Updated on December 10, 2021
Lately, I’ve been regularly using Firefox on both my Android smartphone and on my laptop running Ubuntu MATE. While I still like Chrome (and still have my Chromebook, which now supports Android apps), there’s things I like about Firefox. It’s open source, and isn’t tied to any of the major tech conglomerates. It also comes with a few features built-in, such as Pocket support (Mozilla, Firefox’s developer, owns Pocket).
Still, like Chrome, Firefox’s functionality is greatly improved thanks to extensions. Here’s a look at some Firefox extensions I enjoy using. Note all of these are also available for Chrome.
Disable HTML5 Autoplay
Disable HTML5 Autoplay does what its name says: block autoplaying of HTML5-based videos. Autoplay videos are one of the most obnoxious parts of the modern online experience. I also feel it’s careless toward mobile Internet users (given the existence of data caps).
That said, this plugin doesn’t completely work at blocking all videos. However, Firefox does contain the ability to fully turn off autoplay via its preferences: type “about:config” in the address bar, then search for the term “autoplay.” Toggle media.autoplay.enabled from “true” to “false.” However, this method might be overkill for some sites (like YouTube).
HTTPS Everywhere ensures any website accessed in Firefox is directed to a secured, HTTPS version of the site, if one’s available. While HTTPS-based sites are becoming more and more commonplace, there’s still a few not loading their secure versions by default for some reason.
Privacy Badger is an Electronic Frontier Foundation developed extension that blocks or indicates what advertising trackers, cookies, etc. a site might be using. The extension can also be turned off on a site-by-site basis.
LastPass is a popular cross-platform password manager. It makes managing, accessing, and creating secure passwords across all of my devices much easier.
uBlock Origin is one of the more popular ad blockers these days.
I mentioned using Firefox on my phone. One major reason is the mobile version of Firefox’s main advantage over Chrome: the ability to install any Firefox extension, including an ad blocker. (Firefox’s mobile version also offers blocking of autoplay videos.) On my smartphone, uBlock Origin works about as well as on the desktop (and Firefox’s mobile app works as well as Chrome).
What are your favorite Firefox extensions? Do you still use Firefox at all?
Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.