Firefox Extensions

Firefox Extensions – My Picks

This article was last updated on 27-Sep-2018. See the list of recent changes at the end.

Mozilla Firefox is a popular, “free”, open source web browser that is extremely configurable and easy to use. Somewhat bare out of the box however, its functionality is easily extended with add-ons, or extensions if you prefer, of which there are many thousands.

WebExtensions

As you may know, Mozilla is phasing out the old XUL/XPCOM browser add-ons in favor of WebExtensions. Though there are indeed security and stability benefits with the new model, the problem with WebExtensions is that their functionality is severely limited. For example, the once hugely popular Classic Theme Restorer add-on will no longer work since Firefox version 57. Since i depend on certain add-ons that cannot be ported to the WebExtension platform, i have chosen to abandon the Mozilla build of Firefox in favor of Waterfox, the developer of which, Alex Kontos, intends to support both XUL/XPCOM and the newer WebExtensions. Waterfox is also a more privacy-centric browser with a little less bloat.

Which flavor of the browser you choose to run is of course entirely your decision. If you run the official Mozilla Firefox version, you will always have the latest version with the latest features and security updates, but you’re privacy will also be more at risk unless you take additional measures. If you run Waterfox, know that the latest release can lag several major versions behind Firefox, but it is a more privacy-centric browser that supports both WebExtensions and the older XUL/XPCOM extensions. Both flavors are available in 64bit and both support hardware acceleration, however many of the legacy add-ons will prevent hardware acceleration from working. Personally, i’m willing to trade a bit of performance and the latest Mozilla money-making schemes for better privacy and additional functionality from a developer which i believe to be more ethical.

In the add-on list below, the older XUL/XPCOM extensions are indicated with the ‘(legacy)’ label. Just know that they will not work in the newer versions of Firefox.

Beware

With so many “free” add-ons, the casual user might be tempted to install a large number of them, however i would highly recommend installing only the add-ons you really like or need since the potential to break things and compromise browser security and your privacy increases with every add-on that is installed.

Another issue that should be considered is unethical add-on developers that sometimes package unwanted and unnecessary components which may include provisions for tracking your web activities or other behavior that is not relevant to the expected function of the add-on. Although Mozilla limits what an extension can do, user tracking and advertising is permitted and so i would highly recommend that you take the following precautions before installing any add-on:

  • Be very wary of any add-on which is packaged in the form of a tool-bar. Many/most of these contain 3rd party spyware components for the purpose of monetizing the add-on.
  • If an add-on has a privacy policy, read it. Some of these are fine but many are not, so be sure to read the privacy policy if one is available.
  • Read the Permissions to learn what capabilities the extension requires. Older add-ons which were not ported to WebExtensions are known as Legacy add-ons and may access all browser functions. Given a choice, i would suggest using WebExtension add-ons wherever possible and only those which require the permissions necessary to accomplish the functionality in order to do their job.
  • Don’t install an add-on when it’s first released. Mozilla uses an automated system to evaluate add-ons initially and, as of this writing, it is deeply flawed, so wait for a while before installing a newly released add-on as this will give Mozilla and the users time to better evaluate it.
  • Check the user reviews to see how well an add-on is liked and be wary if it is rated at 3 or less stars, or not rated at all. Even if the add-on is rated 4 or 5 stars, check the comments of the people that gave it the lowest rating to see if their gripe seems legitimate. Several highly popular add-ons contain unwanted functionality such as user profiling/tracking including Abduction, a screen capture utility; Quick Locale Switcher, a language switcher; FasterFox Lite, a largely useless utility which claims to speed-up Firefox; BlockSite, a content blocker; Google’s Search By Image, a reverse image search utility, and many others.
  • Check the developers profile to see what other add-ons they have created and how those are rated.
  • Visit the developer website if one is available and see what kind of content is there. Look for marketing hype and be wary of dot com domains.
  • Be weary of developers that provide neither a website where the source code is published nor a method to submit support requests. Most ethical developers will make their source code easy to find and provide a proper support platform, such as that offered by GitHub.

