Firefox browser also introduces a clean new design that makes it easier to get more things done, more quickly. Plus, with smart browsing features built in, Firefox lets you take your privacy, passwords, and bookmarks with you safely wherever you go. ONE TAP TO PRIVATE MODE Now you can get to Private Browsing Mode with just one tap. The Firefox Private Network has been developed in standing with the developer’s philosophy. Firefox has long had a reputation for privacy and their latest project the Firefox Private Network is testament to this. The latest offering by Mozilla promises to shroud their internet browsers in utter privacy, thus ensuring ease-of-mind safe surfing. Firefox Private Network is a browser extension by Firefox. It hides your browsing activity and IP address by rerouting your digital footprint through the web browser’s secure servers. Its secure, encrypted path to the internet protects your personal information and your connection safe from prying eyes.
With the launch of Firefox Quantum, Mozilla decided to team up with Disconnect Inc. to compare page load times between desktop versions of Chrome’s Incognito mode and Firefox Quantum’s Private Browsing.
Firefox Quantum is the fastest version of Firefox we’ve ever made. It is twice as fast as Firefox 52 and often faster than the latest version of Chrome in head to head page load comparisons. By using key performance benchmarks, we were able to optimize Firefox to eliminate unnecessary delays and give our users a great browsing experience.
Most browser performance benchmarks focus on the use of a regular browsing mode. But, what about Private Browsing? Given that Private Browsing use is so common, we wanted to see how Firefox’s Private Browsing compared with Chrome’s Incognito when it came to page load time (that time between a click and the page being fully loaded on the screen).
Spoiler Alert…. Firefox Quantum’s Private Browsing is fast…. really fast.
Why would Private Browsing performance be any different?
Websites have the ability to load content and run scripts from a variety of sources. Some of these scripts include trackers. Trackers are used for a variety of reasons including everything from website analytics to tracking website engagement for the purposes of targeted advertising. The use of trackers on websites is very common. Unfortunately trackers can delay the completion of page loads while the browser waits for tracking scripts to respond.
In 2015, Firefox became the only browser to include Tracking Protection enabled by default in Private Browsing mode. Tracking Protection, as the name implies, blocks resources from loading if the URL being loaded is on a list of known trackers as defined by Disconnect’s Tracking Protection list. This list is a balanced approach to blocking and does not include sites that obey Do Not Track (as defined in the EFF guidelines). While the feature is meant to help keep users from being tracked when they have explicitly opted to use Private Browsing, the side effect is a much faster browsing experience on websites which attempt to load content from URLs on the tracking list. A previous Firefox study in 2015 showed that there was a reduction in median page load time on top News websites of 44%.
Since Firefox Quantum is the fastest version of Firefox yet, we thought it would be interesting to compare page load times between Firefox Quantum’s Private Browsing (which includes Tracking Protection), and Chrome’s Incognito mode which does not include a tracking protection feature.
The study was conducted by Disconnect, the organization behind the domain lists used to power Tracking Protection. Page load times for the top 200 news websites as ranked by Alexa.com were measured using Firefox Quantum (v57.0b10v57 beta) in both default and Private Browsing modes and the most recent Chrome version (v61.0.3163.100) that was available at the time of testing – also in default and Incognito modes. News sites were tested because these sites tend to have the most trackers.
Each of the news websites were loaded 10 times. In order for the test to measure comparable timings and to be reproducible by others, load times were measured using the PerformanceTiming API for both Firefox and Chrome for each page load. In particular, the total load time is considered as the difference between PerformanceTiming.loadEventEnd and PerformanceTiming.navigationStart. The tests were controlled through an automated script.
All rounds of testing were conducted on a new Macbook Pro (13’’ Macbook Pro 2017, 3.1GHz i5, 16GB memory, OSX 10.13). We tested on a fast network connection with the Macbook Pro connected to a Webpass 100Mbps connection over WiFi (802.11ac, 867Mbit/s). For a deep dive into the methodology, check out our Mozilla Hacks post.
Across the top 200 news websites tested, the average page load time for Firefox Quantum’s Private Browsing is 3.2 seconds compared to Chrome’s Incognito mode which took an average of 7.7 seconds to load a page for the fast Gigabit connection. This means that, on average, Firefox Quantum’s Private Browsing loads page 2.4x faster than Chrome in Incognito mode.
On average, Firefox Quantum’s Private Browsing loads page 2.4x faster than Chrome in Incognito mode
Comparing the average load times for Chrome also shows that Incognito mode alone does not bring any speed improvements. It is the Tracking Protection that makes the difference as can be seen from the results for Firefox Quantum.
Another way to look at this data is by looking at the time that is acceptable to users for pages to be loaded. A third party study by SOASTA Inc. recently found that an average session load time of 6 seconds already leads to a 70% user bounce rate. Therefore, it makes sense to put our measurements in the context of looking at the share of pages per browser that took longer than 6 seconds to load.
95% of page loads met the 6 second or faster threshold using Firefox Quantum Private Browsing with Tracking Protection
95% of page loads met the 6 second or faster threshold using Firefox Quantum Private Browsing with Tracking Protection enabled, while only 70% of page loads made the cut on Chrome, leaving nearly a third of the news sites unable to load within that time frame.
