Four Essential Firefox Add-Ons

So, you’ve just broken free from Internet Explorer and you’re looking to get in on the Firefox Revolution. Great! One of the wonderful things about this open source browser is that it has a wide variety of Add-ons to turn your web browsing experience into something faster, more productive, and more fun than you imagined! Here are some essential Firefox Add-ons that every user should know about.

NO SCRIPT

A quick and easy add-on that does one thing but does it well: blocks javascript from any page. While that sounds useless, as flash and java are an intregal part of the browsing experience, in this day and age of tricky trojans and harmful hackers being able to know exactly what javascript is loading up is essential. NoScript allows you to select what exactly javascript and flash runs and what doesn’t. This is essential if you’re going onto an untrusted website or if you notice anything fishy about an old favorite hangout of yours. Many unscrupulous sites will try to compromise your security through unauthorized javascript processes weaseling their way onto your hard drive, so Javascript is key to keeping you safe on the net.

GREASE MONKEY

Unlike the other add-ons featured in this list, Grease Monkey itself doesn’t do anything by itself. No, what Grease Monkey does is allow you to download and install other small Grease Monkey “Scripts” that implement small amounts of javascript to change bits and pieces of how a particular site is displayed. Some do nothing more than adjust the width of a page while others (like better mail) add custom graphics, tagging systems, and a lot more functionality. The fact that Grease Monkey is one add-on that allows more than one change to firefox and is incredibly simple to program for makes it a must have for anyone looking to boost their usability of firefox.

ADBLOCK PLUS

It’s fairly safe to say that no one likes obnoxious banner ads. These eyesores have been a thorn in the internet’s side since the early days of Geocities, and it only appears as if it’s getting worse. The blinking, the dancing, and the drain on your bandwidth is not only distracting, but it can be destructive as well. Many security minded websites make mention of how some innocent looking ads can and will load up destructive scripts that can put adware and even malware onto your computer. Adblock Plus is the easiest and simplest way to keep yourself safe from these so-called “mal-ads”. After you install it, it automatically loads and updates itself with filters it keeps constantly up to date. You can even select filters for different countries and languages as well, depending on where you live. If you’re at a trustworthy site, you can easily turn Adblock Plus off with either a middle click or through a right click menu.

DOWNLOAD STATUS BAR

Do you download a lot of files? Having problem keeping track of what you’ve downloaded, and how long each file is taking? Download Status bar takes the separate download popup window and places all the information into a horizontal bar at the bottom of the firefox browser. Each download is shown as a percentage bar, with information about how fast the download is going and the estimated time that said download will finish. Once your download has finished, you can easily click on the individual bar to open up each specific file. When you’re done with your latest crop of files, you can easily clear out your status bars by a few right clicks, and even delete the original files if you don’t need them anymore as well.

With these Add-Ons and extensions, you should be well on your way to getting the most out of your firefox experience. If you’re more artistic minded, take a look at the variety of themes available as well, to help you fully customize your new browser’s look and feel.