10 Great Firefox Plugins

Firefox is a great browser. If you’re a web developer you’ve come to love it because of its adherence to web standards and the ease of making your websites look nice. I know a lot of people though, that just use Firefox as is and don’t bother to dive into the world of add-ons to customize their browsing experience.

Here are 10 great plugins that help make your Firefox experience better (in no specific order).

  1. Google Preview
  2. Google Preview basically adds thumbnails to each website when you search Google. I really like this plugin because it lets me checkout the pages before I click on the link.

  3. Firebug
  4. Firebug is probably one of the best plugins that I’ve come across. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. If you need to see what your page would look like if you changed the CSS, just put the new value into Firebug and your site changes to reflect it.

  5. IE Tab
  6. Have you ever had the troubles of trying to code your website so it looked good in Firefox and IE? Its a pain getting everything looking good on both browsers. IE Tab allows you to view your site in IE through Firefox so you don’t even need to have IE on your computer unfortunately still need to have IE on your computer.

  7. Stumble Upon
  8. StumbleUpon allows you to find new sites with the push of a button. If you’re bored this plugin can spice up your browsing life. If you’re a developer, StumbleUpon can drive thousands of visitors to your website.

  9. Fast Dial
  10. Fast Dial gives you fast access to your favorite sites through thumbnails. When you open a new tab, fast dial opens (instead of about:blank) and gives you 12 thumbnails to your favourite sites. Its totally customizable and makes browsing much quicker.

  11. Server Switcher
  12. Server Switcher allows you to easily switch between sites on your development and live servers, so that you can immediately see the differences. This saves a tonne of time because you don’t need to edit your hosts file ever time. I use this at work and it literally saves me at least 10 minutes a day.

  13. Web Developer
  14. Web Developer is a lot like Firebug in the sense that it gives you full control over a sites CSS. The great thing about this plugin is that its supported on a few different browsers, so if you switch between them you’ll be able to use the plugin on all.

  15. Foxmarks
  16. If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it will work silently in the background to keep your bookmarks synchronized. I have three different computers that I work on and this plugin allows me to keep my bookmarks synced in all three browsers.

  17. Adblock Plus
  18. Adblock Plus allows you to specific which ads you don’t want loaded on your favourite sites. Right-click on a banner and choose “Adblock” from the context menu - the banner won’t be downloaded again.

  19. Greasemonkey
  20. GreaseMonkey is a great little plugin that allows you to you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript. A lot of people use this plugin and there are literally thousands of pre-written scripts that’ll help you browse with ease. You can see the GMail API for GreaseMonkey here.

All of these plugins either save me time or my sanity as I’m using Firefox. There are a plethora of other plugins that are just as good but I really don’t have time to get into all of them. I want to know what plugins you use. Which ones make your top 10 list? If you have any other plugins to add to the list feel free to add them to the comment section below.

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  1. 1 07.25.08
    7:23 pm

    Nice list I guess, BUT item 3 claims that you “don’t even need to have IE on your computer”. This is incorrect - IETab simply requests an IE rendering pane (minus the window chrome) inside your firefox window.

    It totally depends on having IE installed and uses the version of IE that is on your computer. To clarify, the IETab extension is not available for Linux or Macs, and even if you could install it, it wouldn’t work.

  2. 2 07.25.08
    7:36 pm

    Thanks Craig, I didn’t realize that (I’ve always had IE installed by default).

  3. 3 07.27.08
    8:58 am

    IE will work on my computer but always leaves an error message when I’m done or it has to close because of an error. Firefox works much better. Ironically Mozilla used to be a spyware co if I’m not mistaken and now their my savior.

    P.S. nice tips

  4. 4 07.27.08
    11:15 am
    Angus Wilson

    I have never heard of mozilla being spyware, sounds odd

  5. 5 07.27.08
    8:39 pm

    Great list, I’m using most of these & I went and got Fast Dial after seeing it here. Thanks!

  6. 6 07.27.08
    9:32 pm

    cribcat: Mozilla has never been spyware. Here is a quick history of how Firefox came about.

