Mozilla Firefox

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Mozilla Firefox is a web browser from the Mozilla Corporation which used to aim to be a lean mean browsing machine. It's been going down-hill for Firefox since around 2007. Each release since then has become sluggish and less privacy-respecting. Firefox is a decent browser with modern features and it's fine for regular web browsing; it's just slower than the competition and less privacy-respecting than it used to be.

A brief history-lesson

Firefox was originally a fork of the Seamonkey browser suite aiming to be slim, light and fast. Versions up to 3.6.xx were pretty good. It really started going downhill from version 4. Changes between Firefox 10 and 11 made some JavaScript sites perform horrible to the point where having one tab open with a JS site would make the whole browser slow and useless. This particular issue was eventually fixed after being present in version after version for ages.

The "privacy" browser

Mozilla used to promise privacy and Firefox was the most privacy-respecting browser for a long time. Modern Firefox has telemetry and other botnet features. You can type about:telemetry in Firefox's URL address bar to see just how much personal information about you and your loves ones it is gathering and uploading. Firefox also has a "Pocket" feature which promises synchronization between your devices. This works by uploading a copy of everything you do to Mozilla and this copy is then shared with other devices you have as well as law enforcement agencies and other unknown parties.

Usability and performance

Firefox is alright for most casual web browsing. It performs alright when browsing not-so-advanced web pages.


Firefox on Linux performs horrible when viewing pages that are graphics-intensive or use WebGL. This is partly due to the default renderer on Linux being set to "Basic". It is possible to more than double WebGL and general graphics performance by setting the key gfx.webrender.all in the secret about:config settings to true. Just type about:config in the navigation bar to get to the secret settings page.

Tips and Tricks which help make Firefox more usable

HOWTO switch search-engine

This is not immediately obvious in newer versions of Firefox since the small search-box next to the address bar was taken away. This box is required for easy search-engine management. Take it back: Go to Preferences and Search and choose Add search bar in toolbar. You will now have a small search-box next to the URL address bar. You can still use the address bar to search. The search-box is more powerful as you can choose a specific search-engine and it can also be used to easily add search-engines.

If you have the search-box and you go to a search-engine or website - like this one - you can click the magnifying-glass icon in the search-box and add the site to your list of search-engines.


The best privacy-respecting search-engine option today is the metasearch engine software SearX. It is free software. You can install it on your own machine or server or pick one listed on asciimoos list of Public Searx instances on github. Finding a good searx metasearch-engine that works well may take a bit of effort, some are slower than others. They also tend to slow down as they become popular.

Just click on the search-box's magnifying glass and choose Add when you are visiting a SearX instance or other search-engine you want to add and use.

You can not set a default search-engine from the searchbox. You need to go to Preferences, Search to choose a default.

Privacy-related configuration options

There are settings you can change to make Firefox slightly less botnet on a special configuration page you can get to by entering about:config in the URL bar. Consider changing the following keys found there:

value function default recommended
privacy.resistFingerprinting activates the anti-fingerprinting code used by the Tor browser false true
toolkit.telemetry.enabled informs the botnet of your activites on some distributions it's removed entirely, on some it's set to true false sends everything you type in the URL bar and search-box true false
extensions.pocket.enabled Enables some botnet thing true false
network.trr.uri Makes DNS resolve using Cloudflare blank

Some of these items warrant some further elaboration. Some, like toolkit.telemetry.enabled, do not. It's all bad and there's no upside. is something you may want to enable at the cost of privacy. Noticed how you can type in a few letters and by magic get a full search-term matching suggested? Every letter you enter into the searchbox is sent to a search-engine which sends responses back. This can be useful and you may want to have this feature. However, you are sharing everything you type in the URL bar. This includes typing in URLs to websites you are visiting. Search-suggestions are convenient - but do not underestimate the privacy-implications of using this feature.

network.trr.uri is a new in Firefox 65+. Firefox will request DNS settings from the configured location and use those regardless of your systems configuration. As of now Cloudflare DNS settings are auto-configured. There are privacy-implications and it also gives a large private corporation the ability to simply turn sites they do not like off at will. On the flip-side, some countries mandate by law that Internet Service Providers censor DNS requests. Leaving this setting to it's default may be preverable in those situation - thought the better solution would be to setup your own DNS server.

