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The browser war is still going strong. What makes one better than the other? Speed? Memory usage? Built-in features? The only real answer is “personal preference” and, as it turns out, browser extensions make up a big part of those preferences. It’s becoming more common for extensions to be supported across many browsers, but that isn’t always the case.

For a long time, Firefox was hailed as superior to other browsers, including Chrome, due to its massive selection of powerful extensions. The gap has shortened in recent years but hasn’t completely closed. Check out these beloved Firefox-only extensions that are so useful that you may be swayed over from whichever other browser you currently use.

Tree Style Tab

firefox-extension-tree-style-tab

Here is my absolute favorite Firefox browser, bar none. It’s a strange statement to make considering the simplicity and mundane nature of what it does, but for me (and many others) it’s an absolute game changer. Once you start using tree style tabs, you’ll never go back to regular tabs or tab groups again.

As the name implies, Tree Style Tab alters the tabbing functionality of Firefox into a hierarchy-based structure. New tabs are created as “children” of the current tab and children tabs can have their own children tabs, thus forming a tree-style order. Tabs can be rearranged between trees, taking their children tabs with them when moved.

The main benefit, however, is the ability to collapse and expand tab trees. If you’re like me and you routinely have 40+ tabs open at once, it can be quite messy. With Tree Style Tab, you can collapse unneeded tab trees and open them later. Since Firefox doesn’t load tab pages until focused, you end up saving on a lot of potential RAM usage too.

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Tab Mix Plus

firefox-extension-tab-mix-plus

Tab management is a big deal for web browsing. If Tree Style Tab wasn’t enough, then check out Tab Mix Plus which gives you a lot more control over your tabs than is natively available. Redefine when and how different link types open, alter the appearance of tabs and the tab bar, tie mouse gestures with tab actions, and more.

Tina wrote a great Tab Mix Plus review Manage Firefox Tabs Like A Pro With Tab Mix Plus Manage Firefox Tabs Like A Pro With Tab Mix Plus Be honest! How many browser tabs do you have open right now? More than a decade ago, Firefox -- then known as Firebird -- introduced browser tabs to the masses. Tabbed browsing quickly became a... Read More that goes over its various features as well as providing alternative add-ons for similar functionality in case Tab Mix Plus ends up being too complicated for your needs. For more tab-related extensions, visit our Best Tab Management Extensions for Firefox page.

Scrapbook

firefox-extension-scrapbook

Have you ever tried to save a webpage for later Never Lose That Webpage Again: 6 Ways To Read It Later On Any Platform Never Lose That Webpage Again: 6 Ways To Read It Later On Any Platform Few things are more frustrating than needing a bookmark only to find there's nothing you can do to visit it. Rest assured, however, because there's a handy solution. Read More only to be met with a 404 “missing page” error due to a broken link? It happens more often than you might think and it points out a big downside to traditional bookmarks: they’re only relevant as long as the target website stays alive and doesn’t change its link structure.

That’s where the Scrapbook extension shines. It’s a web archivist that lets you download and save whole webpages, snippets of a webpage, or entire websites. These archives are accessed and organized in the same way you’d handle regular Firefox bookmarks. It’s immensely useful and has truly earned its spot as one of our Best Bookmark Extensions for Firefox.

DownThemAll

firefox-extension-downthemall

The built-in download manager in Firefox is nothing to run home about. You can pause and resume downloads and keep a history of downloaded files. That’s about it, which is good enough for most cases. However, if you want a download tool that provides a bit more power and functionality, look no further than DownThemAll.

Not only does it handle regular download links (e.g., ZIPs and EXEs), but it lets you download all of the images and links on a particular page. You can instead filter those images and links to only download the ones that meet your criteria. It also has an accelerator that lets you download up to 4x faster through mirrors and parallel downloads.

Video DownloadHelper

firefox-extension-video-downloadhelper

There are several websites that let you convert a video link, such as one from YouTube, into an FLV or MP4 that you can download for local storage. Video DownloadHelper is like that except a hundred times more useful.

