Firefox 6: 4 reasons to upgrade

Speed, security and an unbeatable price are among the reasons to take the plunge and get the newest version of Firefox.

Mozilla has more than a thousand changes under the hood of the latest version of Firefox, but only few provide worthwhile reasons for upgrading to the newest release of the browser.

All about the speed

The first reason is speed, although that point is debatable. According to Mozilla, startup times with Firefox 6 are better than its predecessor, especially if a user is using Firefox's Panorama feature. Panorama allows users to organize tabs into groups. Having Firefox launch several groups on startup has been a sure-fire way to bog down that process in the past.

Any speed improvements over the sluggish performance of Firefox 5 is welcome news for users, but overall performance of Firefox's latest incarnation appears to be more problematic. For example, Dan Howley pointed out in Laptop magazine that Firefox 6 is actually slower than its progenitor when evaluated with a benchmarking program called Peacemaker.

Peacemaker evaluates a browser's performance using Java and assigns a score to it. The higher the score, the better the performance. Firefox 6 had a score of 4.572 when Howley ran Peacemaker on it. That's slightly lower than Firefox 5, which scored 4.733. By comparison, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 scored 4.830 and Chrome got 8.400.

Benchmarking scores, though, can be deceptive, which may be the case with Firefox 6. It may score lower than the previous release of the program, but from a user's point of view, it feels faster.

URL display

Another reason to upgrade to Firefox 6 is the way it displays URLs in the address bar. The domain of a website is more distinct than the rest of its address. So in a URL like http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/6.0/releasenotes/, www.mozilla.com would be emphasized.

That's a feature that Chrome and IE9 have had for some time. While it seems like a simple addition, it's valuable for quickly spotting if a URL is questionable, as might be the case if a user clicks on larcenous link in a phishing message.

Security

Security is also bolstered in Firefox 6 with a new permissions feature. It allows a user to configure the permissions for a particular website by typing "about:permissions" on the address bar. With it, a user can configure such things as acceptance of cookies, location sharing, pop-ups, passwords and data storage.

Why is that a selling point for Firefox 6? It lets a user beef up the overall security of the browser, while letting the person remove restrictions on sites they trust. By choosing tough restrictions as the default security settings for the software, a user can be better protected against accidentally visiting a malicious website and getting their computer infected with malware. Yet, users don't have to worry about the restrictions creating a barrier to productive use of trusted sites.

It's free

The fourth reason for upgrading to Firefox 6 is probably the least compelling, but also the most irresistible. Firefox 6 is a free upgrade to a favorite program. What more reason does a user need?

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Firefoxapplicationsbrowserssoftwaremozilla

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?