Ubuntu Tips: How To Fix Firefox Slow Scrolling Problem

by Ramesh Natarajan on July 31, 2009

Question: Firefox 3 is very slow on my Ubuntu. How do I fix it? Some of the symptoms are — Scrolling on a web page is very sluggish, running flash on Firefox is slow, watching YouTube videos on Firefox is slow.

Answer: Try one of the following suggestions, which may solve the Firefox running slow problem on Ubuntu.

1. Set Ubuntu Appearance Preference to None

Go to System Menu -> Preferences -> Appearance, this will display the ‘Appearance Preferences’ dialogue -> Click on Visual Effects Tab -> Change the value from ‘Normal’ to ‘None’ as shown below.  Restart the Firefox browser, which should solve the performance issue.

Fig: Ubuntu - Set Appearance Preferences to None

Fig: Ubuntu - Set Appearance Preferences to None

Note: This is an issue only on the laptops and desktops that doesn’t have a good video card. On most new laptops and desktops, you may not experience Firefox browser slowness because the Appearance Preferences was set to ‘Normal’

2. Disable the IPv6 at the Firefox browser level

From the Firefox address bar, where you typically type the http:// URL, type about:config, which will display the following warning message.  Click on ‘I’ll be careful, I promise!’ button.

Fig: Firefox browser about:config warning message

Fig: Firefox browser about:config warning message

In the Filter box, type “ipv6″, this will display a single line with the following columns:

  • Preference Name: network.dns.disableIPv6
  • Status: Default
  • Type: boolean
  • Value: false

Select this line and right-click anywhere in the selected line, which will display the following menu with a menu-item called Toggle. Click on the Toggle, which will change the Value from false to true, which will disable the IPv6 only on Firefox browser.

Fig: Set network.dns.disableIPv6 to true in Firefox

Fig: Set network.dns.disableIPv6 to true in Firefox

After the toggle, following are the column values. Restart the Firefox browser which should solve the performance issue.

  • Preference Name: network.dns.disableIPv6
  • Status: user set
  • Type: boolean
  • Value: true

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Binny V A July 31, 2009 at 11:27 am
2 Alfons July 31, 2009 at 11:54 am

For me it works the next firefox addon: Yet Another Smooth Scrolling 2.0.21. Is very customizable. Thanks so much for your blog, interesting articles and your mailing.

(off-topic) I hope not to boder you, but if I could ask for a tread, I would like you write about How-to multi-boot Ubuntu, Puppy Linux and another distro as Slakware properly. I don’t want to risk my configuration and I read something about that on Ubuntu forums but is not enough clear for me.

Thank’s

3 Zeke Krahlin July 31, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I have had my Firefox browser with the settings you described, for quite some time now. Yet Firefox is still as kludgy as ever. Any other suggestions, other than switching to another browser?

4 Ramesh Natarajan August 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm

@Binny,

Thanks for sharing your script. On most cases (especially when someone noticed the scrolling issue on ALL websites), I’ve seen it is mainly because they got an old video card on their system. In those cases, setting the Ubuntu appearance preference to “None” might solved the issue.

But again, there are always several reasons why scrolling on firefox could be slow. Thanks for sharing your issue and solution.

@Alfons,

Thanks for bringing “Yet Another Smooth Scrolling” firefox add-on to our attention. It looks very interested. I’ll check it out.

PS: I’ve taken note on your off-topic and added it to my list of things to do for future posts.

@Zeke,

You may want to try the suggestions given by Binny and Alfons above and see whether any one of it fixes your issue.

5 Zeke Krahlin August 2, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Ramesh Natarajan posted:
{{ You may want to try the suggestions given by Binny and Alfons above and see whether any one of it fixes your issue. }}

Binny recommends “disabling backgound images using a GreaseMonkey script.” But upon reading the reviews, it seems that Greasemonkey does not work for Firefox 3.5. See:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/reviews/display/748

(Search for “3.5″ to find those comments.)

And Alfons recommends “addon: Yet Another Smooth Scrolling 2.0.21″. Well, I have my doubts, since I’ve tried all methods to speed up Firefox ever since they had such suggestions…and none of them have ever worked for me. Here are some negative reviews that I find discouraging:

“It’s great and all with nice and smooth scrolling but it uses WAY too much CPU. On some pages it makes my computer go to 70% and sometimes even 100% CPU Usage! I also noticed on YouTube it makes the video drag.”

The above quotes all come from this URL:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/reviews/display/5846

I think I’ll just keep my fingers crossed, that the next Firefox update will resolve the slowness glitch. After all, browsing speed is one feature the Firefox creators pride themselves on…so I don’t think they’ll neglect this issue for long.

But thanks just the same for your suggestions, Ramesh.

6 Pierre Gardin March 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm

A better solution would be disabling smooth scrolling in the options. Disabling IPv6 support is a weird idea.

7 Selo July 6, 2010 at 6:58 am

Thanks!
This solved the slow perfomance on my Asus EEE 1008Ha that I had for several months..

8 Weebo March 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Pierre, your comment gave me exactly what I wanted, Thanks.

9 Trentag November 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I don’t think it’s a firefox thing, it’s a linux thing. Firefox on my windows xp is excellent.

That and considering that everything that I’ve seen that is suppose to help eventually stops. But then again, it is a linux Firefox. So it very well could be both.

10 Trentag November 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

But I’ve noticed that a little bit of EVERYTHING in Ubuntu is kind of slow.

11 r December 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm

This problem is present in 11:04 Ubuntu as well. I am being to think that if this was the Ubuntu bug they would have fix it in 11:04 but sense it still happens. The question remains how open is Ubuntu to hacker from the Internet. It was working when I install but all of a sudden it when super slow. on system Monitor you can see the graph which is under system Setting and it shows download speed of 8.2Kbyte to 20.2Kbyte
and I have Internet of 1.6MB all the time.
I ran the http://about:config/ from the URL of firefox browser but nothing happening. Here it is as slow as it used to be before.

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