This extension provides an easy way to download any and all media on the current webpage that you’re browsing. On a site like YouTube, one click is all it takes to download the video being watched, and yes, it also works for video sites that aren’t YouTube. The extension can also download images and audio.

Just browse like you normally do. On each page, the Video DownloadHelper icon will show you how many downloadable media files were detected. To download, just select the one you want.

LeechBlock

firefox-extension-leechblock

Are you tired of losing hours of your day to mindless web surfing? Of all the ways to temporarily block time-wasting websites Focus! 4 Best Tools To Temporarily Block Facebook & Co Focus! 4 Best Tools To Temporarily Block Facebook & Co You're not alone, we have all done it - wasting hours browsing the web instead of getting stuff done. Need a spike in productivity? Find the best tools for escaping social media here. Read More , the LeechBlock extension for Firefox is my favorite. Other browsers have their own website-blocking extensions but they all fall short of this one.

The greatness of LeechBlock is two-fold: 1) integration in Firefox makes it easy to use with almost no learning curve, and 2) maximum flexibility in choosing what, when, and how to block websites. You can maintain multiple sets of blocked websites with each set having its own criteria for when to be blocked. So useful for so many scenarios.

If you want a closer look at the available features, check out my LeechBlock review Distracted By Time-Wasting Websites? LeechBlock For Firefox Will Take Care of That Distracted By Time-Wasting Websites? LeechBlock For Firefox Will Take Care of That Read More .

Firebug

firefox-extension-firebug

Firebug is one of the most important web development tools out there. It’s what inspired other browsers to implement the “Inspect Element” option for editing the markup of a particular webpage, but Firebug remains to this day the more powerful choice. You can even install extensions on top of the Firebug extension to add more features to it.

Yes, Firebug Lite exists for other browsers but it does lack some of the features that make Firebug so great. For more info, the extension website lists the differences between Firebug and Firebug Lite. For hardcore web developers, the little details between the two can have a sizeable impact on coding productivity.

Which extensions did I miss? Fans of Firefox, share with us your favorite extensions that set this browser apart from the rest. Post your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Adele Samantha
    April 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for the article Joel. :) Why use a VPN when you can use a DNS service like UnoTelly? The DNS option is much faster and easier to use. :)

    • Marcin
      February 5, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Why mention VPN and DNS here - totally irrelevant to the article. Is this shameless SPAM? Are you promoting UnoTelly?

      RE comparing DNS service to VPN, even fundamental understanding of both makes it clear these are totally different, and DNS can't replace VPN.

  2. Michael
    March 6, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Although the Library Search works well, it does not show where a bookmark is stored. Opera browser, at least prior to the Chromium versions, showed the exact location of a bookmark within the Folders tree.

    These two add-ons help immensely with this missing feature in Firefox:
    Go Parent Folder
    Show Parent Folder

  3. Asterne
    July 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I'd like to point out that there is an alternative, albeit an obscure alternative for Video DownloadHelper that will actually work on any browser, it being a userscript. Viewtube: http://isebaro.com/savetube/?ln=en

    • Angel
      July 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Thank you for this :)

  4. Russ
    July 5, 2014 at 2:55 am

    All those already mentioned are good but try these :
    Page Zipper
    Print edit
    xmarks

  5. Joe
    July 5, 2014 at 12:55 am

    I've been using Flashgot for years with DownThemAll. They work great together - especially for media files/streams (Flashgot Media - part of Flashgot). I especially like right clicking on the icon that appears when media is detected. It helps you see which the most recent one is and cuts through the clutter when a page has a lot of media links. (Flashgot is from the same developer as Noscript.)

  6. Michael James Miller
    July 4, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    AutoPager has not been mentioned yet. AutoPager automatically loads the next page of a site inline when you reach the end of the current page for infinite scrolling of content. Unfortunately, AutoPager does not work with all sites, but it is great on those it does.

    • Joel L
      July 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      That's a neat concept. Hopefully they can get it working well enough that it works on most sites!

