Firefox 11 was made available on Tuesday – if you haven’t yet updated, this blog post may convince you to, as with a little tweak your web browsing should get significantly quicker.
Firefox 11 now has experimental support for SPDY, a replacement for HTTPS which is designed to significantly speed up secure browsing. It’s an initiative of Google, who have supported it in their Chrome browser for some time, and have enabled it on their web properties. Firefox is therefore the second browser to support it, although as it’s experimental, it’s not turned on by default.
To enable it, open Firefox, and type about:config in the address bar. Read the warning message and heed it, then click the button. In the search bar, type ‘spdy’.
You’re looking for a line which starts with ‘network.http.spdy.enabled’. This should show as ‘false’, so right-click it and select ‘Toggle’. It should now turn bold, and say ‘true’. Close Firefox, and then open it again – and now you have SPDY enabled.
You should find that browsing any Google site is noticeably faster than before, as is Twitter. Furthermore, SPDY is a secure protocol like HTTPS, so everything is being encrypted and should be immune to man-in-the-middle attacks. Best of all, it’s transparent – once you’ve turned on SPDY you don’t have to do anything different.
SPDY should be enabled by default in Firefox 13, due out in the summer. In the meantime, enjoy the slight speed improvements to your browsing, although remember that it’s still technically an experimental feature and may case some issues.