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When I use Google I can access websites and emails fast but with Firefox I am being timed out - I am not technical - what is most likely to be causing this problem as I would like to get rid of Google before they start selling information.

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I have even been timed out of asking this question. Even main websites such as the BBC are being timed out?

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Regarding Google and their privacy policy you may be interested in https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/how-remove-your-google-search-history-googles-new-privacy-policy-takes-effect

What is your connection presumably some sort of broadband rather than a slow dial-up modem that is rarely used in the UK.

The BBC actually has a dignostic page that should confirm your connection speed, and includes links to other sites also able to run tests.

It is possible that some security software is blocking firefox access, what Firewall and security software do you use, that is probably the commonest reason for problems. Have a look at these articles for suggestions

Your firefox settings, for instance for proxy use may be incorrect if nothing at all on the web will connect