  7. Krishna Singh
    July 4, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Another good one would be "Easy Youtube Video Downloader" (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/easy-youtube-video-download/) unlike the Video Download Helper shared above this one also allows 1080p full-hd downloads with 192kbps MP3 from Youtube.

  8. Zero
    July 4, 2014 at 12:54 am

    NoScript and Firebug

  9. Jehu
    July 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Add to delicious
    Anti-aliasing tuner
    Flashblock
    Pentadactyl
    Print pages to pdf
    Remove It Permanently
    Ghostery

    ... the list goes on.

    • Angel
      July 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

      If you're using windows you can also install bullzip PDF printer. It installs just like a regular printer.

  10. ds
    July 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    First Mozilla must fix the crash problem.

    • dragonmouth
      July 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Did you ever think it might be somethingh in your system that is causing the FF crashes?

      While it won't help you, I have been using FF, running under Windows and Linux, since it was released as Phoenix. In all that time FF has never crashed.

  11. Jason D
    July 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    While Tree Style Tabs itself is Firefox exclusive there are certainly replacements for it in chrome.

    Tabs Outliner is my choice (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tabs-outliner/eggkanocgddhmamlbiijnphhppkpkmkl or tabsoutliner.com) and I can safely say it can handle thousands of tabs over an extended period of time while also including a selection of useful features such as simple tree exporting (with embedded hyperlinks), crash recovery and even the ability to add notes in the tree with Google Docs integration if you want it.

    3 Bluescreens and a HDD failure and I've never yet lost a single tab.

    • Joel L
      July 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Is there a way to use Tabs Outliner in the browser itself instead of in a separate window?

  12. John
    July 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Tree Style Tabs and Tab Mix Plus are absolute musts for me. Until Chrome can include these features I'll never switch.

    • Joel L
      July 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      Agreed. Those two extensions are big reasons why I switched away from Chrome. :)

  13. Hildy J
    July 2, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    QuickFox Notes http://add0n.com/quickfox.html lets you create multiple tabs of notes without leaving the browser. No big deal so far.

    But.

    Notes are stored as bookmarks so they are synced across PCs.

    And.

    You can encrypt notes with a password that's not stored anywhere except in your head.

  14. m.hawranke
    July 2, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    You should mention "Firemin" as well what takes the enormes memory consumption away!!

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Firemin isn't an extension so I don't know if I'd include it, but it looks like an interesting tool nonetheless. Thanks for the heads up.

  15. Rick
    July 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Media Hint is one that gives you access to Netfix's american database no matter where in the world you are.

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Media Hint is a good one but it isn't exclusive to Firefox. :)

  16. Yelan
    July 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    It would have been nice to mention that you are, actually, not using Mozilla Firefox for your review/article here, but Pale Moon (at least, judging by the screenshots)? I think non-mainstream alternatives like it could use all the exposure they can get, especially with the growing disenchantment of many Firefox users with recent developments.

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Yup, I'm using Pale Moon. I didn't bring it up because extension compatibility is great between the two, but it didn't occur to me to send a bit of attention in Pale Moon's direction. It definitely deserves it and I don't know if I'd be using Firefox if it weren't for Pale Moon.

    • Godel
      July 3, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      Yes, and another vote for Pale Moon.

      Regarding add-ons, there are also Perspectives and Certificate Patrol which can warn you if an SSL certificate might be dodgy when you're doing something requiring security or involving money. Perspectives is quieter but Cert Patrol gives more information.

  17. Leopardmask
    July 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I wish I could use Tree-Style Tabs, but when I use my computer I'm always split-screening 2 different things at once. Having the tab bar on the side of the screen takes up too much space; it gives me about half a window (~1/4 of my screen) to work with and I can't do anything on a screen that narrow.

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Ah, yeah. If horizontal screen estate is limited, it won't work too well. That's a shame. If you can find a way to open up or sacrifice a bit of space, you should give it a try. The tab bar width can be resized to be pretty small.

