Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source Web browser. It has been touted as being stabler and safer, less prone to security breaches, viruses, and malware than Microsoft Internet Explorer. Firefox gives you the option of installing add-ons to add features and customize your individual browsing experience.
- Mozilla Firefox
Download and install the software from Mozilla's official site.
- Add-Ons for Firefox
Thousands of extensions and themes that add new features to, and/or change the look of, Firefox.
- Plugins for Firefox
Firefox will usually notify automatically you when you have to install a plug-in to view content on a website (such as Flash on places like YouTube), but you can also choose to manually download plug-ins from the list here.
- Search Engine Plugins for Firefox
The Mycroft Project is a collection of thousands of plugins that allow you to search individual sites (IMDB, YouTube, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon -- just to name a few) from the comfort and convenience of the search bar in Firefox.
A few select extensions that have features useful for research and for fun:
- Adblock Plus
The most popular add-on in the world. Prevents most ads from loading and trackers from tracing your traffic.
Save and manage web pages locally onto your computer. Useful for research: you can edit, annotate, and highlight contents of web pages.
A citation manager (like Refworks) that is integrated with your browser. It has a sync feature that allows you to share citations across multiple computers. To learn more, see our starter guide on Zotero
- Tab Mix Plus
Manage and modify tab behavior as you see fit. Might be somewhat complicated for beginning users.
- Print Edit
Delete elements of web pages in print preview so that you won't have to print images, text, or ads you don't want or need, saving you ink, paper, and money.
Read your RSS & Atom feeds via this lightweight extension in Firefox.
Turn the feeds in your Google Reader account into an attractive start page.
- Personas Plus
As of version 4.0, Firefox has built-in support for Personas, which are an easy way to change the "skin" of your browser. Personas Plus is a free add-on developed by Mozilla that adds extra features on top of 4.0's basic ones.
A gallery of thousands of Personas skins. You can switch between skins under "Tools > Personas" or under "Tools > Add-Ons > Themes."
Learn more about alternative browsers to Internet Explorer, and some reasons why you might want to use them.
Although this guide focuses on Firefox, there are plenty of good browsers that you might want to check out. Here are just a few:
- Google Chrome
Google's open-source browser emphasizes simplicity, speed, and compliance to modern browsing standards. It has quickly become the fastest-growing browser, amassing an enthusiastic fanbase and a large repository of extensions. (For Windows, Mac OS, Linux.)
Apple's web browser is one of the fastest. Originally for Mac OS, it is now available for Windows.
An acclaimed multi-platform browser for computers (Windows, Mac, Linux), phones, and other devices. Known for speed, features, and elegance.
Feel free to download and use my Powerpoint presentation that I made for a workshop I held on Firefox 4. (Please credit Leslie Chen when using.)