Firefox may not be as popular as Google Chrome these days, but it still has one of the best extension libraries around. Here are the essential Firefox extensions you need to bend the web to your will.
The Lifehacker Pack is a yearly snapshot of our favourite, must-have applications for our favourite platforms. This list is the first pack we’ve done for Firefox.
Chances are, you come across so many links, blog posts and news stories in a day that you couldn’t possibly read it all right then — especially when you’re trying to get work done. Enter bookmark-and-read-later services: Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability all send those links to their respective services, strip them of their ads and formatting, and give you a nice readable version to return to later on any device you own. (Instapaper users do not have an official extension, but they can still download the bookmarklet at the link below).
Wunderlist is our favourite to-do manager around, and the Firefox extension makes it even better. With a click you can save any web content straight to your to-do lists, perfect for making those to-do lists detailed and actionable.
Better Gmail was created by Lifehacker’s very own Gina Trapani way back in 2007, and while some of its features may not be necessary anymore, it still adds a ton of useful tweaks to your Gmail inbox. You can see more information about attachments in your inbox, hide labels in the message row, play a sound when you receive new mail, and more.
Ever write something in a browser window, only to have it crash and lose all your work? Lazarus is your lifesaver. When you’re typing in a form, Lazarus continuously saves what you’re doing. If your browser crashes, or you accidentally close the tab, you can get that text back just by right-clicking in the now-empty text box on that page. You may not think you need it now, but when that fateful day comes, you’ll be glad you had it installed.
If you’re an Evernote user — or even if you aren’t yet — the Evernote Web Clipper will change the way you work. Instead of just jotting down notes about something in your notebook, the Web Clipper lets you save an entire article, page, or section of a page to your notes so you don’t have to waste your time. Then you can jot notes on that article, save it with other related notes for a project, and more. If you’re using Evernote but aren’t using the Web Clipper, you’re missing out on one of Evernote’s best uses.
In this day and age of hack-a-mole, you need the most secure password you can get. Unfortunately, your clever password tricks aren’t working anymore, and the only secure password is one you can’t remember — which is why you need a password manager like LastPass to keep them all straight. Throwing all your passwords into LastPass isn’t as difficult as it sounds: it will create secure passwords for you, log you in automatically, and you can access them all really easily if you need to manually enter them yourself. Check out our guide to LastPass to get started, and the alternatives if LastPass isn’t your speed.
Using HTTPS is one of the simplest ways to secure your web browsing and protect your credentials from getting stolen. HTTPS Everywhere is simple: it forces your browser to use HTTPS on any site that supports it, so you never have to think about it (though you can whitelist certain sites if HTTPS Everywhere causes problems — which can happen from time to time).
Look, we make our living off of ads here at Lifehacker, but that doesn’t mean ads are always a good thing. Some sites have overzealous ads that get in your way when you hover over text, and others have ads that are downright deceitful and make it difficult to find the “Download Now” button you’re actually looking for. If you’re tired of ads getting in your way, AdBlock Plus is the solution. It will block ads on just about any page you come across (though we hope you’ll whitelist the sites you want to support). It will also protect your privacy across the web, block other sections you want to hide (like YouTube comments), and even block malware (check out this post for everything it can do). You can alternatively block just Flash ads with Flashblock, or stop scripts from running on any page with NoScript — though we generally find that to be more of a pain than it’s worth, since it will break many sites you come across.
Everyone’s trying to track you on the web, and Disconnect is the fix. Disconnect stops ad trackers, social widgets, and other tracking elements before they load, speeding up your web browsing and keeping certain noses out of your web activity. Some of you may be using the similar Ghostery extension, but Disconnect doesn’t have quite as much controversy surrounding it, so we recommend it instead.
Greasemonkey and Stylish
Sometimes, you don’t need a full-on extension to do what you want to do — sometimes, all it takes is a little well-placed script. Often, these come in the form of Greasemonkey scripts and Userstyles, whether they’re fixing YouTube annoyances or improving the latest iteration of Gmail. Userscripts require the Greasemonkey extension and Userstyles require Stylish, so we recommend having both on hand.
We’re embarrassed to say that we forgot Tab Mix Plus in last year’s pack, so this year we’ve made sure to give it its due. Tab Mix Plus is one of those extensions that is so great that it’s the only thing keeping some people on Firefox — and with good reason. It gives you complete control and customisation of Firefox’s tabs, from duplicating tabs, to controlling tab focus, deciding what happens when you click on a tab, and a ton more. If you don’t believe me, just look at its massive settings page. It can have an adverse effect on performance, but once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
DownThemAll may have been around since the stone age, but it’s still one of the most essential Firefox extensions around (plus it’s only available on Firefox). It completely changes the way you download files: you can download all the links, images, or other objects on a web page, download files matching a certain criteria in one click, automatically rename files, and even boost your download speeds. While you’re at it, we also recommend grabbing VideoDownloadHelper — it will download videos from YouTube and other streaming sites right to your computer.
Firefox can already sync your bookmarks and open tabs between your computers, but Xmarks is a much more fully-featured syncing solution — plus it can sync between Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer as well, which is important if Firefox isn’t your only browser. You can create profiles (like “Work” and “Play”) and decide which ones to sync to which computers, get information about a site from your address bar, and more. If you want more than Firefox’s Sync service can give, it’s worth a look.
When you shop online, you can almost always get a little discount with the right coupon or code. Honey automates this process by finding codes for the site you’re on and automatically applying them to your order, so you don’t have to do anything. It’s the best way to automate your discounts so you always get the best price. If you prefer something with a bit more control, Coupons at Checkout is a great alternative.
InvisibleHand is another essential shopping extension that does one thing well: when you shop, it automatically searches the rest of the net to find a lower price on the product you’re looking at. If it finds a lower price on another site, it will let you know, so you always get the lowest price possible.
Nothing’s more annoying than the dreaded “not available in your country” error message. Hola Unblocker fixes the problem: it routes your traffic through a compatible country so you don’t miss out on the content you want just because of your location.
If you use Facebook, you’ve probably complained about Facebook before. Social Fixer is the one extension you need to make Facebook infinitely better, by getting rid of obnoxious political posts, track people who unfriend you, and plenty more.