Why I Left Firefox For Chrome And Why I Came Back

Last weekend I finally had it with Firefox. After one more crash because it was blowing up my resources I decided it was time to give up the ghost and I switched to Chrome.

I had two other alternatives, of course. I could have gone to Opera, which has always been pretty fast, but it just seems so sparse. True, one should probably only think about using a browser to browse the internet, but many of us are looking for certain things from our browsers to enhance the user experience, if you will. I also could have gone to IE8 but decided I just don’t want to go backwards, even though I’ve heard good things about IE9, which I haven’t loaded yet.

Anyway, Firefox had suddenly decided to go nuts on me. It was using some major league resources on my computer, once to the tune of 1.8GB; that’s a lot. It was regularly going over a gigabyte, and that was way too much. Then it started crashing all the time, asking me to send crash reports to Mozilla. Last Sunday it crashed the 7th time in one day and that was that.

So I made Chrome my default browser. I had been thinking about it anyway, but not without some reservation. It’s a Google product, as you know, and almost anything related to Google wants to track you. I wrote a post in 2010 telling people that if you use Google Toolbar it tracks your searches and then you start getting targeted advertising. I know they try to tell us it’s for our benefit but I just don’t feel the benefit if you know what I mean. At least you can turn it off for Google Desktop.

I used Chrome for about 4 days and started to feel that, though it had been running better than Firefox, it had issues as well. For instance, every once in awhile it just hangs for a little bit. I went to check the resources and found that it was using a gigabyte of memory as well; what the hey? It seemed to handle that much memory a little better than Firefox but not entirely; that was shocking.

Then I started missing some of my customization. For instance, I was able to modify the look of Firefox to what I was used to in the past; you can’t do that with Chrome. Also, certain plugins that make using a browser that I’ve come to like aren’t available on Chrome. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t figure out how to get anything onto Chrome whatsoever. Well, I did finally get one thing to work, but that was it.

Yup, I started missing Firefox, but I had to do something to help it stop crashing. I decided to take a look at all the plugins I was running, along with other things, to see what I really didn’t need anymore. I ended up disabling, then removing, a lot of things that I noticed didn’t even work anymore. Firefox 5 automatically disabled some thing it said it wasn’t compatible with, but I use both Stylish and Greasemonkey and it turns out some scripts with each of those weren’t working anymore either, and could have been causing a conflict.

The verdict is pretty good so far. The highest recorded memory since I made the changes is 525MB, which is easily more manageable. The browser hasn’t crashed since I started using it again and I’m happy about that as well. Maybe it’s finally going to behave; one can only hope, right?

But customization is really what puts Firefox ahead of every other browser, and in the end that’s really why it’s my favorite. That’s my story; what’s yours?

45 thoughts on “Why I Left Firefox For Chrome And Why I Came Back”

  1. My (Mac) browser story is a long one.
    Safari is my first of course, but it has the habit of hanging every now and then, much like Chrome used to do for you. So I switched to Chrome.
    All nice and stuff, I don’t care about customization much, apart from some Extensions I use, first of all the 1Password password manager (Absolutely awesome if you ask me). The problem with Chrome is that the 1Password extension isn’t really the state of the art, probably because of some Chrome limitation over Firefox addons.
    So I installed Firefox5. It _is_ fast, don’t get me wrong but… nah, it doesn’t cut it. Some addons are better, no doubt, but Chrome just FEELS better. Faster, snappier, just more responsive. On a Mac, of course.

    1. Gabriele, it’s kind of a mixed bag when it comes to browsers, isn’t it? Oh why did Netscape ever have to leave us?

  2. You’re right, the problems where with the plug-ins. I run FireFox at work with NO (wait..let me check…) installed plug-ins by me. There seems to be plenty that came in under the covers by Adobe, Microsoft and a couple of others. Time seems to be a killer of Windows machines. As MS and other add fixes or come out with new versions. Old stuff either needs to be updated or discarded if no longer supported.