Lastly, keep your add-ons updated, but before doing so you should revisit its page at addons.mozilla.org, read the change-log and re-read the privacy policy. The problem here is that a developer may decide to monetize their work at any time, or even sell their extension to an unethical party. Ingo Wennemaring, who developed the once hugely popular All-in-One Sidebar add-on, warns about this in a blog post:

It was always very important for me to be honest and fair to the users. I had very good offers to sell the extension, but I didn’t want to see that AiOS turn into adware or spyware.

My favorite Firefox Waterfox add-ons

Although i use the brand name ‘Firefox’ throughout this article, i no longer use Firefox for reasons which you can read about here. Instead i use Waterfox which is a lighter and more privacy-centric fork of Firefox.

There are a few very popular add-ons that are absent here, including NoScript, Adblock Plus (or Adblock Edge), Ghostery, etc.. While this may seem odd to some, the functionality offered by these extensions is largely covered by uBlock Origin and uMatrix. See my Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs article for more information.

Regarding the Adobe Flash Player, i do not install the Flash extension since you can watch most videos without it and therefore i have no need to worry about the security and privacy risks associated with Flash. If you have trouble watching some videos without Flash, try the EmbedUpdater add-on.

Privacy and security related add-ons

NameDescriptionNotes/Caveats

CanvasBlocker by kkapsner

CanvasBlocker, as you might have guessed, blocks ‘canvas’ which is a JavaScript API that is used to draw graphics on-the-fly. Canvas poses a substantial threat to privacy in that it can be used to fingerprint the browser.The author recommends setting the canvas blocking method to ‘fake readout API’ which may seem counterintuitive because this will practically ensure that the browser fingerprint signature is unique, however the signature will change every time canvas is used, so i guess the recommended setting makes sense, especially if you don’t want to be bothered with whitelisting domains if/when something breaks.

Cookies Exterminator by Off JustOff (legacy)

Cookies Exterminator removes objects (“cookies”, localStorage, IndexedDB) that are left-behind by a website even after you close its tab. As of this time, Mozilla has not made available the API that would allow the same functionality with WebExtensions.

Decentraleyes by Thomas Rientjes

Decentraleyes is a privacy enhancing add-on that has the additional benefit of decreasing the load time for many websites which depend on 3rd party Content Delivery Networks (CDN) for various fuctionality. It accomplishes this by storing and loading several common JavaScript resources locally instead of having to fetch them from the web server.Could potentially break some websites, though it is possible to white-list affected domains.

Don’t touch my tabs! by Jeroen Swen

Don’t touch my tabs! is a simple install-it-and-forget-it add-on that stops a new tab from modifying the content of the previous tab from which you opened the new one.

Header Editor by 泷涯, 道滿

Header Editor can manipulate the browsers HTTP request and responce headers. Using this tool provides many options regarding privacy, redirects and more. See the end of this article for some usage examples.For advanced users.

Neat URL by Geoffrey De Belie

Neat URL simply removes unnecessary parameters from URLs which are often used for tracking purposes. Using the Google search results as an examlpe, it turns this garbage: http://effinamazing.com/blog/i-deleted-2187-of-my-twitter-followers-here-is-why/?utm_source=ReviveOldPost&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost into this: http://effinamazing.com/blog/i-deleted-2187-of-my-twitter-followers-here-is-why/

Privacy Badger by EFF Technologists

Privacy Badger by the EFF helps to block various tracking and spying mechanisms. It works well in conjuction with uBlock Origin and if you disable uBlock on a site for some reason, such as troubleshooting, Privacy Badger will still offer some protection regarding your privacy. This is another extension which you can pretty much forget about after installation. 

Project Insight by em_te

Project Insight displays the permissions for all your add-ons including what domains they have permission to access. 

Skip Redirect by Sebastian Blask

Redirects sometimes happen when you click on a hyperlink expecting to go directly to the destination and, instead, your request is passed through an intermediatary. Redirects are often used to track your browsing history or display ads before you are forwarded to the target domain. Skip Redirect simply tries to bypass this annoying behavior. I would suggest keeping the notification enabled when Skip Redirect does its thing as this makes it easy to troubleshoot a problem.May break the functionality of some websites in which case they can be added to a whitelist.