Setting a sensible minimum tab width

It used to be possible to make Firefox tabs shrink as more tabs are opened by going to about:config. The Firefox developers decided that this was too easy and made the tab related options there do nothing.

The current solution is to make a file called userChrome.css in the chrome/ directory in the Firefox profile folder ($HOME/.mozilla/firefox/$profilename).

File: userChrome.css
.tabbrowser-tab[fadein]:not([pinned]) {
min-width: 30px !important;

This will make tabs shrink as more tabs than what is possible with the window with are opened.

Getting the actual URL shown in the address bar

You can make Firefox show you the full address of a website including the http:// by adding a new boolean called browser.urlbar.trimURLs set to false in about:config.

Using a different User-agent

Go to about:config and right-click and select New and String and make the key general.useragent.override and put something in that key like general.useragent.override;Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 12_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/605.1.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/12.1.1 Mobile/15E148 Safari/604.1 if you want to browse the web as a stupid phone poster.

This will NOT work if privacy.resistFingerprinting is set to true as this setting will force the user-agent Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:60.0) regardless of what general.useragent.override is set to.

HOWTO Restart Firefox

Chrome and Chromium can be restarted by simply typing chrome://restart into the URL address bar. Firefox has special pages which can be accessed with the about: prefix similar to Chrome/Chromium's chrome:// prefix - but it lacks any direct way to restart the browser. However, there are two options: about:restartrequired and about:profiles

about:restartrequired is meant to be seen only when the browser has been silently updated to a new version. It features the text Sorry. We just need to do one small thing to keep going. Firefox has just been updated in the background. Click Restart Firefox to complete the update. and a handy Restart Firefox button. It works. Typing about:restartrequired into the bar and clicking the Restart Firefox button is almost as handy as simply typing about:restart into the address bar would be. Just typing about:restart results in a useless Hmm. That address doesn’t look right. message.

about:profiles can also be used to restart Firefox. It displays a page listing all the Firefox profiles with buttons for renaming them, removing them and launching them. The useful part of this special page is in the upper right corner where there are Restart with Add-ons Disabled...' and Restart normally... buttons.

The restart buttons on both the about:restartrequired and about:profiles pages will save currently open tabs and restore them upon restart.

HOWTO view internals

Type about:support into the address bar to see what rendering mechanism is used, what audio outputs are available and other "internal" information about Firefox.

Essential extensions

Some extensions are more useful than others. These are, in our opinion, worth having.

Best Content Filter (=Advertisement blocker

uBlock Origin is the best adblocking plugin for Firefox. You can download and install it from

uBlock Origin defaults to a somewhat crippled configuration for some reason. You need to click the red shield icon to configure it once it is installed. Go to Filter lists and enable everything under Ads, Annoyances and Privacy.

Big corporations would have you believe that you are stealing this website if you read it with an adblocker enabled. Do not worry, there are plenty of people who have no idea there is a advertisement-free Internet experience to be had. Let them see the advertisements.

Non-Spyware User Style Manager

Stylish was the best option for years and years and many still use it by habit. Stylish has been spyware since early 2017[1]. The Stylus extension is a non-spying alternative.

User-script Manager

Greasemonkey is an old popular alternative. It's mostly fine. Tampermonkey by Jan Biniok is closed source.

The Violentmonkey Firefox extension is the best choice and it's open source with the source-code available on github.



Anonymous user #1

4 months ago
Score 1 You
now those ffox clowns ask for huge money €$ so people see fewer ads on some sites. What a rip-off! ffox does a lot of anti feature stuff like pocket and all.

Anonymous user #2

16 days ago
Score 0++
Firefox fits well the GNOME paradigm, since they remove features every other day.
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