The Best Firefox Extensions, 2011

January 8, 2012, 5:59 IST

Eric Griffith

The Best Firefox Extensions, 2011

It's not much of a stretch to say Mozilla owes the success its Firefox browser has had these last six years to add-ons. Firefox was the first browser to embrace them. Add-ons encompass plug-ins (like Flash, Adobe Reader, QuickTime, etc) that make existing Web tech work, themes for changing a browser's look, and of course, those capability-enhancing programs known as extensions that go beyond a developer's dreams.

Of course, you could go your entire browsing life without installing an extension. Many people do. But without them, you're missing out on making Firefox the powerhouse of Web surfing it can be. Take a look at our 23 choices for the best extensions, install a few, and try them out (they're free, after all) and you'll see just how useful they are.

1. FireFTP
Need to access a server somewhere with full-fledged FTP but don't want to exit your browser? You don't have to with FireFTP . It loads in a tab and gives you all the access you need without loading a separate program. It works with Firefox on Mac, Windows, or Linux, too.

2. Tweetlight
Why cut and paste items you like into Twitter? With Tweetlight , just highlight, hit Ctrl+Shift+E (or use a context menu), and your selections can instantly get micro-blogged to followers. v

3. Site to Phone
Sometimes porting favorite sites from your desktop browser to your mobile browser is a pain. Site to Phone minimizes that so you can send links that will work every time to iOS, Android, WebOS, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone 7 phones. This one works in every browser, with extensions for IE and Chrome, too.

4. Shopping
When you want bargains, get Shopping. It assists as you shop by popping up as you search or surf major online retailers. Click the tab or links and you'll see where you can get the items you want even cheaper. Also available on IE and Chrome.

FEBE , or the Firefox Environment Backup Extension for long, is all about backup of the whole environment. Thus the name. It handles bookmarks, profiles, preferences, cookies, themes, and extensions, and you can backup or restore just the parts you want.

6. Ghostery
Wondering who's tracking your every move as you surf? Ghostery tries to keep you up to date by detecting all the "invisible" parts of a web page (such as web bugs) so you can see who's doing what, then opt out of tracking by letting Ghostery's GhostRank sit in-between you and them.


7. Visual Hashing
If you're constantly mistyping your passwords because you can't keep track of what you've already entered (most forms obscure characters as you go), then Visual Hashing is for you. As you type, the colors change into a four-color block. Eventually you'll come to know the colors as well as your password itself.

8. Xmarks Bookmark Sync
No collection of add-ons for a browser is complete without Xmarks . Whether you use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or IE, this software and service makes sure your browsers all have the same synched bookmarks and passwords.

9. LastPass
LastPass is our favorite when it comes to encrypting and keeping your password for safe but easily accessed use. Considering the number of sites that require username and password access, it's inexcusable to not have this installed to keep you secure. Use it on any platform, and you should also install it with IE and Chrome if you use those as well.

Read our review of LastPass.

10. Evernote Web Clipper
Evernote is what you need to store things you find online. The service is your personal online database of clips or links or entire pages of data to reference later. Web Clipper saves them in the background while you keep surfing.

Read our review of Evernote

11. Clearly
Clearly is another service of Evernote, which takes articles, blog posts, and other Web pages that you might be too busy to read and reduces them to just the text you want, distraction-free. You can change the text type and background for optimal readability. Of course, you can then save that same cleaned-up version of the text directly to Evernote for reading later.

12. Personas Plus
Want to change the look of Firefox? Forget the old themes; these days Firefox is all about "personas" to change the skin of the browser--from color scheme to buttons to background image on the toolbars. Personas Plus is the extension that gives you complete control over the skins, all by clicking the little fox-face icon in the lower browser status bar. Use it to find your favorites or the latest looks and make a change instantly.

Check out more of the best Firefox Extensions, on page 2...

Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.

source: The Best Firefox Extensions, 2011

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