Smart HTTPS by ilGur

Smart HTTPS simply attempts to load unsecured (HTTP) websites securely (HTTPS). ‘Pants’, from the ghacks-user.js repo, doesn’t like Smart HTTPS and favors HTTPS Everywhere instead. Your milage may vary, but i prefer the former as it has never given me any trouble and doesn’t rely on rule-sets.

Smart Referer by meh., Alexander Schlarb

When you visit a website and then click a link on that site that takes you somewhere else, the site that you are going to will know where you came from if the referer header is present. Smart Referer simply eliminates this intrusion upon your privacy except when you navigate to another page on the same domain.

uBlock Origin by Raymond Hill

uBlock Origin is a superior content filter (or firewall, if you like) that replaces most other content/ad blockers for me, including Adblock Plus/Edge, NoScript, Policeman and several others. It is capable of using the same filter lists as Adblock Plus/Edge as well as many more that they cannot. Two of the most welcome differences with uBlock Origin is that it does not slow page loading to any noticeable degree and it uses less memory then the Adblock derivatives. Another major advantage is that it can block both 1st and 3rd party requests for images, scripts and frames. See my Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs article for more information regarding uBlock Origin. Lastly, note that there are two versions of uBlock; uBlock and uBlock Origin. You absolutly need to use the latter which is written by the original developer, Raymond Hill.As with any content filtering extension, uBlock Origin has the potential to break website functionality until it is configured correctly.

uMatrix by Raymond Hill

uMatrix is another very powerful content blocker by Raymond Hill and though it is similar to uBlock Origin, it offers more granular control over blocking various resources including cookies, CSS, images, plug-ins, scripts, XHR, frames and more. In my case i use uBlock Origin as my only primary content blocker, however it is perfectly fine to use both together. See my guide, Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs, for information on how to properly configure them to get the most out of each one.As with any content filtering extension, uMatrix has the potential to break website functionality until it is configured correctly.

Add-ons providing additional functionality

NameDescriptionNotes/Caveats

Add custom search engine by Tom Schuster

Though there are several ways of adding search engines to the search bar, Add custom search engine offers a fairly simple method that gives you a bit more piece of mind and control then you otherwise might have if you installed a search engine extension. It also allows you to set any icon you want either by entering its URL or by specifying the base64 code. Another alternative is Search Engines Helper by Soufiane Sakhi which has the added advantage of importing and exporting all your search engines.Because of the severe restrictions with the WebExtension API, it is apparently not possible to add a search plugin directly through the add-on and therefore such WebExtensions must use a 3rd party resource, in this case file.io.

Classic Theme Restorer by Aris (legacy)

Not happy with the new Australis interface for Firefox? I don’t blame you, but if you want the latest gizmo’s and security fixes, you’re stuck with it. Unfortunately, yet another add-on is necessary to re-add the functionality that the wizards at Mozilla think you don’t need, and that add-on is Classic Theme Restorer. In addition to its many settings for manipulating the appearance of Firefox, CTR also makes is easy to disable some of the “features” which rely on 3rd party services, including the Hello and Pocket features.

Easy Copy by Byron (legacy)

The highly configurable Easy Copy add-on provides the ability to copy various content, such as hyperlink text, page titles and their links, excerpts and more, in various formats. For example it makes it easy to copy both a page title and link which is formatted for posting on a forum.

Exif Viewer by Alan Raskin

Exif Viewer allows you to view the EXIF metadata stored in many JPEG images, including the camera and exposure info and, when available, the GPS location of the image.

Flagfox by Dave G

Flagfox is a neat utility that adds an icon to the address bar which represents the flag of the country in which the web server is located. When the icon is right-clicked, a context menu is revealed with many more tools, such as a WHOIS lookup, URL shortening services and more. You can also add your own services.If you choose to display the menu icons, they are not stored locally and have to be fetched the first time you open the menu.