    For Mac, I use Camino which does not 100% support the latest and greatest on the Web but rarely crashes or hangs. In fact, I do not remember the last time it did. When I do need compatibility, I switch over to Safari. An even rarer event.

    1. Scott, I think at work there’s things you wouldn’t do or need that might be different at home. I probably need to look at my toolbar to see what should go but I like having all the sites that I visit more often than others in the toolbar, so that plugin, or extension, was a must. Also, the extension I use to see website rankings is needed as it’s also a business tool. Some others just offer customization for pleasure, and if a major situation I could probably let those go, but I don’t want to.

      Still others had to go, if only because I didn’t know what they did anymore. FF is usually pretty good in telling you something isn’t compatible anymore but not perfect at it. And of course you remember me telling you something you can do with Firefox last week that, from what I’ve seen, you can’t do with other browsers.

  3. Hi Mitch,

    I switch browsers all of the time. If one starts acting up, I move to another. When an upgrade to one is released, I install it and give it a test drive. Some things just seem to work better on a specific browser, like the Firefox plugin for managing Amazon storage. (Well, it worked better until the last upgrade). Chrome is fast, but it was giving me trouble this weekend, so I uninstalled/reinstalled and it’s as good as new.


    1. Ray, I did that with Firefox today after doing the reinstall of Win 7 Sunday morning. I also am now keeping the Task Manager window open so I can check on it from time to time. Seems to be holding steady, only a couple of times even reaching 500MB, which the computer can easily handle.

  4. Hey Mitch,

    I wrote a post similar to this in May titled “How FireFox Almost Made Me Lose My Religion”. It did the same thing to me that it did to you in one day and I had had it. I went in search of answers on how to use Chrome so I shot a video showing you how to get around in it.

    I also had a guy named Ryan comment on my post because he works for Mozilla and he also said that most times it’s the plug-ins. My concern though was I didn’t use a lot of plug-ins and I hadn’t even updated to the latest version. He said that the way to check it is to disable them all and load them back one at a time because it’s usually something with one of the plug-ins that is the culprit. I had already lost my patience and had been using Chrome for two weeks when I wrote that post. I had to cool down before I could share with my readers my unpleasant experience. To say the least, I was pretty ticked off.

    Glad you figured out what it was and are having much better luck now. I can sympathize with you my friend.


    1. I think I read that post Adrienne, so I knew there was someone else going through it. You know, for years people have complained about Firefox being a resource hog, but finally reading about plugins and extensions eating things up started to make me think about streamlining some. In the end, for total functionality and fun Firefox can’t be touched.

  5. I was not happy with Firefox but Chrome caused my system to crash. The mental, if not financial repurcussions were not worth the effort.

    Now Internet Exporer (is it version 9?) also caused my system to crash.

    For now, I will stick with the clunky software that I have – I don’t have time to keep restoring and reinstalling.

    Oh, and BTW….. I am sick to death of web-based software that tracks everything I do. Sometimes I think I should be inviting them into my bedroom/bathroom – it would be less invasive!


    1. I hear you Althea, and welcome back! I hear what they say about targeted ads but my mind just sees FBI unlawful bugs of my phone, the one I rarely use probably because I think I’m being bugged. lol Right now all seems to be working fine and I’m holding my breath that it continues because Firefox really has the customization I want.

  6. Hi Mitch,

    I use both Chrome and Firefox all the time. Chrome for personal browsing and Firefox for SEO related stuff. I only use Firefox for that reason actually. Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems with Firefox yet. 🙂

  7. Hi Mitch,

    Last night I switched from Chrome to Firefox because my system was always hanging up. I chose Firefox because I was told that it was a much more secure browser without the ‘negative’ (?) things going on that you get with IE. I was also told that Firefox supports internet web standards and adheres to them better than Microsoft’s browser does.

    I’m not using any Firefox plugins though and, after reading your post, I will hold off on that.

    I will see how things go…

    1. Rachel, without the plugins Firefox should do a really decent job. I’ve always thought it was at least more secure than the other browsers.

