In this article, we’ll cover some of the best Firefox privacy add-ons you can use to protect your online data. Most of these options are now available on Firefox for PC and Android.
Note: Most add-ons in this list are also available for Google Chrome and Opera (except for the Firefox-specific features).
1. HTTPS Only (in-built version of HTTPS Everywhere)
HTTPS ensures that data transmitted between your browser and a website is encrypted. This means that browsing is more secure because none of the transmitted information can be intercepted. HTTPS Only ensures that your browser will only connect to sites with HTTPS enabled.
Previously, the HTTPS Everywhere extension was recommended for this purpose, but as Firefox’s in-built HTTPS Only has the same functionality, we’ve replaced it in this list (even though it isn’t technically an add-on).
To activate HTTPS Only:
- Open the Firefox browser.
- Click the three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window and select Settings.
- Select Privacy & Security.
- Scroll down to where it says HTTPS Only Mode and click the checkmark next to Enable HTTPS Only Mode in All Windows.
2. uBlock Origin
The developers of uBlock Origin call it a “wide-spectrum content blocker” rather than simply an ad blocker. uBlock blocks trackers, ads, pop-ups, and coin miners. It also removes specific page elements by selecting the element zapper mode from the toolbar.
Previously, the ClearURLs add-on was a recommended privacy extension that removed tracking elements from URLs. However, uBlock Origin now includes AdGuard URL Tracking Protection which does the same job, meaning you only need one extension.
uBlock Origin has the best performance of any adblocker. It’s also open-source, with various developers on Github contributing to the add-on. Other ad blockers are often closed-source and sell user data to third-party companies (e.g., Ghostery).
uBlock Origin is probably the overall best privacy add-on. Similar add-ons like Privacy Badger, DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials, and NoScript Security Suite are unnecessary if you use uBlock. However, if uBlock doesn’t work for you, these are great alternatives.
3. Multi-Account Containers
Multi-Account Containers is a Mozilla Firefox Add-on that separates your online activity into different “accounts.” This helps to prevent websites from being able to track your browsing habits online.
With Multi-Account Containers, you can separate your browsing activity (and therefore the cookies) into separate containers. For instance, you might use a Facebook container, search engine container, and Amazon container. This way, one website won’t be able to know about your activity on another site, so your search results won’t influence the advertisements you receive.
Another bonus function of Multi-Account Containers is that you can simultaneously sign in to multiple accounts for the same site, giving you a better browsing experience.
4. Cookie AutoDelete
Most of the tracking that occurs on the internet happens via cookies. They can be useful on various websites (such as remembering your shopping cart). Still, they allow websites to track your activity and siphon your personal data.
Multi-Account Containers can help manage these and prevent them from building a specific persona for you, but that isn’t the end of the story. To increase your privacy, you should constantly manage and delete unwanted cookies.
Cookie AutoDelete is a Firefox extension that deletes cookies every time you close a website or tab. However, you can add sites to a whitelist if you want to keep their cookies. This gives you tighter control over which websites you allow to track you.
However, as of Firefox 89, Mozilla offers the Total Cookie Protection feature (enabled via the “strict” setting for Enhanced Tracking Protection). This privacy feature is known as dynamic First Party Isolation (dFPI), and it creates a separate location for each website’s cookies to prevent trackers and fingerprinters so that they do not track you.
LocalCDN is a recommended browser extension that complements uBlock (or another ad blocker). Many websites utilize third-party content delivery networks (CDNs) from companies such as Google and Cloudflare to load resources. However, these companies can track your activity via this connection.
LocalCDN improves your privacy by preventing your data from being leaked through CDN requests. As a bonus, it also enhances your bandwidth. However, its function can break specific sites.
Decentraleyes is an alternative plug-in that serves the same purpose. However, LocalCDN is updated far more frequently and has a more extensive database.
Keep in mind that Firefox’s Total Cookie Protection already isolates site data in your web browser so that the CDNs can only access your IP. And even this can be shielded by masking your IP, which is generally recommended by privacy experts anyway.
Privacy is Paramount
These days, privacy protection online is one of the most important things you can do. Your personal information is targeted everywhere you go. While it’s usually used simply to target you with relevant ads, it also means that your identity and personal information are at risk.
With a high-quality VPN, the right browser settings, and some great privacy add-ons, you can ensure that your data is secure.