Remote Firefox over SSH is pretty usable until you try a right click to make context menu show up. It takes about 5 seconds for the context menu to appear. It seems it takes many round trips.

ssh -c blowfish-cbc -C -Y host

I believe with the above command, it's more faster. I heard blowfish-cbc cipher is pretty fast while being secure. Is there anything else I should look?

But then maybe that is just placebo effect. I don't know how to time this 5 seconds event exactly.

3 Answers 3


Give FreeNX a try.

  • He he could just tunnel his traffic instead of pulling a remote X app over SSH. Sep 9, 2009 at 19:29
  • +1 for NX. I have since dumped SSH/XDMCP for NX.
    – sybreon
    Sep 10, 2009 at 0:49
  • There's no download link on that FreeNX website and it's in German. Here's an installation guide for Ubuntu and one for Arch Oct 1, 2019 at 15:59

Here is the change I have made to make firefox runnable over X11forwarding. I have bolden the most efficient modification. The major problem seens to be caused by the subsection of the start/new page, disabled it have make firefox feel from sluggish to blazing fast.

firefox config modification


edit and change for

  • browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.highlights false
  • browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.topstories false
  • toolkit.cosmeticAnimations.enabled false browser.ctrlTab.previews
  • false browser.urlbar.maxRichResults -1
  • browser.download.animateNotifications false
  • dom.animations-api.element-animate.enabled false
  • image.mem.animated.discardable false
  • browser.tabs.remote.autostart false
  • Browser.startup.page 0


extensions.checkCompatibility false

manual modification


disable all performance setting:

  • use recommanded performance setting
  • use hardware acceleration

disable: autoscrolling et use smooth scrolling.


  • disable: allow firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla
  • disable: prevent accessibility service from accessing your browser

sshd_config modification

  • X11Forwarding yes
  • TCPKeepAlive yes
  • UseDNS yes
  • Compression yes
  • Ciphers blowfish-cbc,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,cast128-cbc,arcfour,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc

Are you running Firefox on the remote end? Or are you using Firefox locally and using ssh to tunnel your HTTP traffic?

If you're actually tunneling an X11 connection over ssh, you're pretty much doing everything you can do outside of buying expensive hardware to eke out more performance. You can switch your cipher to arcfour to get a little more performance, but the security is questionable.

  • I'm using Firefox on the remote end. Maybe I should use NX.
    – RamyenHead
    Sep 10, 2009 at 8:08
  • You might have to. NX is supposed to be quite good. Out of curiosity, what kind of network links are you running the forwarded session over? It really shouldn't be that terribly slow.
    – Josh Budde
    Sep 10, 2009 at 14:55

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