10 Must-Have Extensions for Firefox
By Rick Broida
Updated September 15, 2017
Firefox has long been the browser of choice for users seeking a faster and more versatile alternative to Internet Explorer. And much of that versatility comes courtesy of add-ons, better known as extensions. With the right ones, Firefox becomes smarters, safer, more versatile, and even more fun. So here's a look at 10 seriously great add-ons for your favorite browser.
Tired of seeing rude, inappropriate, and even offensive comments everywhere you go on the Web? CommentBlocker lives up to its name by hiding the comments on various Web sites, thereby loading pages faster and filtering the Web's yahoos. Thankfully, you can "whitelist" selected sites where you actually want to read the comments, a task that requires just one click.
Craigslist is an excellent resource for buying products and services, but browsing its listings can be a hassle--unless you have Craigslist Peek installed. This extension adds a short description under each listing and shows thumbnail previews of any embedded photos, thus saving you a ton of back-and-forth clicking. It can even let you browse multiple cities simultaneously.
Related: Craigslist Peek
Ever wish you could download all the files or photos from a Web page in one fell swoop? That's the idea behind DownThemAll!, a download manager for Firefox. With click it'll show you all the items you can download from the site you're viewing, then let you remove any you don't want. And once you set it loose downloading your selections, an accelerator promises to finish the job up to four times faster.
Most online stores accept coupon codes, but few online shoppers know where to obtain them. The Honey extension takes the guesswork out of it, automatically applying all known codes when you get to the checkout page, potentially saving you money on shipping, the item you're buying, or both. There's no guarantee Honey will find a working code every time, but it's certainly worth a few extra seconds to find out.
One password to rule them all: That's the idea behind LastPass, a password manager that stores and organizes your login IDs, credit-card information (for online shopping), software registrations, and more. It does all this with robust security, requiring just one master password for you to gain access. LastPass will automatically log you into protected sites and generate ultra-secure passwords so you're less likely to get hacked.
One browser crash or Internet disconnect can erase all of the text you've enterted into a finicky Web form. Lazarus 3 (formerly known as Lazarus Form Recovery) retains all the text you type into browser fields, making it easy to restore your work. It's like a real-time backup tool for your browser, one no Web user should be without.
Related: Lazarus 3
The Web is chock full of great reading material. Too bad you don't have time to read any of it right now. With Pocket, one click turns the current page into a perfectly formatted, magazine-style folio, then syncs it to your Pocket account on the Web and/or your phone or tablet. It works with videos, too, so you can queue up killer YouTube clips for your train ride home from work.
Print Friendly & PDF
Have you noticed that when you print certain Web pages, half the time you get a bunch of weirdly formatted or blank sheets? Print Friendly & PDF converts any page to a print-friendly format, stripping out ad banners and allowing you to adjust the text size and remove space-hogging elements (like photos). Plus, you get to preview the document before actually printing it, which should save you both time and paper.
Related: Print Friendly & PDF
Web of Trust
Although Firefox has some solid security tools built in, it won't warn you about potentially dangerous sites. Web of Trust (WOT) will, starting with the search results you get from Google, Yahoo, or another search engine. Green means safe; yellow, iffy; and red, steer clear. By vetting these search results for you, WOT helps you avoid the Web's seedier (and not-so-safe) destinations.
Related: Web of Trust
When you watch a YouTube video, you have two basic options: standard size and full-screen size. Why not something in between? The aptly named YouTube Resize extension adds a drag-and-drop bar to the side of the video window, allowing you to resize it to your liking. Now you can enlarge videos without them taking over the entire screen. Note to Google: This needs to be built into YouTube.
Related: YouTube Resize
Rick Broida is a veteran technology writer who began his career in 1989 with articles about the Commodore Amiga. He blogs for CNET and contributes regularly to "PC World," "Wired" and other outlets.