Is there an x64/64-bit version of Firefox?

Yes, but ...
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

'Is there an x64/64-bit version of Firefox?'

I've been asked this question a lot lately.

So is there an x64/64-bit version of Firefox available. The short answer is yes.

Oh, you wanted more. Yes, but ...

OK, I'll stop teasing. Yes, there is an x64/64-bit version of Firefox, and it's 100% official code. The 'but' is that it is a nightly build of version 12 (the current official release is version 9) and it's really only suited to testing rather than daily use. Using it will be buggy and plugin support will be close to non-existent.

In other words, unless you are testing, you shouldn't run this. If you are, you can download the nightly build from here.

But there's another option open to you. While Firefox doesn't yet offer an x64/64-bit version of Firefox, because the project is open source, this means that others are free to do just that.

Enter The Pale Moon Project. Here is a project that takes the official Mozilla code for Firefox and builds highly-optimized code both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems.

Why run a Pale Moon version of Firefox? Here are the reasons offered by the project:

  • Highly optimized for modern processors
  • 100% Firefox sourced: As safe as the browser that has seen years of development.
  • Uses slightly less memory because of disabled redundant and optional code
  • Significant speed increases for page drawing and script processing (in testing with SunSpider, Kraken and the V8 benchmarks, I'm not seeing these speed increases)
  • Stability: experience fewer browser crashes
  • Support for SVG and Canvas, and downloadable fonts including WOFF
  • Support for HTML5 and WebGL (v4+)
  • Support for Firefox extensions (add-ons), themes and personas
  • Support for OOPP (Out-of-process plugin execution)
  • Able to use existing Firefox bookmarks and settings with this migration tool

There's a 'but' with Pale Moon too ... some features are missing. Specifically accessibility features and parental controls, so if you want these, you're outta luck. Another bump in the road is that if you want add-on support, then bear in mind that 64-bit add-ons and plugins are very rare. For most people, the limited number of plugins is likely to be a big deal-breaker.

So, yes there is an an x64/64-bit version of Firefox, but chances are you're not going to want it.

Editorial standards