Webpage loading speed depends on the size of the HTML file as well as the sum of all embedded contents like images, videos and scripts. Most web designers (and websites) today use images liberally on the site’s background, buttons, icons, logo, and so on. Sure they look nice but they also slow down the speed at which the page loads.
On a typical webpage, images constitute more than 50% of the download time. On highly decorative and media rich websites this can be as high as 90% and more. If you have a fast Internet connection, you probably won’t notice much difference but once you switch on to a slow network such as mobile Internet, every byte counts.
A quick way to speed up browsing is to disable images. But turning off images completely looks real bad, and often it breaks the layout of the page. And what if you want to see pictures on a webpage, just for once?
In Opera there is a nice feature where it is possible to selectively control when and how images are loaded on a webpage. You can load images from the browser’s cache, or quickly turn images on and off with the click of a button. The add-on ImgLikeOpera brings this feature to Firefox.
ImgLikeOpera comes with four policies:
- Don’t load images
- Load cached images only
- Load images for this site only
- Load all images
You can cycle through these four policies by clicking the ImgLikeOpera icon in the add-on bar or using the menu. The third policy enables you to load images on selected websites while still blocking images on others or loading images from cache, depending on what your default policy is.
You can assign a default policy for a new tab or window, or you can make the new tab acquire a image loading policy from the previous or parent tab. So if the current tab is set to load images, any new tab you open using the ‘new tab’ button or by clicking a hyperlink on the page will automatically set itself to load images. This is not the default behavior, so you have to check that option from the add-on’s settings window.
ImgLikeOpera also comes with filtering option using which you can block or load specific images. The filter rules are similar to the ones you find on the Adblock extension. For example, you can create a filter for *.jpeg or http://example.com/images/logo.png.
Other useful options include an integrated Flash blocker, ability to set image expiry period in the cache from 5 minutes to 3 months, and insert a delay, in milliseconds, between page load and loading of images.
ImgLikeOpera is a great extension. You should install it even if you have a fast internet connection. It will help you shave off at least a few hundred megabytes from your monthly bandwidth.