Over the last few months the amount of visitors using Mozilla Firefox has grown to about 25%. The amount of bandwidth being used has also increased a large amount. Part of the reason behind this is that many Firefox users use an extension called “Fasterfox”. This extension “pre-fetches” links on a page so that if the user were to click on a link it would load much faster because its already been downloaded. This may be more convenient for viewer, but is a major problem for many webmasters who are low on bandwidth. Since Fasterfox constantly requests new files, it can cause many servers to overload much faster than if a person viewing the same content without Fasterfox were to view it.
Fasterfox is in fact one of the most popular extensions for Firefox. It is currently ranked as the 3rd most downloaded extension for Firefox on Mozilla Update page. (aka. Firefox Add-ons) The latest version of Fasterfox, v1.0.3, checks the for the robots.txt file on the site the viewer is visiting to check whether it should pre-fetch or not. This new feature allows webmasters to add the following text (in bold) to their robots.txt file to prevent Fasterfox from pre-fetching links. Text To Add To “robots.txt”:
- User-agent: Fasterfox
- Disallow: /
Adding these two lines somewhere in your robots.txt file and placing it in the root folder will prevent Fasterfox from pre-fetching links anywhere on your site. (ex: yourwebsite.com/robots.txt) Webmasters can modify the text so that Fasterfox will only be prevented from pre-fetching on specified directories. Still have questions? Ask us! (reply in the comments)