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I am on a slow internet connection. I would like to use Firefox to load local copies of websites when it exists and is relatively recent (say one week).

An example usage would be browsing a lot of Wikipedia webpages, coming back to the same ones on a regular basis.

I would like to avoid having to manually specify to save single pages on each website I visit (which is what I guess I would need to do with a plugin like Scrapbook). And I would also like to avoid having to switch between "work offline" or "work online".

Any suggestions?

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The answer you received so far is good, however note that nowadays it's very hard to use local copies for web pages, because they're often dynamic and created the very moment you load them. For example, suppose you create a local copy of the page "Robert Peake the elder" by Wikipedia. OK, fine. Now, when you get into Wikipedia you don't want to remember the exact address and so you type "Robert Peake the elder" in the search box (not cache-able). Ta-dah, your cache is crap.-- Hint: just cache resources. And this is already done by Firefox. –  gd1 Jul 23 '11 at 15:11
    
I see your point but clearly FF could do smth better: I visited a same plain HTML page 10 times today, accessing it directly through the address bar (no googling) and considering the loading time, I'm confident it's been loaded 10 times... –  Sam Jul 23 '11 at 15:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Besides, the obvious, which is to make your cache ridiculously large (1GB here) there are a couple of settings you can set.

goto about:config

  1. network.dnsCacheEntries: Increase number of DNS entries cached to something like 500.
  2. network.dnsCacheExpiration: Increase the number of seconds to keep DNS cache.
  3. browser.cache.disk_cache_ssl: Change to true to cache secure website. If you are like me, I use a completely stripped down browser for shopping and banking. Who knows what those addons are tracking. . .
  4. network.prefetch-next: this one is debatable. I think it is off by default (false). Basically, a website usually specifies the next page and tags it. Firefox will search for that link and download it using idle bandwidth. Depending on your surfin habits, it may or may not be useful. I typically open a whole bunch of tabs (30 or so) at a time and then read them one by one. If I find the site useful, I'll keep surfing, otherwise I close it. This way, the browser downloads the next link while I read.
  5. browser.safebrowsing.enabled and browser.safebrowsing.malware.enabled: Every 30 minutes, firefox will download a list of sites that are reported to be phishing or malware sites. Again, if you are like me, you use a separate, vanilla browser for banking and shopping. Plus, I have no need for these lists.

I'd also heavily consider the following addons: NoScript, Adblocker, SessionSaver.

  • NoScript is a no brainer. If anything, just block Flash/Silverlight, video/audio. The other ones overlap with Adblocker. And apply it to Trusted sites and turn off "Ask for confirmation before unblocking an object". Also make sure to uncheck the options "Autotomatically reload pages when permissions change". Then you can just click the icon and click "Allow all on this page" when you get around to finally reading a tab.

Session Saver has a cool option where it turns off reloading of tabs upon loading a session. That way the tabs are only loaded up upon actually navigating to them, rather than all at once. Or you can tell it to load only a set number of tabs concurrently when you load a session.

Adblocker is a no brainer. Use it liberally to block banners, images and crap. There is a setting to block everything from a domain address only if you are at this explicit page you are on. That way you aren't blocking images from sites when you are actually at said address.

I hope these help. I feel your pain. My cousins are on AT&T and the highest that DSL goes in their area is 6Mbps. When you have the mother streaming netflix, the other two kids watching videos on their own laptops while the grandmother is trying to skype back to Germany. I told them they should just cough up for another DSL connection.

Thankfully, last week they got a good deal for cable internet. Like 20 bucks more for 12Mbps.

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Thank you very much for your elaborate answer; I'll try with some of these options on and see if it's better. And about the pain, I'm trying to code with libraries I'm not familiar with(--> browsing online docs a lot), with a slow 100kb max connection; my ping to google.com seems to be more reasonable than I anticipated: 60ms avg... (agreed it's bad but not that bad I believe, right? )... so quite painfull, yes. Thanks for your help. –  Sam Jul 23 '11 at 23:12
    
NP. Yeah, when I'm coding I save all my tabs and open a new session since typically I'll have tons of tabs with MSDN, Code Samples, and SO. –  surfasb Jul 23 '11 at 23:47

You could install a local web proxy cache on your computer. I guess that the configuration of a web proxy cache si much more flexible than firefox. Check squid.

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Thanks for your input; this seems to be a interesting lead, though a bit more technical than I assumed. I still hope there would be an easier to implement solution, since my problem is all in all quite common; there is probably an add on somewhere that helps... –  Sam Jul 23 '11 at 15:29
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Squid can certainly help you, and it is the only notable free en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_cache on Windows. You will like that it gives lots of configuration options, such as letting you override specific websites' object expiry settings (for example, keep entire Youtube videos on your local cache, forever. FF won't let you finetune what it caches), and yet work straight out of the box. I can send you my squid.conf to start you off. The only caveat is that Squid's developers don't care about one-user-setups, so if by chance you someday find yourself stuck, workarounds are limited. –  William C Jul 24 '11 at 2:59

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