Part of Firefox's appeal stems from its powerful add-ons system, which allows users to install plug-ins that add to the browser's functionality. Here are 40 extensions that will turbocharge your surfing experience. By automating tasks, providing more control over how websites are displayed, and adding new ways to search for information, these extensions will make Firefox faster and easier to use.
StartHQ transforms your new tab page into a productivity center, with quick links to your favorite social networks, websites, webmail, webapps and other online services. Users can easily add more links and services, and 'deep links' allow you to quickly reach commonly used functions and related locations like social media profiles or webmail inboxes.
It's amazing how much productive time we can fritter away checking social media, doing stray web searches, looking up dank memes or staring at cat photos. RescueTime is a Firefox extension that calls us out on this, logging our online time and showing us how often we visit certain sites, as well as how productive you actually are with your online hours.
The ScrapBook extension helps users easily save web pages and sites. Users can save entire pages or snippets, and then organize their collection within the ScrapBook sidebar like a bookmarks folder. Search and filter tools let you quickly browse through your collection to find what you're looking for, and a built in editor lets you work on saved text/HTML.
Download Plan is a Firefox downloads extension that allows users to schedule a download plan of files, allowing you to avoid peak hours or windows of time when you might have a throttled connection speed, among others. Users can set up download locations, schedule download times, queue up links and then fire and forget. Just leave your machine on and connected to the net, Download Plan does its work.
If you do a lot of graphic design work with websites, you know that getting the colors just right can make or break an entire project. ColorZilla is a handy tool that easily allows users to create exact color matches using an eyedropper tool that can output RGB and Pantone codes. ColorZilla also comes with a gradient generator, palette viewer, a web page color analyzer for quickly coming up with a site's palette, the ability to take colors from Flash objects and other helpful features.
Save File To
Rather than having to fish around with the explorer window when saving files and links to your local drive, why not just save files to straight to pre-set folders like your photo library, ebooks directory and more? Save File To is a simple Firefox addon that does just that, adding options to save in custom directories in the right-click context menu and download interface.
Readability is a free streamlined reading app that trims away website clutter to present articles and website content into a neat, clean, easily readable view. The Readability addon allows users to Read Now (the clutter free view), save the article for reading later, or send articles to Kindle for easy reading on a dedicated reading app.
LeechBlock is a productivity assistant tool that allows users to automatically block time-wasting sites like social networks and media sites at given hours of the day. Users can set up top six websites to block, which is a bit few, but it has a flexible "when to block" feature that allows you to block at given hours of the day, or set yourself a time limit (for example, blocking after 15 minutes of use every hour), or combination thereof.
Webmail addicts may want to try out X-notifier, a Firefox addon that checks your linked accounts for any new email messages received. Notifications can arrive in an envelope icon in Firefox's status bar, a popup window, or a dedicated sidebar. The app supports many popular webmail services such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL. Additionally, the addon is further extensible with user-generated scripts to support other sites and services such as Facebook, Twitter, Yandex, mail.ru and more.
Getting a migraine from trying to read atrociously small fonts or poorly colored text? Give NoSquint a try. NoSquint allows users to override the default text-only and full page zoom levels on websites, as well as set your own preferred foreground and background colors. The addon then remembers your settings and automatically applies them to the website on your next visit.
Awesome Screenshot is a powerful browser screenshot addon that allows users to take screenshots of an entire website or sections of it, while also providing users with the ability to annotate screenshots with text and shapes, and then upload it with links for easy online sharing.
Tab Kit 2nd Edition
Tab Kit 2E provides power users with tons of new options for organizing and displaying their tabs from within Firefox. In addition to the traditional horizontal tab bar, Tab Kit 2E can display tabs in multiple horizontal rows, as well as in a vertical, sidebar style format. In addition, the addon allows users to group tabs together, nest them in trees in the sidebar mode, sort tags, duplicate tags and more.
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets can be used to apply customized themes to websites, changing how they look, behave, filtering out irrelevant content, changing colors or even completely redesigning a site. Stylish is a Firefox addon that allows users to easily apply, remove and manage these custom user styles, many of which can be found in Stylish's companion site, userstyles.org.
