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Is 64-Bit Waterfox Better Than Firefox?

Is 64-Bit Waterfox Better Than Firefox?

waterfoxWarren writes:

Just curious to know if anyone has tried waterfox web browser. It’s for 64 bit systems and is from mozilla. Installed it a couple days ago and while I have no tools to benchmark it, seems faster than the others with no compatibility issues with any site. Not easy to find on mozilla’s site but maybe someone could give it a spin and see what they think. I downloaded it from scourceforge.

Waterfox is a 64-bit variant of the Mozilla Firefox browser. If you have a 64-bit CPU and are running a 64-bit OS (like Windows 7 64-bit), you can try it out if you like.

It is true that with modern 64-bit Flash and 64-bit Java, both of which work like they’re supposed to, using a 64-bit browser is something that will work just like a 32-bit browser these days.

However there are still a few important things to know.

Just because an app is 64-bit does not magically make it better

People see “64” instead of “32” and think that because the number is doubled, the app must be better. Most of the time this isn’t true.

Now if we’re talking about, say, a video editing suite that requires gobs and gobs of memory to crunch and render video data faster, then oh yes, 64-bit is better because that architecture can process and access everything quicker.

In a browser application, 64-bit at this point really hasn’t proven to be any better than the 32-bit flavors. You can benchmark-benchmark-benchmark all day long and spout out numbers-numbers-numbers, but the fact of the matter is that in practical use, you will notice little to no difference in performance compared to a 32-bit browser.

Think of it this way: Would you notice a difference between a 32-bit Microsoft Word and a 64-bit Microsoft Word? Nope. Document load time – especially over a network – would only be slightly faster on 64-bit (meaning you really wouldn’t notice any significant difference). Startup and shutdown would show no major difference in speed. You get the idea.

This is Firefox we’re talking about

Being that Waterfox is Firefox in 64-bit flavor, it still has the exact same memory-munching problem Firefox does. That’s not fixed, and that’s not Waterfox’s fault at all. The way the engine works just explodes in memory use by nature.

Yes, this does mean by having the three tabs open of webmail, Facebook and Netflix that Waterfox will explode up to half-a-gig of memory use just by sitting there just like Firefox does. Again, this is not Waterfox’s fault. It’s from the engine the browser uses.

Using unofficial builds of browsers is not exactly a good idea

Major browsers release security updates quickly should any problems be discovered, and the unofficial builds are always second in line for them. Whatever team is building the unofficial build receives a notice from the official provider, they compile a version, then release – but it’s always after that major provider releases it first. And sometimes this can take weeks or even months for this to happen. Why? Because unofficial builds of browsers are released by small teams that don’t have the resources the major providers have. In other words, they “get to it when they get to it”. No, this is not an accusation of laziness whatsoever. Like I said, smaller teams of programmers just don’t have the time and resource larger teams do.

Should you use Waterfox?

I downloaded it and tried it out. It’s a good 64-bit browser, and the nice part is that it operates using the same profile as your existing Firefox installation as far as I can tell. Add-ons that work in regular Firefox seem to work in Waterfox with no issues, so that’s good.

However if you’re expecting the fact Waterfox is 64-bit to cure existing issues with Firefox primarily concerning performance and memory-munching, I seriously doubt anyone who uses it will notice any significant difference.

But don’t take my word for it. Try Waterfox for yourself and see if it works fro you.

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8 thoughts on “Is 64-Bit Waterfox Better Than Firefox?”

Guest says:
There is a difference between 32bit and 64bit its in the math. Besides that though majority of viruses target 32bit instruction, if the argument isn’t all about speed then from a security stand point 64bit has an edge. But regardless what bit or what browser you choose at the end of the day an added security layer might help, removing javascript or completely blocking it. Majority of malware comes through js ironic no?
Bob Campbell says:
I liked Waterfox at first because it allowed some add-ons that Firefox made unusable. But my mouse and keyboard go crazy while Waterfox is running. This trouble goes beyond just Waterfox. It affects other windows too.
Daniel Lewis says:
Currently the Waterfox build is up to I’ve found it so much more reliable than Firefox ever was because in the six or so months that I’ve been using it, I’ve not had it lock up once. Firefox, on a good day, would lock up my entire system at least once. I have 32GB of RAM, these days that is enough but who knows what tomorrow will bring! As an aside, Bil Gates said famously 512KB (YES, KILOBYTES, 1/2 of 1 MB!) is more than enough memory that any computer will ever need’ or something like that. Waterfox takes as much memory as Opera when I open the sames tabs in each browser.

The only add-on that quit working for me is Image Zoom. It was one of my favorites but find that CTRL+ and CTRL- work sufficiently for my needs.

All in all, I like Waterfox. I hope to never have to go back to Firefox.

Alan says:
I have just started to use Waterfox, after using Firefox for many years.
Firefox crashed and I couldn’t get it working again, despite re-installing it.
Waterfox works just fine.
Greg says:
32 bit Firefox has a practical limit of around 2 gig of memory useage, 2.7 was the most I saw, then it would crash. That, my friend, is a problem. Waterfox, or any 64bit browser, will use all the memory you can install.

I keep around 12 windows open, each with at least 12+ tabs. Yea, I am a webhog, but that’s how I browse, I find this makes my work more efficient.

No browser is going to make a slow website load faster. This is because these days, web programmers insist on running compute intensive scripts, and on pulling in data from a dozen plus additional websites. Most websites pull data from the same dozen plus servers, so those servers get pounded with traffic, and the result is the website you want to load, will load no faster than the slowest server on the internet. Adware, Facebook and Google integration, spyware, all contribute to website bloatware.

ratchet says:
Unfortunately waterfox has become a dud browser with failed releases, constant bugs problems. over waterfox as a whole its pretty much dead, no support at all ether.

i came across cyberfox on teh overclockers forums and i have to say its dam nice fastest i’ve seen for an x64 bit variant faster then waterfox, stable no bug’s, but it gets better the developer really strives to provide awesome support he replies quick to any issues, bugs, problems or even just questions.

fast releases also most times a day before the official Firefox. i give cyberfox 10 star’s but i will let you guys be the judge. give it a try i would love to read a review like this one cyberfox.

Nemo says:
The year is now 2017. The browser? Waterfox v55.0.2. Just downloaded from the author’s website, the browser is fast, stable, and will let me run extensions that Firefox has now decided I shouldn’t be allowed to run in their WebX experiment. So far, the change has been very positive.
portland home builder says:
I have been using waterfox for the last month and I really wanted it to be faster since I often have 12 or more tabs on a 2560×1600 screen. On this particular computer I only have 4gb of  ddr3 ram( albeit they do run at 2000mhz) so I wonder if it would be faster if I had more ram and used a ram disk as the cache as I am unfortunately still using a spinning disk. Anyone have diff experiences with a ram disk or perhaps a good sata 3 ssd on sata 3 connection?
Guest says:
I use Waterfox; there doesn’t seem to be much of a noticeable difference, except for a plugin headache that can’t be helped: if it’s 32-bit, it doesn’t work. In my case, I have two plugins that are hit by this. Acrobat Reader’s browser plugin doesn’t work; you’re stuck downloading the documents and opening them in Reader. Also, IETab+ is broken; if you try to open a page in IETab, the entire tab becomes the gray-striped “plugin missing” box. I’m sticking with it, though; I play a lot of flash games and Facebook apps, and coupling 64-bit Flash with a 64-bit browser makes the most sense to me.

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Jan 19, 2012

642 Articles Published