Mozilla / FireFox 'prefetch' Behavior
FireFox and Mozilla browsers incorporate a possibly useful feature
called "prefetch," but it's not something that's terribly
useful unless you're on a dial-up Internet connection
and it might well get you in trouble by "prefetching"
objectionable material. In particular, the Google search
engine provides support for this prefetching behavior -
so, if Google decides the most relevant results of one
of your searches is an objectionable page and your
Firefox browser is set to perform prefetching, you
could find yourself in trouble for accessing forbidden
content even if you never see the page(s) in question.
The scary thing is this: FireFox has prefetching
turned on by default. Most people aren't even
aware that the "prefetch" behavior is taking place,
much less that they may be leaving interesting tracks
in the server logs all day long as the result of
Here's the good news: it's easy to turn off this
behavior. Pick one of the following approaches:
Change Setting from the GUI
You can toggle this setting by typing about:config
in the FireFox location bar. This will bring up a
settings page that lists all your settings. Use the
filter function at the top of the page to filter
for network.prefetch-next, or simply scroll
down until you find the network.prefetch-next
setting. Right-click on 'true' and choose "Toggle"
to turn off prefetching.
Edit prefs.js File
Add or edit this line in the prefs.js file
located in your Mozilla profile directory:
So, now you know. Go forth and turn off prefetching,
unless you're surfing the Internet over dial-up
and actually receive some benefit from the feature.
Even on a dial-up account, try comparing your
surfing speed with and without this feature - you
may find that you'd rather explicitly load pages
from search results than have Google give your
browser a strong hint that causes it to begin
prefetching pages even before you ask for them.