NewsFox by Andrey Gromyko, R Pruitt (legacy)

If you read a lot of syndicated feeds (RSS/ATOM) NewsFox is, in my opinion, the best extension for reading and managing your news feeds within Firefox, even given its caveats. It offers a lot of configuration options for reading, organizing and marking the status of feeds, and it has a clean, intuitive, customizable, 3 pane interface.NewsFox can briefly hang the Firefox GUI while checking feeds. The problem worsens as more threads are enabled in the settings. I don’t like that you cannot create sub-folders within a folder.

ScrapBook X by Danny Lin (legacy)

A fork of the original ScrapBook extension, ScrapBook X is a very handy tool for storing and organizing scraps of text, whole web pages, or images that you want to save. I use it often when i research subject matter, such as when i wrote the NPR article. You can import, combine and export your scrap book, including exporting as HTML. If you need more power, try Zotero.

Scroll Up Folder by Bruce Bujon (Perfect Slayer) (legacy)

Scroll Up Folder is a nice little extension which makes it super simple to navigate within a domain by moving up or down the URL structure using your mouse wheel when you hover over the address bar. For example, you can go from subdomain.example.com/dir?=param1
to any of the following:
subdomain.example.com/dir
subdomain.example.com
example.com
While there are several other add-ons that offer similar functionality, Scroll Up Folder is one of the few that a) does not require a toolbar/address bar button or context menu, b) segments URL parameters and c) handles sub-domains properly. Here i link to the legacy version, but there is also a WebExtension version, though i find it less convient to use.
For some reason the author coded this extension so that it adds “www.” to the domain when navigating to the root domain even when “www.” is not present, though i’ve never yet had any problems with this.

Search Site by DW-dev (legacy)

Search Site is a great little extension that adds another icon in the right side of the Search Bar that, when clicked, will search only the current website for your search terms. Though there are others like it, i particularly like the way it’s integrated. If another icon is too much for you, you can hide it and just use Ctrl+Enter instead.

Sidebars List by Infocatcher (legacy)

The name, Sidebars List, doesn’t do justice to its functionality. The primary function of this add-on, at least for me, is not to list the sidebars, but rathrer to access the sidebar quickly by clicking the left edge of the browser window and this works great, especially when the window is maximized. See the Sidebars List tweak here if you want to completely hide the splitter/switch.

Violentmonkey by Gerald

Violentmonkey is for running user created scripts which are typically used to change how a website functions or looks. Some of the most popular scripts allow you to download videos from sites like YouTube, or enhance the functionality of sites like Facebook and Google. You can even find some proof of concept scripts for defeating CAPTCHA’s, though they don’t appear to be fully baked yet. For a selection of scripts that i personally find useful, see the bottom of this page. At this time i think Violentmonkey is a better alternative to Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey.Installing user scripts is a security and stability risk! While this holds true for extensions as well, scripts are generally not scrutinized to the degree that extensions are when download from Mozilla. Be sure to read the feedback from others, as well as the history of the developer, before installing scripts.

Header Editor code examples

There’s many things you can do with the Header Editor extension. Following are a few examples:

ETag Removal

In this first example, we can empty the ETag HTTP header in order to help preserve our privacy. To begin, create a new rule in Header Editor named ETag Removal. For the rule type, select ‘Modify the response header’. For the match type, select ‘All’. For the execute type, select ‘Normal’. For the header name, enter etag. Leave the header value empty and make sure to save the configuration.

X-Forwarded-For

The X-Forwarded-For header can be used by the web server to obtain your IP address through a proxy and is therefore a privacy risk. To empty this header, create a new rule in Header Editor named X-Forward-For Removal. For the rule type, select ‘Modify the response header’. For the match type, select ‘All’. For the execute type, select ‘Normal’. For the header name, enter X-Forward-For. Leave the header value empty and make sure to save the configuration.

YouTube privacy

In this last example we will redirect all youtube.com links to youtube-nocookie.com links. This should prevent YouTube from placing cookies in the browser when visiting web pages with embedded YouTube videos. To create this redirect, create a new rule in Header Editor named YouTube 'nocookie'. For the rule type, select ‘Redirect request’. For the match type, select ‘Regular expression’. For the match rule, enter https?://(?:www.)?youtube.com/embed/(.+). The exclude rules field can be left blank. For the execute type, select ‘Normal’. In the redirect to field, enter https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/$1. Make sure to save the configuration.

