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Useful Firefox Add-ons

Author: DarkKnightH20

Firefox is, by far, the best browser. This is a personal opinion shared by many. One of the things that make it the best browser out there is its add-on system. Installing/uninstalling add-ons is incredibly easy, and so is checking for updates and performing those updates. Firefox shows great support for the creators of Firefox add-ons by providing an organized website for them. As with everything in this world, their are add-ons that shine and add-ons that are just utterly terrible. In this article, I will highlight add-ons that you should have no matter what. Also note that if you aren’t exercising Firefox’s add-on system, then you really aren’t using the browser to its fullest potential and should be ashamed!

These are not in any particular order for ranking or anything…But, I will make clear which is my favorite. Let’s begin!

Adblock Plus – This add-on is asbolutely my favorite. It removes majority of ads on majority of pages without disrupting the actual page itself. It works so well, in fact, that for ages I had been going to a random forum and never did I know there were ads all over it, as well as popups. The day I found that out was the day I some reason visited that forum on Internet Explorer. It was shocking. Adblock Plus has a subscription for ad blocking that you configure right after installation. This allows for Adblock Plus to contiously combat against ads by updating itself. If you do advertising, as well as SEO-related work, you can easily disable/enable Adblock Plus on certain websites, certain web pages, or altogether. I personally have the icon sitting in my toolbar with a minimalistic icon, for such occassions. This can be enabled through the settings area on the add-on. One thing I would like to mention is that this DOES block Google Ads. This is unfortunate to me, as Google Ads are non-intrusive as it is and help provide a means of payment to webmasters, no matter how small. I use Google Ads here in hopes to cover some of the costs of running this website (though nobody seems to click them unfortunately) and many have the same situation. This doesn’t make this add-on any less amazing though. If you want to help support websites with Google Ads, simple hit “Disable on ” and visit one of the ads every now and then — preferably one of the ads that sounds interesting to you. One last mention is that Adblock Plus DOES help prevent spyware. A lot of ads aim at giving users spyware, or a malware by any other name, and this will help combat it. It should not be your only line of defense, but it helps.

NoScript – Like Adblock Plus, NoScript helps secure your computer. However, unlike Adblock Plus, that is majority of its focus. If you go to shady websites, or websites you just haven’t been to before, you should always enable NoScript. This add-on disables javascript, java, flash, and more, on webpages you visit. You can easily configure this add-on to not disable scripts on pages you DO go to, while enabling it to disable such things on pages you DON’T normally go to. NoScript even helps provide protection against XSS vulnerabilities, or cross-site-scripting vulnerabilities. Like Adblock Plus, this add-on keeps an icon in the toolbar.

DownThemAll – Most people who do a lot of downloading will want a download manager with multi-socket downloading capabilities, as well as the option to resume/pause downloads. My favorite download manager is IDM/Internet Download Manager. I stopped using that, however, after a few glitches started to bother me and have been using DownThemAll frequently for ages now. It isn’t as fast as IDM, but it is a worthy switch despite this. It has all the features any other download manager would have and is 100% integrated into Firefox since it is an add-on after all. One thing that bothers me about it is that natively it has no system tray support. The creators realized this was a problem and therefore offer the option for DownThemAll to integrate with the MinimizeToTray Revived add-on, providing systemtray minimization capability. Excellente!

Download Helper – If you LOVE streaming files you’ll run into the issue of wanting to save a stream eventually. This is why this addon exists — to allow users to easily download FLV file being streamed. If you don’t want to use Firefox to download these streams, there is an option for this addon to supply the user with the URL of the stream so you can plug it in to a download manager. Personally, I love to use this in conjunction with DownThemAll for quick grabbing of streams. Though I’ve mentioned streams and FLV files specifically, this addon can grab other types of files as well. Check it out! *This addon is also called Video Download helper.

User Agent Switcher – This is only helpful to some people. There are occassions when. depending on what you’re doing, you may want to change your user agent as to emulate another browser. A prime example in which this addon can be useful, is if you want to visit a forum and look at content without having to make an account. Many forums allow for Google Bot to look at all pages without registration. This is purely for SEO purposes so that Google can look at the website data, analyze the website, possible cache it, and show it in its search engine. Google Bot uses a special user agent to tell forums to let it look without registration. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this — if you turn your user agent into Google Bot’s, then you can do the same.

Live HTTP Headers – Perhaps this is by far the most iffy addon here. Many of you will have absolutely no use for this. What does it do? Well, it allows you to view HTTP headers of web pages. This can be very nifty. If you wish to emulate Firefox’s style of browsing to websites, you can simply check out a GET / Request. This can be used as a form sniffer too, which, to sum up, is a utility that puts together the URL created from when you fill out a form (such as a search box) and hit “submit”. What else does this do? Many security enthusiasts and curious about what websites are running what server, operating system, mods, and versions of all that was just stated. A lot of this information is revealed in a HTTP header. To grab this information, some people use Telnet, which would take longer since it is not integrated into Firefox. This addon has other features as well, such as the ability to “replay” data and more. Its other uses are beyond what I’ve mentioned.

Abduction! – There are times in life where you want to take a screen shot of a web page. This is usually done with the “Print Screen” button on the keyboard. This Firefox addon will take the picture for you of the entire web page you are viewing or just parts you select. It’s fast and does the job with ease.

Added: September 15th, 2009

Hide Caption – As you can guess by the name of the add-on (as well as the picture), installing this will cause the title bar of your Firefox to disappear. This gives you additional screen space, which is ESPECIALLY useful if you’re using a netbook. You don’t lose functionality by losing the title bar either, as minimize, maximize, and close button are added to the top right of the Firefox window. Unfortunately, this add-on does not work on Linux, but that’s to be expected. *This addon is also currently labeled “experimental”.

Did I miss any good addons? I’m positive I did. If you know of any that should be here, feel free to comment. Know any that shouldn’t be here? Comment as well! Credit will be given and if you have a website, a link to your website will be posted as well.


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