Browsing the internet should be easy! Unfortunately, with all of the toolbars, icons, labels and preloaded bookmarks of the most used internet browsers (IE, Firefox) your viewable space can get a bit messy. If you have found yourself a bit overwhelmed by the “clutter” that has accumulated within your browser or simply want to see more of the web pages you are browsing, we have something for you. Welcome to JumpstartMyFirefox! We’re going to show you how to take your browser from A to B.
Over the past few years, Firefox add-ons have grabbed my attention more and more. Each time I found myself with a browsing need or problem, a quick Google search led me to a solution using add-ons, which are basically mini-programs that work within Firefox to customize some part of the browsing experience. I have installed and tested many add-ons during that time and today I bring you my own collection, titled JumpstartMyFirefox, to help you take back your browser.
If you are an Internet Explorer user, I urge you to at least try Firefox and these add-ons. Installing Firefox will not replace or delete anything you have done in IE, so you can always switch back if you would like. If you are already a Firefox user, this might be the time to start with a fresh install of Firefox. That’s what I did and I couldn’t be happier. Jump on over to firefox.com and get started. It takes just a few minutes to download and install this great browser.
Now that you have Firefox installed, you’ll need to install the recommended add-ons below. The article looks lengthy, but these add-ons can be installed in about 10-15 minutes. The only time consuming part is waiting on Firefox to restart after each one is installed. Direct links are available (below) or you can visit the Official JumpstartMyFirefox Collection page on Mozilla.
Security and Speed Features
1) Adblock Plus – gets rid of most of those ads and banners that often take longer to download than everything else on the page. Install
2) NoScript - stops active content on sites until you “whitelist” the page or site. Protects your computer from malicious attacks. Install
NOTE: NoScript takes some time to learn and can seem a bit strict at first, but WILL help protect your computer.
3) Web of Trust (WOT) – warns you about risky sites that cheat customers, deliver malware or send spam. Install
4) Optimize Google (not shown in image above) – works behind the scenes to enhance Google search results and remove ads and spam. Install
Layout and Streamline Features
5) App Tabs – Pin favicon-sized app tabs to the left side of the tab bar. A must have for anyone who visits the same sites throughout the day. Install
NOTE: This add-on is listed as experimental. I have seen no issues or side-effects from use of App Tabs.
6) Download Statusbar (not shown in image above) – View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar – without the download window getting in the way of your web browsing. Install
7) Strata40 – a theme that changes the layout of the browser (colors, icons, etc.) Install
StrataBuddy – A companion add-on that adds new features to Strata40. Install
9) Fission – Fission combines address bar and progress bar. This makes the progress bar more visible and allows for a nice visual effect. Install
After you have Firefox and all of the add-ons installed you can begin fine-tuning your Firefox layout to get everything right where you want it. Here are a few small changes that I made to the interface you see above.
- Add icons for bookmarks and printing – By default, you only have a few icons to work with (back, home, stop, refresh), but a right-click anywhere in the menu options will allow you to Customize what buttons you see. With the Customize Toolbar window open, you can drag and drop icons anywhere you want them, move search and address bars around, etc.
- Change the View to remove the Bookmarks Toolbar – If I want to access a bookmark, I can simply click on the star (between the address ans search bars) to see my bookmark links.
Want more add-ons for Firefox? There are thousands to choose from on the add-ons web site. At JumpstartMyPC.com, we have already written a few articles on some other great add-ons to help you with printing, tab reloading, etc. Click on the links below to find out more:
My Web of Trust – You Cannot Afford to Surf Without It – more detailed information about WOT add-on.
Firefox Add-on BarTap – How Did I Live Without It? – BarTap helps speed up the restart time of Firefox after a crash or shutdown.
Site Launcher – Like Having a Remote Control for Firefox – It’s like having a remote control to your favorite web sites.
ShareThis makes sharing easy – There is no easier way to share web sites or articles with friends and family via email, Facebook, Twitter or any other sharing site you can think of.