  8. Recently disappointed by both browsers, first both are keeping too much cache and space, don’t get me wrong, I am using both as Mozilla is the default browser. I am looking it from web developer side, example I have a website which is caching everything, even the content served to visitors is cached (mod_deflate), if I make a change visual or structural, I have to delete browser cache to see it. This is not the biggest problem, I have seen so heavy caching that website which already does not exist is loaded completely. General incompatibility with add-ons for both, especially for downloads on Window 7, always file size mismatch. If I don’t need my SEO tools, I definitely will switch to Linux (Ubuntu distribution), it seems that things there are going slower and tested before get live into production and repositories.

    1. I know what you mean, Carl. Not only the caching but the pre-fetching of pages that you’re not really going to visit because the browsers are anticipating what you want to see next. I don’t know any physical mind readers that are that good so why they think they can build technology that reads our minds is beyond m.e

      1. I think not many people have habits to delete browser cache, and the way new browser versions are working I guess that default settings will feel at least 10GB in 10 days, especially if like watching Youtube videos. I am using freeware software which is deleting all tmp files everyday, the best is that it doing it for IE, Mozilla, Chrome and Opera at once + Windows temporary files.

      2. I don’t download movies onto my computer, Carl, because I’m not watching movies on my computer. Still, I have my cache set low now so even if I don’t remember to clear it often enough, there shouldn’t be lots in there to worry about.

  9. Hey Mitch, I know how you feel. When I use Firefox and open a lot of tabs in it, it just hangs up. Everytime I do that, it just stops. But how can we give it up when it’s very useful especially when it comes to SEO? 😀 I might disable and remove some of my unused plugins,too.

    1. That’s pretty much the only way to go for now Grace. I have one friend who says she can open upwards of 50 tabs at a time (oh my) but her computer is packed with RAM. I’m thinking about increasing mine at some point.

  10. When I switched to Firefox from IE i thought that this was it for me. After testing Chrome for a while i started to like the Google browser better: it seems faster, and what i like best is that in the same bar i can search for something or simply insert an address. So for the time being I’ll be using Chrome.

    1. Mia, Chrome isn’t bad. I just wanted customization that it doesn’t offer. Of course, if you really want speed you need Opera.

  11. Hello Mitch!

    Interesting post. I actually had a similar situation a couple years back…but now, I use Chrome almost exclusively. I do bring up firefox from time to time and I do like it – but Chrome is so much faster and offers quite a bit once you figure it all out (which took me a good few weeks).

    Many of the extensions and add-ons that that I have on Chrome, I also have firefox – so I’m able to basically do the same “stuff” with either browser.

    When it comes down to it for me. I love the speed of Chrome. It loads up faster, and loads pages faster for me. I guess because I haven’t had any resource or system issues with it I’m pretty darn happy with it.

    But I would be the same with Firefox. What I WON’T do is revert back to the hells of browsing… IE [any version]!

    1. That’s funny JK. Actually, I haven’t downloaded Win 9 yet even though it supposedly has new protections because I don’t feel like adding another 100MB to my computer just to load the sucker; that and I almost never open the one I have so why bother. I had heard Chrome was slightly faster, but these days all browsers are pretty fast.

  12. I tried installing Explorer 9 on my Vista machine. It gave me so much trouble (something to do with some incompatible flash/RealPlayer/video add-ons), I had to do a System Restore to an earlier time because I couldn’t fix the problem. So I went back to 8…

    Just curious, how many tabs/windows were you routinely opening in Firefox to hog all that memory ?

    1. Sonny, I rarely have more than 10 tabs open at a time, but one would think that regular webpages that aren’t accessing flash or anything else moving shouldn’t take up all that many more resources in general.

  13. I know this will make me sound like an old woman, even more so after my comments about privacy and social media use but I dont trust crome in terms of it knowing what I am doing and feeding back to google, I really dont like it at all.

