Slow Gmail with Firefox

I find that Gmail is incredibly slow in rendering with my FireFox browser. Not sure if it is FF in general or if it's extenstion related, but I found a workaround that speeds up Gmail considerably.

I use a "User Agent Switcher Extension" for other areas of my job including SEO and debugging internal applications. This extension allows you to change the information that you send to the host website and specify whether you're using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or anything else that you want.

I found that if I use the extension to change my user agent to something like "Googlebot 2.1", Gmail reads my request as an "unsupported browser" and switches to an alternative mode which renders many, many times quicker.

Another benefit to claiming that you're Googlebot 2.1 is that you can sometimes get into password protected areas on news websites. 🙂

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2 Comments »

  1. Torley said

    Heya! I tried this and it doesn’t seem to work all that quicker for me — looks like I see “For a better Gmail experience, use a fully supported browser.” and it’s just rendering in HTML. Is this the result you get too?

    Wish I noticed more of a speed gain!

  2. Matt L said

    September 10th, 2007

    If you are googling this for your gmail (especially with chat) being very slow and eating up 99% of your CPU with FireFox 2.0.0.6 (newest as of 9/10/07) I have found the solution (for myself at least)!!!

    Another weird symptom I was getting was that the emoticons weren’t being displayed properly, and there were some other visual artifacts. Unfortunately, the problem lies with one of my favorite extensions: Image-Zoom.

    If your problems seem like mine, try disabling Image Zoom: Click Tools -> Add-Ons -> Image Zoom -> Disable, then close and restart Firefox.

    Click a chat window, make an emoticon or two, and it should be fixed. If this doesn’t fix it for you, but you are having similar problems, do what I did and find it manually.

    First of all, see if it is an add-on that is causing your problems. Start Firefox in safe mode by going to Start -> Run (or by hitting WindowsKey+R) and enter the command: “firefox -safe-mode” and just click “Continue to Safe Mode” without checking any of the boxes. Go to http://www.gmail.com and login, and test it out. If the problems disappear, one of your extensions is messing it up.

    To find which one, start Firefox in regular mode, then disable about half of your extensions. Restart Firefox and try gmail again. If it is working correctly, try enabling each extension, restarting firefox, and trying again, until you get the problem again; the last one you enabled is the problem extension. On the other hand, if after disabling half it does not work, keep disabling one at a time (restarting Firefox after each enable/disable) until it does work.

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