While the speed improvements in Firefox Quantum will vary depending on the website, overall users can expect that Private Browsing in Firefox will be faster than Chrome’s Incognito mode right out of the box.
In fact, due to these findings, we wanted users to be able to benefit from the increased speed and privacy outside of Private Browsing mode. With Firefox Quantum, users now have the ability to enable Tracking Protection in Firefox at any time.
Interested? Then try Private Browsing for yourself!
If you’d like to take it up a notch and enable Tracking Protection every time you use Firefox, then download Firefox Quantum, open Preferences. Choose Privacy & Security and scroll down until you find the Tracking Protection section. Alternatively, simply search for “Tracking Protection” in the Find in Preferences field. Enable Tracking Protection “Always” and you are set to enjoy both improved speed and privacy whenever you use Firefox Quantum.
When enabling it, please keep in mind that Tracking Protection may block social “like” buttons, commenting tools and some cross-site video content.
If Tracking Protection is a feature that you’ve commonly used or that you will want to use more regularly, give Firefox Quantum a try to experience how fast it is and compare Firefox to Chrome!
Disconnect Inc. and Mozilla partnered up in 2015 to power Firefox’s Tracking Protection giving you control over the data that third parties receive from you online. The blocklist is based on a list of known trackers as defined by Disconnect’s Tracking Protection list. As a follow-up, we asked ourselves if Firefox’s Private Browsing mode with Tracking Protection might also offer speed benefits.
Contributors: Peter Dolanjski & Dominik Strohmeier – Mozilla, Casey Oppenheim & Eason Goodale – Disconnect Inc.
Like a cat, the Test Pilot program has had many lives. It originally started as an Add-on before we relaunched it three years ago. Then in January, we announced that we were evolving our culture of experimentation, and as a result we closed the Test Pilot program to give us time to further explore what was next.
We learned a lot from the Test Pilot program. First, we had a loyal group of users who provided us feedback on projects that weren’t polished or ready for general consumption. Based on that input we refined and revamped various features and services, and in some cases shelved projects altogether because they didn’t meet the needs of our users. The feedback we received helped us evaluate a variety of potential Firefox features, some of which are in the Firefox browser today.
If you haven’t heard, third time’s the charm. We’re turning to our loyal and faithful users, specifically the ones who signed up for a Firefox account and opted-in to be in the know about new products testing, and are giving them a first crack to test-drive new, privacy-centric products as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. The difference with the newly relaunched Test Pilot program is that these products and services may be outside the Firefox browser, and will be far more polished, and just one step shy of general public release.
We’ve already earmarked a couple of new products that we plan to fine-tune before their official release as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. Because of how much we learned from our users through the Test Pilot program, and our ongoing commitment to build our products and services to meet people’s online needs, we’re kicking off our relaunch of the Test Pilot program by beta testing our project code named Firefox Private Network.
Try our first beta – Firefox Private Network
One of the key learnings from recent events is that there is growing demand for privacy features. The Firefox Private Network is an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and your personal information anywhere and everywhere you use your Firefox browser.
Firefox Private Network
There are many ways that your personal information and data are exposed: online threats are everywhere, whether it’s through phishing emails or data breaches. You may often find yourself taking advantage of the free WiFi at the doctor’s office, airport or a cafe. There can be dozens of people using the same network — casually checking the web and getting social media updates. This leaves your personal information vulnerable to those who may be lurking, waiting to take advantage of this situation to gain access to your personal info. Using the Firefox Private Network helps protect you from hackers lurking in plain sight on public connections.
Start testing the Firefox Private Network today, it’s currently available in the US on the Firefox desktop browser. A Firefox account allows you to be one of the first to test potential new products and services, you can sign up directly from the extension.
Key features of Firefox Private Network are:
Firefox Private Relay
- Protection when in public WiFi access points – Whether you are waiting at your doctor’s office, the airport or working from your favorite coffee shop, your connection to the internet is protected when you use the Firefox browser thanks to a secure tunnel to the web, protecting all your sensitive information like the web addresses you visit, personal and financial information.
- Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are hidden so it’s harder to track you – Your IP address is like a home address for your computer. One of the reasons why you may want to keep it hidden is to keep advertising networks from tracking your browsing history. Firefox Private Network will mask your IP address providing protection from third party trackers around the web.
- Toggle the switch on at any time. By clicking in the browser extension, you will find an on/off toggle that shows you whether you are currently protected, which you can turn on at anytime if you’d like additional privacy protection, or off if not needed at that moment.
Your feedback on Firefox Private Network beta is important
Over the next several months you will see a number of variations on our testing of the Firefox Private Network. This iterative process will give us much-needed feedback to explore technical and possible pricing options for the different online needs that the Firefox Private Network meets.
Your feedback will be essential in making sure that we offer a full complement of services that address the problems you face online with the right-priced service solutions. We depend on your feedback and we will send a survey to follow up. We hope you can spend a few minutes to complete it and let us know what you think. Please note this first Firefox Private Network Beta test will only be available to start in the United States for Firefox account holders using desktop devices. We’ll keep you updated on our eventual beta test roll-outs in other locales and platforms.
Firefox Private Network
Sign up now for a Firefox account and join the fight to keep the internet open and accessible to all.