Firefox problems loading a specific website
April 12, 2005 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a strange problem with Firefox in relation to a single website. When I start the program, the site loads with no problem. I can reload the site several times, but after a few times, rather than successfully reloading, Firefox will just sit there, spinning the "loading" icon in the tab in question. This continues so long as I have this particular instance of Firefox open, but if I quit and restart the program, I can access the site with no problems.

OK; the site in question is Metafilter, but I decided that this was more of a Firefox-related question than a Metafilter-related question, so I posted here. There is no similar problem in IE. I tried deleting all Metafilter cookies and logging out but neither action made a difference. No error messages or timeouts occur; the browser will sit there "loading" all day if I let it.

This is annoying the hell out of me, as I don't want to have to quit and restart my browser each time I'm trying to reload MeFi (which, as I'm sure you all know, is often).
posted by mr_roboto to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Oh, and version 1.0.2 on XP Professional, for what it's worth.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:35 AM on April 12, 2005

I have the same problem (usually found when MeFi is down), but perhaps the Firefox Support Forum is a better spot for this query.
posted by terrapin at 11:42 AM on April 12, 2005

Is it only on the front page? It could have something to do with the Flash jewelboxing ad on there.
posted by smackfu at 11:58 AM on April 12, 2005

I had this problem with Firefox stalling on Metafilter, the same exact symptoms you describe, and it went away when I disabled the Flashblock extension.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:59 AM on April 12, 2005

I am running Flashblock. Weirdly, when I try to disable it, it doesn't get disabled. Even after restarting the browser, flash objects appear as the icon, which must be clicked to activate them. I added Metafilter to my Flashblock whitelist, though, and that allows the ad to load normally. We'll see if it makes a difference....
posted by mr_roboto at 12:19 PM on April 12, 2005

(What I did, actually, was uninstall it, not just disable it. I later reinstalled it - possibly a newer version - and the problem has not come back.)
posted by Wolfdog at 12:23 PM on April 12, 2005

What, other extensions are running? I have had problems with adblock on sites that use flash banner ads. Not w/ mefi per se, however. As with FlashBlock, That problem was also diagnosed by disabling adblock and reloading, FWIW.
posted by misterbrandt at 12:37 PM on April 12, 2005

Since I've whitelisted it in Flashblock, it hasn't been a problem. I think that was it!
posted by mr_roboto at 2:40 PM on April 12, 2005

It sounds like a memory leak problem, and extensions seem to exacerbate memory leak problems, probably because the javascript garbage collector doesn't work as well as it should. (Most extensions are written in javascript.)

When you start FF, check the amount of memory (and virtual memory) it's using. Then check again after a number of page loads. You'll see that the amount of memory used only increases. At some point, the memory being used exceeds the physical memory available on your system. At that point swapping occurs, which slows things down, but probably worse, the javascript garbage collector tries to collect garbage, and your CPU utilization hits 100% for a time as it does this, making FF unresponsive.
posted by orthogonality at 4:51 PM on April 12, 2005

I don't think it was a memory leak. Firefox was completely responsive: I could have a dozen tabs open and be browsing pages with flash, javascript, etc. with no noticeable drag. CPU utilization certainly wasn't anywhere near 100%. The only problem was that Metafilter wouldn't load.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:08 PM on April 12, 2005

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