Let’s talk browsers. We live in the Golden Age of Browsers for Mac users. Damn, they’re all good; fast, plenty of features, more secure and stable than browsers of yesteryear, so what’s not to like?
Safari is excellent, and the second most used browser on planet earth (count the billion or so Mac, iPhone, and iPad users, please). Chrome is good, but Firefox is faster and Opera comes with a built-in virtual private network for added security (and owned by a Chinese company, so there’s that to consider). But Firefox is faster. Did I mention that?
A few months ago I wrote that Firefox is The Fastest Mac Browser On Planet Earth. Back then it was known as Firefox Quantum and it was visibly faster than Safari, Chrome, or Opera (or, any other Mac browser I’ve tested).
Well, guess what? Firefox is now faster than Firefox. Beware. The links on this page expose you to beta and developer and nightly build versions of Firefox so don’t forget about living dangerously and being in love with the bleeding edge.
Late last year Liam Tung explained how Firefox became so fast and I like it.
Mozilla has already flagged a number of architecture changes to Firefox Quantum that delivered speed and performance improvements, but Firefox 57 has another secret trick to achieve faster page loads: it delays scripts from tracking domains, such as www.google-analytics.com.
The technique is called tailing and it works by delaying certain scripts from tracking domains while a page is loading up and rendering on your browser.
Load up some of the Villagers websites on Firefox and compare the same pages on Safari or Chrome and you’ll be able to see the difference without a stopwatch. Firefox Quantum is fast and since my site, BohemianBoomer, and other Villagers websites do not use trackers, the pages scream to the browser tab.
The new Firefox is even faster. How much faster?
Firefox 58 will be faster at compiling WebAssembly code coming in from the network thanks to ‘streaming compilation’ — which allows code to be compiled and downloaded in parallel — and a faster two-tiered compiler.
That’s mostly geek speak for compiling a website’s code on the fly– so fast that the compiling portion is faster than most networks can deliver packets to your Mac.
In other words, Firefox delivers website pages about as fast as possible because the network has become the bottleneck, not the browser’s ability to compile a websites webpage code.
Even better, because it’s still Firefox, you get all the advantages of using Firefox over Safari, including the humongous library of extensions, built-in blockers, and an extensive privacy and security list which Apple should consider incorporating into Safari.
Yes, Mozilla has the fastest of all major browsers and with the new version it’s even faster than Firefox and faster than most internet network connections.