Click & Clean
Click & Clean provides users with an easy way to quickly or selectively clear Firefox's browsing history, cookies, temporary files and other private and browser data. Users can simply click on the toilet paper icon to flush everything, configure the browser to automatically clean up when closed, or selectively clear certain types of browser data. Click & Clean can even call up an external application like CCleaner if you want a more thorough rinse.
Disconnect is a powerful browser add-on that allows users to see advertising, analytics and social media tracking cookies, with the option of disabling them globally or selectively. The extension comes with a host of features, including the ability to create whitelists and blacklists of permitted trackers, a visualization tool for listing the trackers on a particular site and an indicator of how much time and bandwidth is saved by blocking trackers and other elements.
Thumbnail Zoom Plus
Thumbnail Zoom Plus is a simple but useful add-on that displays a full-sized image when you hover your mouse over an image or video preview link for a variety of popular online sites and services, saving you mouse clicks and page load times. Supported sites include Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube and Flickr.
Rather than functioning as a new cookie management plugin, Self-Destructing Cookies applies a simple cookie management system to Firefox: all cookies are automatically removed when no longer in use by an open browser tab. This simple setup is designed for maximum privacy, expunging cookies that can be used by websites to track your online browsing habits, and if users wish, they can also whitelist a particular site's cookies and local storage, if they want to avoid the hassle of repeatedly logging in to a trusted site.
Turn Off the Lights
If you spend a lot of time viewing online videos, give Turn Off the Lights a shot. When users click on the play button, Turn Off the Lights automatically dims the website background in order to provide a more cinematic feel and reduce visual clutter. The add-on is highly configurable, with keyboard shortcuts, custom colors, the option for fade effects and more options.
Evernote Web Clipper
Evernote Web Clipper lets users save entire Web pages complete with text, images and links straight to their Evernote notebooks with just a few clicks. You can save entire pages, or highlight sections, text or images to more selectively capture regions of the page. A minimalist option lets users Clip URLs to just save a particular link. In addition to Web clipping, the extension allows users to search through their Evernote content via their search bar.
If you'd rather do without the ads you see on your favorite websites, Adblock Plus comes preloaded with a set of filters that block almost any form of online advertising. Users can also add new filters for any ads this extension may have missed. ABP features a quick setup, loading preset filter lists that allow users to quickly block most ads, as well as the option to filter malware and social media buttons. Savvy users can chose additional block lists, as well as set custom filters or whitelists. AdBlock Plus allows what it calls "non-intrusive advertising" through filters, which may irk some users, though this can be disabled in settings.
Be aware that many ad blockers don't block all ads, and that most websites — including this one — depend on those ads to pay the bills.
The Invisible Hand isn't just a metaphor for market forces, it's also a great online shopping extension that helps users find the lowest prices online. Covering more than 580 online retailers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, Invisible Hand discreetly notifies users of the existence of a better price for a given item, airline flight or hotel stay. The in-browser notification supplies a direct link to the competing site with the best price, or a dropdown menu to compare prices at other sites.
Tired of tracking down and saving coupon codes and discounts? Then Honey might just be the Firefox extension for you. Honey automatically finds and tests coupon codes for more than 100 online stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Simply go about your shopping as normal, and on checkout, hit the Find Savings button in order to have Honey track down and attempt to apply coupon codes. Heavy online shoppers will save both time and money with this impressive app.
The All-in-One Sidebar (AiOS) adds a useful sidebar pane that can display a myriad of tools and info, such as bookmarks, history, download status, add-on status and Web page information. There's even a multipanel mode that lets you open up another website in the sidebar. The extension's window is easily collapsible for unobtrusive browsing and also features customization options so you can tweak it to your liking.
Lazarus Form Recovery
We've all been in that spot before: a lightning strike knocks out power or a pet or child yanks your PC's power cord. If you were busy working on long, complex Web forms, you'd think all your work was lost, right? Well, Lazarus Form Recovery swoops to the rescue, automatically saving form information as you type, allowing you to recover work in the event of a power outage, server timeout, browser crash or whatever else Murphy's Law throws at you. Information is kept locally and encrypted to maintain your security.
Flashblock does just that: blocks Macromedia Flash and related content, leaving only blank placeholder content that can let Flash material through with a single click. While it can mess with sites that rely heavily on Flash, Flashblock at least gives you the placeholder option, and also includes a whitelist function to automatically allow Flash content from some sources while blocking the rest.
