My essential Firefox fixes (and add-ons) in 2022

Software

Update: This may be my first time I’ve appeared at the top of Hacker News; thanks @koobs for alerting me. There are some great plugin ideas and feedback there. Mozilla: please pay attention, these are your biggest advocates.

I haven’t done a how I use Firefox post for a few years now, so I thought it was worth revisiting everyone’s favourite runner-up browser. It’s scary to think I’ve been using this for almost twenty years!

This is valid for Firefox 96, another number that doesn’t seem real. Though I suppose technically it is. How irrational of me! Wait, rational.

Interface fixes

Mozilla recently removed the Search box by default, and added redundant padding to the toolbar to mimic Safari. You can reclaim this space, and get the Search and titlebar back for easier dragging:

  1. Right-click the toolbar and click Customise Toolbar
  2. Hover over the flexible spaces and drag them out
  3. Drag the Search box back next to the URL bar
  4. Drag the Pocket icon out if you don’t use it
  5. Click the Title Bar checkbox to enable it again

If you’re on *nix or Windows, you can also click the Hamburger menu on the top-right and choose Menu Bar to get that back too.

You also should definitely not install the Horizontal Wood theme to make your browser look like a piece of IKEA furniture. I didn’t, and am definitely not loving it for its cheesy fun.

Privacy extensions

  • uBlock Origin is still my go-to for privacy protection and filtering.

  • I also use Decentraleyes to proxy common CDN requests. Update: People are recommending LocalCDN as an alternative.

  • I keep wanting to use NoScript, but unfortunately the modern web beats me back into submission each time. Maybe you’ll have more luck.

  • I Don’t Care About Cookies is essential if you scrub cookies. Without a way to save preferences, those disingenuous implementations of EU law asking you for permissions each time get mighty old!

I used to use cookie blocking tools, but thesedays I use Firefox’s built-in Cookies and Site Data tools in Preferences. There you can click Delete cookies and site data when Firefox is closed, and also click Manage Exceptions to add frequent sites to spare you having to re-auth every time.

Missing functionality

  • Tree Style Tab is still essential for putting tabs on the side, so you don’t end up with a row of tiny tab icons. It also helps you group tabs, so you can see where tabs came from.

  • KeePassXC-Browser is essential if you use the world’s best password manager!

  • And finally, OneTab converts your open tabs into an HTML file with a list. It’s a great way to save memory and bookmark a ton of tabs instead of keeping things open.

Author bio and support

Me!

Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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