is blocked by default; this means that the browser cannot check for updates or load sites that are not in the cache.
Firefox tries to detect if a portal is active with the help of that initial connection. If that is the case, network connections are held back as they would not be successful anyway.
Firefox users who use the browser at home or any other location that is not making use of captive portals for Internet connectivity, can block the connection attempt as there is no downside to doing so.
Note: A user mentioned in the comment section below that disabling the check impacts Firefox's new Private Network ability to connect.
Here is how you configure Firefox to block connections to detectportal.firefox.com:
You can use a network monitor such as Wireshark to log connections that Firefox makes and verify that the connection to detectportal.firefox.com is not made anymore. I verified this in Firefox 73.0.1, the latest stable version of the web browser.
You can turn the setting back on easily if you use Firefox in environments that make use of captive portals.
Now You: do you check the connections that your programs make automatically?Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.