I have recently had a problem with firefox on my computer, starting sometime between last Friday and Monday. Whenever I go to certain sites (probably 50% of the sites I tried including the straight dope) the browser hangs partway through downloading the web page. Looking at the lower left corner it always says that it is waiting for page… or transferring data from page… I can access these pages easily using Internet explorer so it’s not a network issue, and have tried reinstalling firefox but that hasn’t helped. I suspect that it may have to do with internet ads, but I’m not sure. Has anyone else had a similar problem and/or have a suggested solution?
Update: I may have solved it myself by installing adblock. This may not be a complete solution but it seems to help for now.
I have adblock installed have also noticed the exact same problem you describe, both at work and at home.
I recently tried and switched to Google Chrome. There’s a lot to be said for a fast, stripped down browser in light of all the crap out there on the web these days. No unexplained slowness, random hangs, etc. I’ve seen with both IE and FF.
keeping java current helps.
I can’t wait for the next update to Firefox because of bugs in the current one. Sometimes I can fix it by closing and reopening it. However, your problem does sound like delays caused by loading various scripts from ads. You can sometimes read the detail on the bottom line as it waits for the various links. You should be running “no script” where you can control those scripts. Then you can turn them all off and see how fast the pages load. Firefox is almost always faster than IE.
Presumably when the OP talks about hanging, he/she means that a page never finishes loading, rather than that Firefox as a whole locks up?
I also have Adblock Plus installed but occasionally get problems with pages from certain sites. With almost all of them the status bar tells me that it’s trying to load someting from google-analytics.com. When I set the HOSTS file to point at 127.0.0.1 for that domain, the problem went away!
I googled it at the time and found that google-analytics.com supposedly stopped causing problems several years ago when Google fixed something. So either they didn’t fix it properly, or individual sites have to be manually updated to the latest version.
Thanks for all the responses.
Johnpost: I try to install the JAVA updates as they come up, but there seem to be so many that it’s possible I missed a few
Al Bundy: Thanks for the advice I ran noscript. I ran it and that seemed to solve the problem even when I disabled adblocker
A. Gwilliam: Actually firefox itself seizes up. I can’t click the back button and couldn’t access any other windows of firefox I have open.
I’m dumb. What does this mean?
You’re not dumb. Well, if you are, it’s a coincidence!
Your computer has to find out the IP address for a domain name such as “google-analytics.com” in order to do anything useful with it; it’s a bit like having to look up a 'phone number for someone before you can actually call them.
First your computer looks for that IP address in the HOSTS file buried away amongst your own computer’s system files. If it doesn’t find it there, your computer then goes online to look the number up on a DNS server.
By adding the line
to the HOSTS file, you tell your computer to look in a fictitious location for “google-analytics.com”. Because it’s a fictitious location, your computer doesn’t waste any more time trying to contact google-analytics.com, and moves on to the next job. And because your computer never contacts the real google-analytics.com server, it doesn’t get stuck in a loop waiting for that server to do whatever it’s never going to do.
On my Windows XP system the HOSTS file is located in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc. The file itself is simply called “hosts” (with no file name extension such as “.txt”). The location no doubt varies with different versions of Windows, but the file name is probably the same so a file name search should find it.
Hope that made sense!
Adblock does much the same thing as the host file, of course for firefox only but more conveniently IMHO. You could also add a filter rule for google-analytics.com there.
Adblock in Firefox actually stops the content from loading, not only the display as in Adblock for Chrome.
Good point. I’ve had Adblock Plus running for so long without it doing either too much or not enough, that I forget it’s even there. (A bit like seeing posts in forums about annoying or harmful ads, and I’m like “What ads?” :D)
Firefox’s freezing up is usually corrupted cache or profile. Clear your cache, and if that doesn’t work, create a new profile
Also, the beta (Firefox 4.0b11) is pretty far along, and stable enough for my continued use. It has removed even what slowness was left in the Firefox 3.6.13 (the latest released version).
I’m not going to get into yet another debate on whether one should use Chrome. Just realize that many people have extensions in Firefox that Chrome doesn’t offer, so switching is not always an option
I’m 99% sure that the problem is with showing flash content. As long as I keep noscript running everything works fine but flash content is replaced by the noscript symbol. The instant I click on that symbol and agree to run the scripts, firefox hangs. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the flash player and the flash plug-in but that hasn’t helped. I think for now I’ll just avoid flash content and if there is something I really want to see I’ll go to Explorer.
I think I finally figured it out. Its a problem with getting container processes through the firewall, as discussed here. Disabling the container process fixed it.
Still, thanks everyone for their help.