I’ve tried almost all browsers available, and my favourites are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. In this post I’ll list the Firefox addons that I consider indispensable, and which are the reason I stick with Firefox, most of the time!
- – encrypt the web! This is an initiative by the EverywhereElectronic Frontier Foundation, to make the web a more secure communication medium. This plugin will always attempt to use a secure, encrypted connection to any web page you try to visit, so that third parties cannot eavesdrop (or make it harder for them to do so, anyway).
- Add to Search Bar. Very handy plugin, especially in combination with “Organize Search Engines“, of the same developer, as well as with InstantFox. In fact, I would consider “Add to Search Bar” and “Organize Search Engines” as one addon, made of two components. What it does, is that whenever you are on a page with a search box (e.g. an eshop, a dictionary, a forum, whatever), you can right click in the box and add the particular search functionality into your custom search engines.
- InstantFox. This is a search engine management system, on steroids! You can add as many search engines as you like and assign to them your own custom shortcuts. Typing “g stratos laspas” in the address bar, will get you to Google search for the term following the shortcut “g”. Assign “gs” to Google-SSL and your search will be encrypted! You may also want to visit the Mycroft Project, which “provides a collection of more than 24 thousand Sherlock & OpenSearch Search Engine Plugins for your web browser”. Visit their website to find the search engine you’re looking for!
- Fast Dial. Bookmarks, visualized and synchronized. Pressing the link on the left will take you to version 3.6, which is compatible with Firefox up to version 11. I prefer it to Speed Dial, although at first it might seem more limited. I like the fact that it’s embedded in the bookmarks (I have actually copied my bookmark folders inside the FastDial folder), and I like the fact that I can have as many dials as I like in each folder. That’s because setting the number of columns and rows refers only to the “visible” space. So, if you set 6×4=24 links per page (folder), and you have 60 links in a folder, you can access the rest of the links by scrolling down!
- Instaright. Clicking on the icon will send the link of the page you’re on to your Instapaper account, for you to read at a later time.
- FireGestures. Speed up your browsing actions by assigning mouse-gestures to them. Nice.
- Adblock Plus. The absolute add-killer. Note that you may selectively unlock specific websites (like this one, for example!! 😉 )
- AddBookmarkHere2. Very handy way to add bookmarks. You navigate to the desired folder from the bookmarks bar and just press “Add Bookmark Here”.
- DownThemAll. Download manager and accelerator. The best download solution that I have come across.
- DownloadHelper. No, you won’t find this in Chrome, Google would not particularly like it if you could download videos from YouTube with just one click… Upd: Well, actually, there is “YouTube Downloader” for Chrome, which does exactly that! However, it does not work on any other site and it cannot automatically convert videos into different formats after downloading them, as DownloadHelper can…
- For safe, ultra-private, anonymous surfing, the “Tor Button” addon that I would have recommended, is not supported anymore. But wait! In its place, the Tor Project has released something even better: a stand-alone, all-in-one, self-contained package, for all major platforms, called “Tor Browser Bundle“! It incorporates a , as well as all the Tor engine’s nuts and bolts, preconfigured, set-up and ready to go. It does not mess with any other installed programs (not even Firefox, on which it’s based). It can run off of any folder you move it into (I have it in ~/bin/tor-browser), or a usb stick, or practically anything, and it gives you instant web anonymity. But, what exactly does it do that is so great? You surf the web (a) without leaving any traces on your computer (like “private mode” in modern browsers), but, on top of that, it also allows you to surf (b) without your ISP (Internet Service Provider) knowing what you’re browsing, (c) without any third parties being able to eavesdrop, and (d) without the host server, of the web page you’re visiting, knowing who you are, or where you come from. It’s not just neat, it’s a life saver for political activists!
- Firefox Sync. Synchronize your bookmarks, passwords, anything at all, with all your computers, tablets, mobiles, etc, where you use Firefox. This is now embedded in Firefox, you don’t need to install any addon. Just go to the Sync tab in Settings.
As an afterthought, this list would not be complete without mentioning FireFTP, a very capable FTP/SFTP addon, though it’s not “indispensable” as the other ones, since it’s only (very) useful if you actually use FTP. Its features list is one page long, and it works! Together with FileZilla (in my opinion, the best stand-alone FTP client), they are the best FTP programs I’ve come across.