    • Kirk
      July 6, 2014 at 3:01 am

      You can auto-hide the tab bar, and park it on either side.

    • Joel L
      July 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Good call, Kirk. I'd forgotten about that. Auto-hide can be very useful!

  18. Chris
    July 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

    You forgot to mention that Video DownloadHelper has DownThemAll! integration. Combine that with DownThemAll! AntiContainer and your downloading needs are mostly (if not completely) met,

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Whoops, yeah I should've mentioned that. The AntiContainer extension looks great and seems to be the perfect way to cap off the trifecta. Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Bruno C
    July 2, 2014 at 2:40 am

    SelectionSK
    Dictionary Switcher
    Download Manager Tweak
    Convert Case

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 3:50 am

      Haha, I like the idea behind Convert Case. :)

  20. Jon S
    July 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Hello, all.
    Here are a few of my extensions:
    Adblock Plus
    DoNotTrackMe: Online Privacy Protection
    Flashblock
    Lightbeam
    Long URL Please
    Menu Editor
    Session Manager
    Thumbnail Zoom Plus

    These [& others] have a place in a safe and sane webworld.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 3:49 am

      Wow, Lightbeam is pretty cool. I may have to add Long URL Please and Thumbnail Zoom to my arsenal. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Pieter
    July 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Do people who don't use Firefox need Firebug? The developer tools on Chrome and IE are pretty impressive. I understand using Firebug in Firefox (Firefox's built in development tools are horrible), but in IE or Chrome it won't add anything that you can't already do natively.

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 3:48 am

      I was under the impression that non-Firefox web developers always envied the power of Firebug because the other browsers always fell short in one way or another. I haven't done development outside Firefox in a while though so the sentiment may have changed.

    • Howard B
      July 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Do those developer tools have the ability to look into POST variables sent during a request, or set breakpoints and/or step through Javascript, and watch (view) Javascript variables?

    • Alex M
      July 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Howard B, yes, Chrome Developer Tools can do that

  22. Andn
    July 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Some I use

    Copy All URLS
    Findbar Tweak
    Modern Download Manager
    Mozzila Archive Format
    X-Notifier
    Cleanest Addon Manager

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 3:46 am

      Those are pretty useful and definitely lesser known. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Mike Henry
    July 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Tab Mix Plus by itself is why I don't use Chrome unless I have to. I also love Firebug. I'll have to try the others out. Thanks.

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 3:44 am

      It's a very good extension indeed. Let us know what you think of the others!

  24. Howard B
    July 1, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    "Are you tired of losing hours of your day to mindless web surfing?"
    Block MakeUseOf? Are you INSANE?

    Aside from LeechBlock (willpower FTW!), TreeStyleTabs, and Scrapbook (I'd just save the page to a PDF), the other addons are just indispensable to me.

    I'd also add Adblock Edge (other browsers' versions are pale imitations), Download Tab (downloads manager in a tab), Grab and Drag (drag a page like an Acrobat document), NoSquint (text too small? No problem!), Secure Login (add a key icon to the toolbar to quickly login to sites), and NoScript (disable JavaScript from sites until you "whitelist" them - great for disabling ad scripts and protecting against "drive-by" malware installs)

    • Joel L
      July 2, 2014 at 3:45 am

      I'm not sure how many of those are Firefox-only, but they're all very good and useful in their proper contexts for sure. I hadn't heard of Secure Login but I'll be giving it a try right now. Thanks!

    • Racklefratz
      July 2, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Secure Login? How is that an improvement over Firefox's native ability to store usernames/pws and serve them up when required?

    • Howard B
      July 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Secure Login is patterned after Opera's "magic wand" option; it (optionally) puts a "key" icon in the toolbar that lights up gold when a login form is detected, (optionally) highlights the login fields, and allows you to use the ALT+N key combination to log in (or pop up a list of logins if more than one is saved).
      Two things I don't use: Javascript protection and Secure Login Bookmarks - click the bookmark and you will automatically be logged in.
      It's mostly for convenience, but I like it.

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