Useful Violentmonkey/Greasemonkey scripts

ViewTube – One of the better scripts for dealing with YouTube stupidity, this script prevents auto-play and allows you to view videos in a variety of formats, including HTML5 or by using an external player such as VLC. ViewTube also makes it easy to download video files in all of the various formats and levels of quality it can detect. ViewTube works with many video sharing sites other than YouTube and can be extended to work with even more using the ViewTube+ add-on which you can download from the home page.

In the privacy department, there are a few scripts written by members of the ghacksuserjs project which offers a security and privacy-centric user.js template to make Firefox and websites respect your privacy. Currently these scripts include Conceal history.length, Conceal window.name and Clear window.opener, all of which can be found in the User Scripts section of their wiki. To add these scripts to Greasemonkey, open about:addons in your browser and click the User Scripts heading. Now go to the wiki page and copy one of the scripts, then click New User Script… link at the top of the User Scripts settings page. A form will appear at the bottom of which should be a button labeled Use Script From Clipboard. After the script is pasted, a new window should display with the full script after which you can save it and you’re done.

Troubleshooting add-on related issues

See my guide Firefox: Troubleshooting Add-On Issues.

Doing it without an add-on

Enhancing privacy and security

See my Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs article for more information.

Smooth scrolling

See my Firefox Scroll Tweak tutorial for how to enable dynamic, silky smooth scrolling without using an extension.

Copying text without formatting

Sometimes you may want to copy text without the added HTML markup. While i am not aware of any way to do this without an extension, you can do the next best thing, which is paste the text without the formatting. To do this, simply paste using Ctrl+Shift+V instead of Ctrl+V. This works on Windows and Linux.

Removing the Firefox window title-bar on Linux, KDE

See this article: Tutorial: Remove Firefox Title Bar On Linux KDE – Alternate Methods

Giving back

If you like an add-on, or any other free software, please donate to the developer. Trust me when i tell you that most developers of free software usually receive nothing, or next to nothing for all their hours of hard work and the support they provide. Developers are usually very appreciative of a donation regardless of how small it may be.

Recent changes to this page

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  • added CanvasBlocker
  • minor edits

20 thoughts on “Firefox Extensions – My Picks

  1. Follow-on to my post from 6/27/16: The End is near. XUL extensions end in August for the ESR branch of FF — which is where you have had to be for awhile now in order to continue using them. (And we’ve already seen where you had to revert Greasemonkey back to v. 3.17, in order to retain the use of many existing scripts. Even the possibility of that reversion became much more difficult, outside of ESR.) Every other discussion of extensions or scripts now becomes tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I read the blog from the developers of the excellent DownThemAll extension, who stated that the replacement APIs are **feeble** in comparison to what was in place before, very much calling in to question the future of such extensions, and pointing the way towards these developers simply quitting altogether. And I take them at their word. This is all supposedly in the service of browser security, but then you really have to ask “At What Price, Security ?|

    1. thanks for the comment Gene

      i suspect there are others besides myself who have become disillusioned with Firefox – i’ve been using it since before the 1.0 stable release and, for a long time, enjoyed watching its growth – at this point however, the only reason i still use it is because there is nothing else out there that can match its functionality given its extensibility and Google Chrome is out of the question – and actually i don’t use FF, but rather Waterfox which will apparently continue to support XUL extensions into the foreseeable future – the problem with that is, although all is ok now, the developers of the XUL extensions who can’t port their work to web extensions because of the feeble API, aren’t going to continue to develop their extensions

    1. in the interest of privacy, i would personally recommend against doing this unless you’re going to use your own server, unless you find a service with a strong privacy policy and will encrypt your data

