Unlocking the Full Potential of Firefox with Plugins

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Unlocking the Full Potential of Firefox with Plugins

Firefox is an excellent browser, but users who have not jumped into using plugins are seeing only half the picture. Here are some plugins that you should install for a better browsing experience.

While there are millions of Internet users who may never go beyond the simplest web browsing, others take their Internet use to the next level. These are often referred to as ‘power users’ and they include professionals who use the Web as a means of research and development and recreational users with the technical savvy to make more of the Internet than many dream possible. For these power users, selecting a web browser is merely the first step. Thereafter, power users use add-ons or ‘plugins’ to modify their web browser in much the same way that auto enthusiasts add ‘mods’ to their cars.

For those who may wish to take the next step into this ‘power user’ group, the key is to understand what it is you’d like to do that you can’t with your current browser setup, and then to figure out how you CAN do it. Rest assured, if you want some functionality, it can be developed and there is a good chance that it already has. This is especially true of Firefox, the browser from Mozilla that has such a robust set of third-party add-ons and plugins, that it is the de facto standard for serious Internet users. To get started on the road to being a power user, a few basic plugins are a good place to start:

Google Toolbar

Perhaps the most basic, downloaded add-on for Firefox is the Google Toolbar. This easy-to-use plugin offers the Google search box right from your browser, regardless of the website you’re visiting. Other features include easy access to other Google tools, including Google Maps, Goolge Earth, Google News, Gmail and many more, In addition, there are a variety of tools that can be used for general web browsing, including ‘autofill’ tools for filling out forms quickly and accurately, and the famous Google ‘PageRank’ bar, which shows Google’s measure of a webpage’s authority. The Google Toolbar is, essentially, the first plug-in to add to move onto ‘power user’ status.

Web Developer

This plugin is indispensable for web designers and developers. With easy access to validation tools for XHTML and CSS, it saves time and can offer a quick glance at the ‘guts’ of a given web page. You can also use this tool to change browser settings on the fly. Disable javascript, images, cookies, and many other elements to webpages to customize your web browsing experience.

Snap Links Plus

A simple tool that allows the user to take advantage of Firefox ‘tabs’. Simply right-click and drag your pointer over multiple links on a web page and ALL of those links will be opened in a new tab.


Originally called ‘Foxmarks’ as a nod to its development as a Firefox add-on, this powerful bookmarks synchronization tool changed its name after becoming available for other browsers. Install XMarks, and you can synchronize your bookmarks on every computer your use, a handy tool for those who use multiple computers or need access to bookmarks from both home and work.

Now that you have a few plugins to check out, understand that installing them is very easy. Simply search the official Mozilla site for Firefox plugins―using the Firefox browsers, of course―and click the ‘download now’ button for the plugin you’d like to install. Thereafter, Firefox will walk you through the process of installing the plugin. A quick restart of the browser and you’ll be ready to start your web browsing as a power user.

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