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Web browser add-ons I use

Posted on 2022-02-23 in Software

This article lists the web browser extensions I use and why. I will keep it updated from time to time.

I use Firefox as my main web browser, because despite its shortcomings I think it's still the best available option for me, for reasons that would be worthy of a full article. Some of these extensions are also available in other web browsers anyway. I will link to the main project's website whenever that is the case.

I try to be careful with the browser extensions I install, as they have deep access to browser data, so a compromised add-on can quickly become a nightmare if it manages for example to steal the credentials for my email account (although 2FA should mitigate that risk). For this reason I don't use some add-ons that are potentially useful but that I think I could live without. The ones I use are usually popular, with thousands of users and often editor-picked.

Without further delay, these are the add-ons I'm currently using on Firefox, in alphabetical order:

  • uBlock Origin: the best ad blocker there is. It uses little CPU and RAM, usually saves more than it consumes, i.e. web pages load faster without all the crap they usually have (banners, tracking scripts, etc.). Especially on mobile it can be very noticeable. I used to use a bunch of other privacy-related extensions (NoScript, ClearURLs, PrivacyBadger, HTTPSEverywhere and DecentralEyes), but after reading this article on Arkenfox I learned that they are superfluous if uBlock Origin is properly configured. Let me tell you one more thing: after removing the extensions and leaving only uBlock Origin my Firefox flies.
  • KeepassXC-Browser: I use KeepassXC to hold my passwords and secrets, this is its official browser extension which enables form autocomplete. It works pretty well although not as well as competitors such as Lastpass or 1Password, but I wouldn't trust them with my data.
  • Tally Ho!: an open-source cryptocurrency wallet, gateway to the Web 3.0, Dapps, NFTs, ICOs, ERC20 tokens... For me it has replaced Metamask, which is closed source. As of Nov 2022 it supports Ethereum, Polygon, Optimism and Arbitrum, with support for more blockchains being added often.
  • Firefox Multi-Account Container: while Firefox has built-in support for containers, this extensions is needed to manage them. It's an official add-on from the Firefox team itself, so I fully trust it. What are containers? They are a way of categorizing tabs, in order to isolate the information that is accessible. For example I set up my bank's website to open in a Banking container, so a potential attacker that makes my browser run code with a security exploit in a different tab wouldn't have access to it unless it was opened in the same Banking container. I also use it to isolate logged-in tracking, for example I have a Google container where I'm signed-in to Google, but in other containers I'm logged-out. I use a bunch of other containers: Gov for government websites, Personal for my self-hosted web apps, Shopping whenever I'm buying something...
  • Sidebery: a tab manager for Firefox. If you are like me and have not dozens, but hundreds of tabs, this is a game changer. Having so many opened tabs goes from being an inconvenience to actually being an advantage. You have a tree hierarchy of tabs; can group tabs in different ways (groups and panes); have tabs go to a pane depending on the container they are opened on (see the Firefox Multi-Account Container add-on mention above); unload tabs and whole panes (remove them from memory); and a lot more. It's insanely configurable, and I am a guy who loves configurability. I keep discovering features and ways to have Sidebery help my workflows.
  • Skip Redirect: detects and skips redirects, to avoid unnecessary tracking. For example if you look closely you will notice that when clicking on a Google result the URL points to Google, which then redirects you to the target. This way Google knows which results you visit. This extension extracts the target and goes to it directly, thus avoiding tracking.

Updates:

  • 2022-11-19: Replaced Metamask with Tally Ho; added Sidebery.
  • 2023-01-20: Added Skip Redirect; removed NoScript, ClearURLs, PrivacyBadger, HTTPSEverywhere, DecentralEyes.