Firefox is an awesome Web browser that supports third-party extensions. These add-ons add even more power and control to the popular browser. I use the Internet more than 8 hours daily, so I’ve tried and kept many extensions, and I’ll share my insight on them, here.
What are extensions? … Add-ons?
Extensions are enhancements for Firefox, serving a purpose of adding on features that aren’t natively available in the current Firefox release. For the sake of user-friendliness, Mozilla grouped the category of “extensions” and “themes” into Add-ons. Simply put, extensions add features and themes change the interface (colors, buttons, etc…)
I use the Internet a lot. Trust me, with a full time job that primarily exists online and a geeky life I need to support … I can say I’m probably using Firefox more than 8 hours daily. That said, I maximize my productivity with Firefox extensions and without them, I’d be pretty darn upset.
Extensions I Can’t Live Without:
- Adblock Plus — With this extensions, I can speed up Web browsing by filtering out ads. This increases speed by about 25% when browsing. Adblock Plus instructs Firefox not to render any addresses that are in it’s blocklist, and works wonders when blocking ads. An extension that self-updates, lets me add custom strings, and even shows stats, is a keeper for me and many other users!
- Fasterfox — This speeds up Web surfing by tweaking the internals of how Firefox retrieves web pages. It’s pretty straightforward. I also like to see how long a Web site took to load. Fasterfox also functions as a stopwatch to view the length of time to load a site. Powerful little tool for Webmasters, and helps speed things along for all users alike.
- Forecastfox Enhanced — This extension delivers Weather alerts and forecast, all from Accuweather.com. This version is “enhanced,” adding a higher resolution RADAR picture for your area. I love it. It updates automatically and conveniently alerts you, but doesn’t bother you that a storm is coming. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code, and you’re done. No spyware, no BS. When you’re done, go ahead and uninstall Weatherbug.
- Del.icio.us Bookmarks — The popular bookmarking service has their Firefox extension to help you synchronize bookmarks. It lets me tag sites right from my navigation bar, in seconds. I use this to access my bookmarks from anywhere, cross browser/OS. With tagging, it’s even easier to organize my bookmarks.
- Colorful Tabs — If you’ve used tabbed browsing, you can understand how challenging it is to keep ‘tabs’ on your favorite Web sites. This extension colors the tabs so you can easily identify tabs by color. It know it sounds silly, but it’s awesome. I have about 5 tabs open any given time, so this definitely helps!
Bonus: When I’m performing Web development or SEO work, these extensions are invaluable for working with Web development and analyzing existing Web sites: Web Developer for viewing and changing pages on-the-fly and SearchStatus for performing SEO functions and viewing Google PageRank and Alexa Rank. Ideally, this isn’t for the masses, but is very useful for Web developers.
That’s the best of the best extensions that I use. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of useful extensions available for Mozilla products such as Firefox and Thunderbird. It all depends on how you use the Internet and what you want to accomplish. You can check out the Mozilla Add-ons site and see what suits you best.
Do you have a favorite extensions? Share your thoughts in the comments!