Firefox Add-ons that I really like (and use)

I’ve been finding Firefox more and more to be the browser that I naturally launch first. It’s starting to beat out Safari and Maxthon as my preferred browser. It is great that it is basically the same across all platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux). The other great thing about it is the huge amount of plug-ons or add-ins (e.g., Extensions and Themes) that are constantly being developed and/or updated.

So there are several add-ins that I really like and use a lot (and there are thousands out there). One easy way to find what people like is to check the Most Popular listing on the Mozilla site. However, if an add-on has been listed for a long time (e.g., several years), then the download tallies may be higher. So you could have something that is really hot and a few months old having the same “weight” as an older extension that is good but not hot. Anyway…on to my listing (in alphabetical order in order to be fair).

ErrorZilla – tired of those 404 errors (page not find) or cannot connect to the server? Install this extension and you are presented with a variety of options to do (e.g., “Try Again,” “Google Cache,” “Coralize,” “Wayback,” “Ping,” “Trace,” and “Whois”). Get the extension.

Gmail Space – Gmail is an amazing Google offering. Well, if you install GmailSpace, you can use a Gmail account as a file storage server. This complex extension allows you to upload, download and manage files through a Gmail account. Be sure to read the details on the extension page as there are possibilities of getting locked out of your account if you transfer too much in one day. Get the extension.

Google Browser Sync – I must say that I love this extension. Since I’m a geek, I have 5 computers that I actively use. Google Sync basically stores much of your information and allows you to carry it with you to other computers. You have to have a Google account, and then you hook it in to the Sync extension and any time you use Firefox on another computer, your information is updated. The best one is, when you launch the new session on another computer, it asks you if you want to restore pages that you were on on the previous computer. Other things that it syncs are bookmarks, history, cookies and passwords. Note that you have to go to Google to get this extension.

Google Notebook – another nice Google extension. This one is essentially a notepad that travels with you. Want to make a note about a site that you are on? You just add it to your Notebook. You have the ability to store multiple notebooks and within each notebook, you can automatically add the URL and notes about that page. You can have public or private notebook. Another nice thing is that you don’t necessarily need to have Firefox to get to your notebook, you can access through your Google Account. Here is the extension information.

Link Alert – every wonder about a link that you are about to click on? I hate when I want to read more information about a product and I click a link and it launches Adobe Acrobat. Well, if you install this extension, you will get a visual indicator of the type of link when you hover over that link. So, in the example above, a PDF icon displays next to my cursor. This is pretty slick and on the extension page, you can see the types of links that it “understands.”

SmartSearch – do you ever want to do a search on a word or phrase on a web page? With this extension, you can right-click over a word (with or without it being highlighted) or a phrase (with it being highlighted), and choose the options “Search for [word or phrase] on… >” and then choose the engine (e.g., Google, Wikipedia, or countless others, even bookmarked sites). Get the extension from Mozilla or check the author’s site for a later version.

StumbleUpon – this extension deserves a post on its own. It’s really a great concept. People recommend and categorize a site and put it on the StumbleUpon network. With the extension, you basically click the “Stumble” button and based on your predefined categories, you go to a semi-random site that is in the StumbleUpon network. You can then rate a site thumbs up or thumbs down. If you rate it, your rating is stored on your personal page. I must admit that I have spent HOURS clicking that darn Stumble button, but I have found some fantastic sites as a result. Here is the extension.

Tab Mix Plus – this extension has a lot of configurations. It basically extends the built-in tab functionality within Firefox. To quote the author: “It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more.” I haven’t fully explored all of the configurations but one thing that I did enable was the ability to double click on a tab to close it. Get the extension here.

Update Notifier – now that you have installed a bunch of extensions (and maybe themes), how do you keep them current? Well with this nifty extension! You can configure it to search for updates, download those updates, install them and then it prompts you to restart Firefox. Couldn’t live without this one. Get it here.

Web Developer – for the truly geeky users out there, this one is a gem! If there is anything you ever want to know or do with a webpage, this is the extension for you. I can’t really do it justice here as there are so many different things you can do with it. Best thing to do is to read the feature page. Get the extension here.

Well, that is my list, for now at least. I use a lot of other extensions, but right now, the ones above I find to be the most useful. Let me know of any others that I should check out!

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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