Setting up Mozilla Firefox



Update April 2024: In the spring of 2023 I switched from Windows to macOS. As part of that process I decided to give Apple’s Safari a try. I will update this post should I ever go back to Firefox.

Like a lot of users today I spend large portions of my screen time in the browser. Trying to improve that experience therefore makes sense.

No browser is perfect because people have different views on what that means. This post is not about making any claims of browser superiority—use whichever product you prefer.

Installing the extensions below is going to take some time but will also make a real difference to how you experience the web.

List of extensions:

  • uBlock Origin is probably the best ad-blocker for Firefox (and other browsers).
  • I don’t care about cookies gets rid of annoying cookie prompts, a big timesaver in the long run.
  • Cookie AutoDelete deletes all cookies after closing a tab. You don’t have to worry about cookies that the “I don’t care about cookies” extension accepted. You can also whitelist sites for which you do want to allow cookies.
  • Dark Reader made a big difference for me when I started using it. My eyes now feel noticeably less tired at the end of the day.
  • Decentraleyes, from the website:”Protects you against tracking through ‘free’, centralized, content delivery. It prevents a lot of requests from reaching networks like Google Hosted Libraries, and serves local files to keep sites from breaking. Complements regular content blockers.”
  • Firefox Multi-Account Containers keeps tabs separated. E.g., log into two different Google accounts in two different tabs; do all your shopping in a dedicated tab. Other tabs/websites will never know about it!
  • h264ify makes YouTube stream H.264 videos instead of VP8/VP9 videos. This is important when you use a laptop that supports hardware decoding of H.264 (which most do) because it can lengthen battery runtime.
  • HTTPS Everywhere protects your communications by enabling HTTPS encryption automatically on sites that are known to support it, even when you type URLs or follow links that omit the HTTPS prefix.
  • Privacy Badger Privacy Badger replaces potentially useful trackers (video players, comments widgets, etc.) with click-to-activate placeholders, and removes outgoing link click tracking on Facebook and Google. E.g., on sites using Disqus for comments you will have to click once on a placeholder for the Disqus widget to load.
  • SingleFile allows saving of an entire web page—including images and styling—as a single HTML file. This was huge for my research process; no longer printing PDFs from webpages but instead saving the page directly, even with annotations and highlights!
  • Vimium C allows you to browse without using a mouse. There’s a steep learning curve but once you know how to use it you’ll never want to go back to using a mouse.

I will try to keep this list updated; the extensions above (except Firefox Multi-Account Containers) are also available for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. However, it seems that Mozilla has less of a conflict of interest when it comes to blocking ads which is the main reason why I use Firefox.


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