    At around 1998 Netscape was having loosing to Microsoft in the browser wars. In an effort to help gain some market share, Netscape released their in progress browser, Netscape 5.0, under an open source license, the Netscape Public License (NPL), and set up the Mozilla foundation to work on the code. The NPL gave Netscape full rights to the code and everyone else rights similar to what other copyleft licenses give.

    The Mozilla foundation began to work on the Mozilla program, also called the Mozilla suite. They released versions of the program up for download. Netscape also released slightly modified versions with their branding and some extra features (such as AOL Instant Messenger). Both versions six and seven were rebranded versions of the Mozilla Suite.

    At some point, Mozilla made a browser application, Phoenix, that was based off of the browser component of the Mozilla Suite. Over time it became more popular and changed name twice due to other programs. First Firebird and then the current name of Firefox. A separate version of the mail client in Mozilla Suite, Thundebird was released.

    By this time, Netscape was largely out of the picture. Version 8 was based off of Firefox, but by then Netscape had less than 1% of the global browser marketshare. Per contra, Firefox was gaining traction. Mozilla eventually stopped developing the Mozilla Suite and then Thunderbird and they became community run projects. The Mozilla Suite is now called Seamonkey.

    Netscape has now been discontinued. Firefox is quickly rising to dominance, claiming 20-30% of the global marketshare. By now, almost no original Netscape code remains.

    However, click on Help>About in Firefox. The user agent string still starts with Mozilla/5.0, which is how Netscape wrote Netscape 5.0. (Netscape 4.8 for instance, was Netscape/4.8).

  7. 7 07.27.08
    11:05 pm

    Mozilla has never been considered spyware.

    @Charnita Fance
    I’m glad this list helps. I really like fast dial, I find it helps me be more productive.

    Wow, thanks for the history lesson. You learn something new everyday :D

  8. 8 08.09.08
    3:59 pm

    “At around 1998 Netscape was having loosing to Microsoft in the browser wars.”
    Having loosing? Er.. The verb-noun agreement.
    Also could you tell me the month Netscape was having a loosing as we’ve got an office argument on our hands.

  9. 9 08.09.08
    7:19 pm

    @Glenn: I can’t seem to find any absolute date that signified the loss of Netscape to IE, but in Jan. 98 there were a number of layoffs in the Netscape camp. I guess you could say the end of 97 and then the layoffs in 98 were the beginning of the end for Netscape.

    Might be able to dig up more on Wikipedia. Or maybe Jake will post another comment with a second history lesson :)

  10. 10 08.13.08
    6:04 pm

    IETab creates a memory leak on Firefox. When I used it before, Firefox would run about 200k of my physical memory, after removing it it’s now about 100k.

  11. 11 08.14.08
    1:05 am

    Foxmarks gave me trouble in the past, aka it lost my bookmarks. I was able to retrieve them on my other computer, but it still makes me wary.

  12. 12 08.17.08
    8:40 am

    Batchdownload- awesome for dl’ing pics.
    BugMeNot- can bypass a lot of website registrations.
    Download Statusbar- like it says.
    ShowIP- shows the ip of the website your viewing in status bar.

    These next two no firefox install should be without!

    *DownloadHelper*- The best addon for downloading any video footage from any site. Seriously, GET IT!

    *NoScript*- Greatly increases security for those that like to surf.

    Also if your into add-ons you should check out Cleo and Febe. These two enable you to make your own addon installer with all your favourite addons in the one pack. For people who like converting IE users to FF it’s great to be able to install all the ‘good’ addons in one easy step.

  13. 13 08.21.08
    4:37 pm

    It’s a good list, thanks for sharing it.

  14. 14 08.22.08
    3:28 am

    cool! i am gonna install a few.. ps, i totally love the web developer plugin!

  15. 15 08.22.08
    10:53 am

    All of these addons are great and highly recommended (and thanks for the info on Mozilla Jake ^_^)

    I also use BugMeNot and Noscript and they work very well

    If you’re looking for a sneaky way of using firefox (hiding things from the wife or boss ;D) Stealther is very useful. It stops your surfing from leaving a trace in firefox (it stops cookies so you won’t be able to log into a website)

  16. 16 08.22.08
    3:47 pm

    Google bookmarks are way better than foxmark plugin for multiple computers bookmark synchronization

  17. 17 08.25.08
    4:26 am

    Not a bad list, thanks for share!

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