    I feel like chrome is google ultimate spy tool….. I am coming across like a nutter on this blog!

    1. Danika, you’re killing me! lol I actually kind of agree with you on Chrome, especially since it’s the only browser where you actually have to give Google your information before you’re allowed to even download it, let alone install it. That was a reservation I had to break so I could give it a try.

  14. I was using firefox before and then I used google chrome today…But as days pass, I realize the things I need was in the firefox search engine…

    1. Clark, Firefox just offers so many things the other browsers don’t, which is why I came back.

  15. Great post and oh gosh, yes. Firefox eats up computer resources big time. And yes, it’s some of the plug-ins that are the cause. I uninstalled a few of them recently and am probably going to have to get rid of a couple more soon. It drives me crazy!

    I don’t use Google Toolbar, it always caused problems when I had it in the past, so now I make sure I don’t have it.

    The thing that’s eating more pc resources than anything at the moment is my anti-virus software. I’ve already changed it once this year, but am going to have to do so again.

    1. Val, which antivirus software are you using? I always had problems with both Norton & Panda, so I’m using the free AVG, which also check for malware, and it’s doing the job.

      I seem to have gotten Firefox to behave for the most part lately and that’s a good thing. Seems there’s things such as making your cache smaller and a few other tweaks that’s keeping things working okay. No crashes at all.

      1. I’m using McAfee at the moment, but I’ve also got one of the free ones on board – a reputable free one, but I’ve forgotten what it is, lol! Not AVG, I don’t think. Anyway, I use it for backup when McAfee’s being more glitchy than usual. I’ve wondered about AVG. I’ll have another look at it.

        Making the cache smaller seems a good idea, I’ll look into that too. Thanks Mitch. 🙂

  16. Hi Mitch, I agree that firefox has more applications than chrome. For me firefox is more stable and less likely to encounter crash. My problem with firefox is its loading time which I also feel are caused by the plug-ins. I find chrome more convenient to use, since it has a cleaner interface and more importantly can load faster.

    1. Robert, I don’t mind the loading time, and to be truthful, at least on my computer, it doesn’t load that much slower than Chrome or Opera. IE takes awhile to load, which is another reason I don’t like it.

    1. April, it just seems to depend on each person’s computer as to how these things work. Strange world at times, this technology. lol

  17. I had left FF for Chorme for a week, but somehow the ease, feel and comfort i had with FF wasn’t there. I was happy with FF and will be a FF loyalist in the future too..

    1. James, you’re feeling me. At least we can’t say we didn’t give something new a shot.

  18. I use Chrome pretty much 100% of the time. I sometimes switch over to Safari if something isn’t loading quite right. I tried using FF recently and it was just so much slower than Chrome. I tend do quickly jump around a lot of sites at once and have more than 20 tabs open – for me Chrome is the only browser that handles this

    1. John, I did notice in a test that Chrome seemed to handle lots of tabs being opened better. I just need my customization; call me spoiled. lol

  19. Hi Mitch.
    Thanks for sharing this. For me, well, I’d prefer Chrome still. Firefox needs more resources than Chrome, slower on loading, and beside, I used many Google’s services such as Gmail and Docs, which are better in Chrome.

    1. Andrew, truthfully I’ve never accessed Gmail except on my smartphone; I didn’t even know I had an account until 2 months ago. And I’ve only ever accessed Google Docs once, that to read a file someone else put up there. To me, Firefox isn’t all that slow, so I’m good with it for the moment, especially since it stopped crashing on me all the time.

  20. You know what Mitch, I did the same…Before, I use firefox but when i discovered the google chrome, i also used it and when I see that it gets slower, i switch back to firefox again…Now I am happy using firefox…

    1. Sometimes that’s the best way to go, Robin; you test something, then if it doesn’t work the way you want it to you go back to what you know and enjoy it.

      Can I ask you a question? Here your name is Robin and you’re white, but at your website you’re Steven and Asian; kind of doesn’t seem, well, legit.

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