Whether you're fed up with Chrome spinning up your computer's fans just to load Facebook, or Safari just isn't your jam, Firefox is a great browser alternative for any operating system. While it may not be considered the fastest browser around (even that's changing), it's reliable, highly customizable and has a long list of add-ons and extensions that can even further improve your browsing experience.
With tens of thousands of extensions to choose from, it can be overwhelming to narrow down which ones you should install or pass on.
We've done the hard work for you. Here are some of the most useful extensions you can install to make Firefox even better.
Evernote Web Clipper
If you're an Evernote user, you're doing a disservice to yourself if you haven't installed the Evernote Web Clipper. It allows you to save a screenshot, an article, the full page or a bookmark from any website, all with the click of a button. It also uses a smart filing option to fill in relevant information, such as a notebook where you might want to save the clipping or by adding tags automatically, based on the context of the page.
I use this when researching a topic, researching a large purchase or saving a site I think might disappear before I remember to come back to it.
Pocket and Instapaper
Pocket and Instapaper also have extensions for Firefox, which allow you to save a page to your account with a single click. As of last year, Pocket is baked into Firefox, so if you prefer to use Instapaper, you will need to add the third-party extension called Paper. Once you connect your account in the Add-On settings, click the button in the Toolbar and the article will be saved to your Instapaper account.
Lazarus is a true lifesaver. If you're filling in forms, answering questions or writing anything in a text field in your browser and you accidentally close the page (or worse, the browser crashes), Lazarus will recover the text you entered before the page was closed.
Tab Mix Plus
If Firefox's tab settings don't offer enough features to suit your needs, install Tab Mix Plus. It offers dozens of settings for how tabs operate.
For instance, if you prefer all links to open in a new tab, there's a setting for that. There's also the option to open only links from different sites (from the current page) in a new tab. The settings are very expansive, so if the stock settings don't work for you, this extension should be able to help you accomplish what you need.
If you want to look at two (or more) websites side by side, Tile Tabs is your best bet. Instead of opening two separate browser windows, you can place two tabs in a split-screen view, either side by side or above and below one another.
Sometimes you get ahead of yourself and mistype a URL, like google.con instead of google.com; it happens. URL Fixer is a simple extension that steps in to help when you make a common mistake when entering a URL into the address bar.
StartHQ is one of the most compelling new tab page extensions I've come across. Using a single search field, it allows you to search across the Web and all your cloud accounts, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, Twitter, Instagram, Pocket, IFTTT and much more. It takes a little getting used to and requires some setup, but it's well worth it in the end.
If ever you should want to take a closer look at a thumbnail, the extension you need is Imagus. Hover your cursor over a thumbnail and Imagus will expand the image to a much larger view. It's a very lightweight and simple extension that has proven itself infinitely useful.
You may already be familiar with Pushbullet if you're an Android user. It's one of the easiest ways to send files and content from the Web from your computer to your phone, or vice versa.
If you come across a page you want to view from your phone, hit the Pushbullet icon in the Toolbar and hit send to push it to all your connected devices. You can also use it to send text messages with your phone from your browser or share links with friends.
Privacy and security
To speed up your Web browsing and stop tracking by advertisers (or worse), use Disconnect. It allows you to block otherwise invisible tracking of your search and browsing history as well as malware, if you purchase the pro or premium upgrade.
I don't know any of my passwords, because I use a password manager. While there are several available across multiple platforms, one of the most compatible is LastPass. The extension in Firefox will allow you to automatically login to any accounts you have added in LastPass, generate new passwords and save your credentials when signing up for services. It can also auto-fill forms, like addresses and billing information, when purchasing items.
It's easy to assume the item that just went on sale on Amazon is probably the cheapest you can find it. But if you install The Camelizer, you will know for sure. The Camelizer shows the product's pricing history, so you can know that you're getting the best deal.
Honey provides you with coupon codes when checking out with dozens of online retailers. Once you've reached the checkout page, a Honey popup will appear, asking if you would like to check some of the most popular coupon codes. When you enable it, Honey will automatically attempt to apply each of the codes and, if any of them work, it will apply the best one. It's genius, almost fully automatic, painless to use and saves you money. There's no reason not to install Honey.
If you've got several social media accounts to manage, Buffer is a fantastic way to keep track of and schedule future content to keep your feeds flowing. The Buffer extension makes sharing pages and articles to Buffer much easier. Use the hotkey command Alt + B to bring up the extension, select which accounts you want to share to, type a quick caption and hit Add to Queue.
The Hootsuite Hootlet extension for Firefox is very much like the Buffer extension. It allows you to quickly and painlessly schedule content for your social media accounts from practically anywhere on the Web.