Pocket is an offline viewing service that allows users to "Pocket" articles, videos, images and other online content and then access them for later viewing. Pocket's plugin integrates seamlessly with Firefox, and allows users to save content for offline viewing, and then sync it across multiple platforms for on-the-go content consumption. Additional features include a text view mode that strips away images and fancy layouts, as well as a "Click to Save" mode that allows you to quickly save content just by clicking on links.
Web of Trust
Web of Trust is a crowd-sourced security add-on that uses an intuitive color-coded system to rate the trustworthiness of websites. Links are paired with a colored disk to indicate the site's general user-rated trustworthiness and you can view more detailed ratings based on trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. While not a replacement for a good computer security suite, it's an added layer of protection.
HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension produced as part of a collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. HTTPS Everywhere helps encrypt your online browsing and communications by rewriting HTTP link requests to HTTPS when within a whitelist of sites that support HTTPS.
LastPass is a free online password manager and Form Filler that reduces the headache of managing multiple user accounts and passwords, making your browsing experience smoother and more secure. LastPass also includes the ability to import and export passwords from major password storage services such as RoboForm, 1 Password and KeePass, as well as Chrome, Firefox, and IE's built in password managers. It also features the ability to sync your password details across multiple browsers and computers.
XMarks is a bookmarking add-on that backs up and synchronizes your bookmarks on each of your computers, integrating with your browser and keeping your favorite links safely backed up. Besides Firefox, XMarks also supports Chrome, IE and Safari.
DownThemAll! is a Firefox download manager featuring an accelerator that can increase speed up to four times, while also allowing you to pause and resume downloads. Open-source, free and unencumbered by adware or spyware, this handy little tool deserves to be on any Firefox user's shortlist of installed add-ons.
Academically inclined users may find Zotero to be a godsend. Developed by the Center for History and New Media, Zotero is a free tool that helps researchers collect, organize, share and properly cite their research sources for academic use. Quickly grab and save articles, news stories, PDFs, images, audio and video into a fully searchable library. Items can be organized into collections, tagged and -- best of all -- automatically formatted for proper citation usage in footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations or bibliographies.
Fasterfox takes a good browser and optimizes it for faster performance. The add-on allows for a host of network and rendering tweaks such as modifying simultaneous connections, HTTP pipelining, cache tweaking and more. In addition, Fasterfox functions as a pop-up blocker. It also includes "Enhanced Prefetching," taking advantage of idle bandwidth to silently load and cache all links on the page you are browsing. Enhanced Prefetching can markedly speed up browsing, but can also occasionally cause complications, so give it a shot and turn it off if it doesn't quite work out for you.
Contemporary operating systems already let users capture snapshots of what's on their computer monitors, but what if you wanted to save a copy of an entire Web page? FireShot can do just that, capturing even the longest of websites. Users can also add drawings, arrows, lines and annotations on the snapshots, before exporting the capture to the clipboard or saving it as a JPG or PNG.
Copy-paste is one of the great inventions of the computing era but, in most cases, the feature only works with one block of text. For Firefox users who find themselves entering the same texts over and over again, Clippings creates a right-click menu that lists these commonly used sequences, making them much more accessible for the passionate typist. The best part? Saving text for later use is an easy matter of selecting it, then dragging it to this add-on’s toolbar.
Greasemonkey won't work wonders on its own. The magic comes when you install purpose-built instructions called scripts that control how different websites show information or behave. Each script automates a series of tasks, modifies the underlying structure of the websites you work with, and is available from userscripts.org.
Downloads are a fact of life for any surfer. FlashGot is an extension that helps Firefox work with popular download managers so downloads can resume where they left off if a disconnected Web connection interrupts their progress.
Tab Mix Plus
Tab Mix Plus provides full control over the behavior of tabs in Firefox. A popular example is preventing links from opening new tabs, or automatically closing blank tabs when a download link is clicked.
TinEye Reverse Image Search
Like that image but want a higher-resolution copy or to credit the creator when you use it? TinEye reverse image search lets you find the source. This is the extension that makes the online service more accessible within Firefox.