Having a secondary browser is a must if you’re always stuck in a slow, unreliable internet connection (like when you’re leeching off public WiFi). This secondary browser must be optimized for slow internet connection to help you survive the pain and annoyance of waiting for websites to finish loading.
Set-up a secondary browser optimized for slow connection:
1. Choose a browser
If you’re default browser is Firefox, then go with either Chrome or Opera. If you choose Opera, you can take advantage of the Opera Turbo feature, which is a trimmed-down version of the webpage specifically for slow connections. Chrome, on the other hand, is your best choice when system resource is an issue as well.
2. Block Ads and Flash
There are a lot of add-ons that you can use to block these Ads and Flash.
AdBlock for Chrome
AdBlock for Opera (Opera Turbo has a built-in Flashblock)
3. Disable images
It’s really nice to see articles or web pages with images, however, when you’re on sluggish connection it’s better to disable them especially if you don’t really need them.
In Opera, head to Preferences > Webpages and change the “Images” dropdown to “cached images” or “no images“. Cached images will load only stuff you’ve already stored locally, so it won’t use up any of your internet connection. Firefox users can just go to Options > Content and uncheck the “Load Images Automatically” box. Chrome users can go to Settings > Under the Hood > Content Settings and disable images from there. Both Firefox and Chrome can let you whitelist sites from which you still want to load images.
4. Use fewer or no extensions
Add-ons are there to power up the browser but using too many of them can seriously slow down your browser. It’s okay to use them on your default or primary browser, but for our optimized secondary browser, it’s better to NOT use any extension (except for the Ad and Flash blocker).
5. Use mobile sites
Most of the websites nowadays already have their own mobile-friendly versions. I know it’s not really nice to view these mobile sites on a regular web browser but if you’re on an unbearably slow connection, it might be worth trying them. A simple way to do this is to change the user agent of the secondary browser to a mobile device like Android or iPhone.
For Firefox, you can use User Switch Agent.
For Chrome, you can use User-Agent Switcher.
Opera, unfortunately, doesn’t support changing the user agent.
6. Disable automatic updates
I don’t usually recommend this since it’s really important to always get the latest updates of the add-ons and the web browsers, however, if you’re on a slow connection, I’m sure you don’t want it to be leeching up bandwidth in secret while you’re trying to browse.
To disable automatic updates in Opera, go to Preferences > Advanced tab > Security then change the “Auto-Update” dropdown to “Notify me“. For Firefox, just go to Options > Advanced > Update then choose “Ask me what to do”.