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How to enable Firefox WebRender for faster page rendering

How to enable Firefox WebRender for faster page rendering

If you want to speed up the rendering of the Firefox page, Jack Wallen shows you how to activate a new composite engine, WebRender.

WebRender has been working for a while now. Built as a GPU-based 2D rendering engine written in Rust, the goal of WebRender is to make page rendering faster and smoother. Although the feature has been in the planning for a while, it has not yet been released to full scale.

If you are using version 67 or newer than Firefox (which should be, because it is a fairly old browser version), you can activate this rendering engine. Surprisingly enough, even using version 78.0.2 on Linux, macOS, and Windows or the Nightly version on Linux shows that WebRender is not enabled by default.

After I activate this feature, I see a page rendering that feels faster. So even though WebRender isn’t ready for mass adoption, it already shows promise and serious stability.

So how do you activate this feature to enjoy faster and smoother page rendering? Let me show you

What do you need

To enable WebRender, you need the latest release of the Firefox web browser on any desktop or laptop platform.

How to activate WebRender

Open your Firefox web browser. In the address bar type:

about:config

You will be warned that there is a risk looming ahead (Figure A).

Figure A

1

You have been fully warned of the risks.

Click Accept Risk and Continue. In the resulting window, type the following in the search bar (Figure B):

gfx.webrender.all

Figure B

2

The main window about: config.

You should immediately see the gfx.webrender.all entry appear (Figure C).

Figure C.

3

Gfx.webrender. All entries in about: config.

Click the right and left arrows to the right of the entry to switch gfx.webrender.all from false to true. After you see true in the middle, close it and restart Firefox. When Firefox reopens, type the following in the address bar:

about:support

Press Enter on your keyboard and, when the page loads, scroll down to the Graphics section. You will see Compositing listed as WebRender (Figure D).

Figure D

4

We have successfully switched from a basic composting engine to WebRender.

I can enable WebRender for Linux and the MacOS version of Firefox. On Windows 10, however, I didn’t. Even though about: config shows WebRender is enabled, about: support is still listed in the Compositing engine as a basis. This could be because my Windows 10 instance is running as a VirtualBox VM. Interestingly enough, however, an instance of Ubuntu Linux running as a VirtualBox VM does not accept changes, so your mileage can vary.

And that’s all there is to enable the Mozilla WebRender compositing machine in Firefox. Do this and see if your page rendering time can reach warp speed.

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