by Rob Williams on July 15, 2005 in Software
With Firefox growing in popularity, it’s amazing that many people still do not know what Extensions are. We’ll explain what they are and how they are beneficial to your browsing experience. We also have our top 10 list to get you started.
For those who are unaware what Mozilla Firefox is, it’s a complete replacement web browser. It’s packed with more features than Internet Explorer, and much more secure. I’ve been using Firefox since version 0.2 when it went by a different name, and have never looked back. One of the primary reasons many people, including myself began using it, was because of the superb popup blocking that wasn’t really available anywhere else.
Of course since then, there has been many new reasons to make the switch. You can check out more info about the browser here. If you are thinking of making the switch from Internet Explorer, but have doubts, read this page.
Now that we got that out of the way, we are going to talk about Extensions. What are extensions? Extensions are small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features, while keeping Firefox small to download.
Firefox is a 5MB download, because it’s not bloated with features that people don’t want. That’s where extensions come in, to add more features and usability to the browser. They are primarily designed by people who find a specific need, and develop the extension. Then they will offer it to others.
Installing Extensions is incredibly easy. Heading to the Tools > Extensions, and clicking on “Get more extensions”, will bring you straight to the official Extensions page. You can also get there just by typing in this address: https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/?application=firefox.
All extensions are installed through an .xpi file. If you are like me, and like to keep everything backed up, you can do this with .xpi files as well. In order to install via the file though, you will need to drag the file to your programs panel, and hover it over Firefox. When Firefox becomes the active application, just drop the file in the window, and it will install the extension.
On the internet, when you find an extension you are interested in, you can install it by clicking the respective install link, which will launch the simple installer. The first time you install an extension from an unknown website, you will get an error as seen in the following picture.
After allowing the site, you will never have an error when trying to install extensions, as long as they are done through that domain. If you visit another Firefox Extensions website, you will have to allow that site as well, if you are positive that site can be trusted.
Without further ado, now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s check out my personal top 10 Firefox Extensions list.