    1. fingerprinting by analyzing keystroke timings doesn’t sound like a far-fetched idea, but this attack relies on JavaScript which means it wouldn’t work for sites where JS is disabled (and it should be disabled globally by default in my opinion)

      also, unless the extension randomizes the dwell and gap times, i would think that its effectiveness would be very limited since your dwell and gap times are now perfectly consistent and therefore quite unique assuming that few people use the extension (currently only 20 for Firefox), however even if a lot of people used it, you could still be easily fingerprinted if you set the timings to something other than the defaults – assuming the min and max values are 0 to 99, and assuming i’m calculating correctly, that allows for 9800 unique possibilities (excluding the default of 50-50) and if the max were 999, then 998,000 possibilities (excluding the default of 50-50)

      even given the above, i’m not sure it’s a bad thing, but i think you would really want to change the dwell-gap times once in a while

  2. I last posted here on 6/6/15 (above). Awhile ago, when the switch to semi-mandatory Signed extensions came along, many developers (such as for the excellent ‘DownThemAll’) started making noises about dropping out entirely. However, it turned out that we users still had the option of circumventing this issue via a setting in About:Config.

    I don’t know how many of you are aware of it, but there is an even bigger sea change fast approaching, and it looks to be HUGE. Check out the following:

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/new-versions-of-firefox-prepare-for-its-biggest-change-ever/#comments-1e50e84a-27cb-4d26-b723-1f3fd3ffbe05

    and a discussion thread I started in response

    http://portableapps.com/node/54471

    So, if you didn’t know before now you do, and won’t be shocked when this occurs. A whole lot of our favorite extensions may simply be going away, for good. Some very major ones like Greasemonkey may avoid that, adapting with special updates. I don’t know what the implications may be for various scripts we may be running under GM . . . .

    If you have some encouraging words to add — maybe some positive details that have not yet come to light — I’d be very glad to read them.

    1. hi Gene – i’m aware of E10S and also what appear to be other major changes coming regarding extensions

      i don’t know how this will pan out, but, to be honest, i’m ready to get of the FF bus anyway and maybe this will be the push that does it

      however this seems to suggest that there is a method to disable the feature…

      If we run into issues, we can slow the roll-out, pause it, or even disable E10sS for those who got it.

  3. So to clarify, for the Clean Links addon, Event Delegation Mode is purely cosmetics and enabling/disabling it doesn’t affect the fact that links will always be cleaned when entered into the browser or clicked to go to that page? Is the only reason they want to disable it is that you want to see the clean version of links just because it looks nicer? Lastly, were you able to convert the garbage fields from Pure-URL addon to rules for Clean Links and if so, can you share them?

    Garbage fields from Pure-URL:

    utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content, utm_campaign, utm_reader, utm_place, ga_source, ga_medium, ga_term, ga_content, ga_campaign, ga_place, yclid, openstat, feature@youtube.com, fb_action_ids, fb_action_types, fb_ref, fb_source, action_object_map, action_type_map, action_ref_map, ref@facebook.com, fref@facebook.com, hc_location@facebook.com, ref<ref_@imdb.com, src@addons.mozilla.org

    Thank you.

    1. actually the DOM traversal mode is cosmetic because it allows you to see what links are rewritten before clicking on them, but yes, basically you are right in that links are cleaned in either mode, however Event Delegation Mode is recommended by the dev

      i haven’t bothered incorporating the Pure URL garbage fields and, so far, haven’t seen a need to

  4. I noticed that you recommended Shim Storage, then it was replaced with HTTP UserAgent, which was eventually dropped because development was abandoned. Do you still use Shim Storage? If not, how do manage DOM storage (if you bother)? For example, uMatrix clears DOM storage of the webpage if the cookies was blocked, but if it isn’t the storage is created–do you simply let it persist throughout the session? I don’t feel comfortable with that (I have cookies and cache deleted every 30 minutes), but haven’t found a way to clear DOM storage throughout the session.

    I’m also interested in the specifics of your Clean Links settings–do you mind posting a full screenshot of it? I’m not technical or patient enough to personalize my own settings and it would help a lot if I can use your specific configuration and then remove or add things as needed if things break for me (couldn’t find much information of other people’s configurations because it doesn’t seem to be a popular addon). Have you configured it to at least replace the defaults of Pure-URL addon?

    1. hi Yuri – no, i don’t use Shim Storage and actually development has been resumed on HTTPUserAgent Cleaner (now http-useragent-cleaner – same developer) – although i think this extension is a worthwhile addition, there’s 3 reasons i’m no longer using it; 1), i wrote the English manual for it and found it very difficult (to put it mildly) to work with the dev because of the language barrier (he can barely understand/write EN) and his lack of helpfulness in providing answers to questions, 2), because it’s yet another extension that people will have to fiddle with when something breaks and 3), given the capability of uMatrix and the other add-ons listed here, i think it’s usefulness is somewhat limited, particularly as far as spoofing certain system and browser details – for example, spoofing your display/browser resolution will often render a page that will look horrible

      regarding uMatrix and DOM storage, i disallow cookies by default (as per the guide) and only allow them for the few domains i visit were they are actually needed – all of this is dumped when the browser exits as per my settings privacy.clearOnShutdown.* – so no, i don’t clear at regular intervals, but i will occasionally do a manual clear with the built-in history manager (selected are: cookies, cache, active logins, offline website data and site preferences)

      regarding Clean Links, the default settings are OK – the only real thing to be aware of is whether you enable Event Delegation Mode (it is enabled by default) – if you do not enable it, then you can take advantage of real-time link highlighting which i much prefer, however the dev has told me that the code driving this mode is not maintained, so i use the default mode (i’m trying to persuade him to work on this) – Redirect Watcher, HTTP Observer, CopyLink Controller and Link Tracking are also enabled

      Highlight Cleaned Links, Highlight Style and Replay Delay are all either of limited use or not used at all when running in Event Delegation Mode

      i think it is important to understand how to add strings to the Remove From Links regular expression, as well as what to look for in a URL that can be removed – unfortunately, learning regular expressions will present a lot more hassle than it’s worth for the average user and so i’d like to see a UI incorporated for building them where no knowledge of RegEx is necessary

      hope that answers your questions

  5. Can you share your complete settings (screenshot would be easier) for Clean Links addon? I used to use your recommendation of Pure-URL with its default settings because I haven’t had the time or knowledge to configure it to find a good balance between privacy and usability and apparently Clean Links is better than Pure-URL in every way. Cheers.

    1. i have event delegation mode enabled – all of the rest is personal preference

      so event delegation mode means that links are not rewritten (cleaned) when the page loads, but rather only when you actually click on a link that needs to be rewritten

      i much prefer the other mode, but the developer says the code driving it is not maintained – the non-event mode rewrites links at page load time and therefore you can make use of the CSS (highlight style) to give a visual cue as to what links on the page were rewritten

      if you need help with anything else, let me know

  6. For some time now, I’ve been using these Greasemonkey scripts: Anti-Adblock Killer 8.1, AdsBypasser 5.24.0 (gets around the very annoying Ad.fly, Linkbucks, etc. pages), and Ad Host Cleaner 1.3.4 — the last version I could find of this. Its motto was “Bye Bye Download Accelerator/Manager”, and for awhile it thwarted file hosts that wanted to force you to accept an .Exe file version each time, rather than a standard .Rar piece of an archive. Of course, this is very bad practice, easily giving a free ride to malware or who knows what. However, Ad Host Cleaner seems to no longer be effective. I was hoping you might know of some later script or extension (for FireFox or for Chrome) that still provides control over this ?

    1. hi Gene
      i do not know of an extension for bypassing the garbage at download sites specifically, but i’m sure that some exist – go to the Mozilla Add-ons site and search for “skip” or “bypass” along with “downloads” – i know i have seen some and even used one at one point, but i cannot recall the names

      as for the anti-ad-block part of your question, i am sure there are other GM scripts available – you might also want to check out uBlock which offers this capability along with being a general content blocker – see the uBlock section of my article, Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs

    1. hi Shadylayman – funny you mention uBlock as i looked at it a short while ago, but too quickly to realize it’s advantages

      uBlock will certainly replace both Adblock Edge and Element Hiding Helper as it is a much more capable extension in every way

      thanks for mentioning it :)

      regarding HTTP UserAgent cleaner however, that one stays – it covers a whole lot more than just the user-agent string

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