Whenever you are browsing the internet, many websites you visit track your browsing habits. Companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and several others want to know everything you do in your browser.
There is no evil intention behind this tracking, they just need your data as its useful for serving ads that might cater to your interests, and they would use your data if you give it to them. But if you would rather keep your data to yourself, these Firefox Add-ons can help you.
Best Firefox Privacy Add-ons:
Many privacy-conscious users select a specific browser if it provides adequate privacy features. Although Firefox is quite secure, you can extend its privacy features by adding specific Firefox Addons you need. Since every user’s needs are different, we have listed some of the most popular Privacy add-ons for Firefox below.
1) Ad Hacker – Ad Hacker shows you which advertisers are Tracking you
Advertisers and publishers want to know more about you, so they track your Internet browsing with web bugs, beacons, and cookies hidden in your web pages.
This add-on lets you see who is following you around and how they are doing it. For each tracker, there is a description of who they are, what they do, and potential risks to you. A simple way to see what essential information gets sent back to the watchers.
2) TorButton – Enable or disable the browser’s use of Tor
The Tor Project is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy.
Torbutton provides a button to easily enable or disable the browser’s use of Tor. The advantage of using Tor have enhanced privacy and browser state isolation features that make it more private and secure for Tor usage than any other general purpose proxy switching addon.
Get TorButton Addon For Firefox (Removed by author)
Note: You can get Tor browser Bundle here.
3) Better Privacy – Protects you from undetectable cookies
Better Privacy serves to protect against not deletable, longterm cookies, a new generation of ‘Super-Cookie’, which silently conquered the internet. This new cookie generation offers unlimited user tracking to industry and market research. Concerning privacy Flash- and DOM Storage objects are most critical.
This addon was made to make users aware of those hidden, never expiring objects and to offer an easy way to get rid of them – since browsers are unable to do that for you.
Update: Removed from Mozilla Add-ons from its author.
Download Better Privacy Firefox Addon
4) Close n’ Forget – Make Firefox Forget About Any Site Instantly
Close the current tab and forget about the visit: suppress the cookies related to the current page and, if configured, suppress the whole domain from the history.
After installing the extension, find the new “close” button in the toolbar customization panel and drop it in your preferred place. You have the option to close n forget in the right-click menu. Remember that you can also use + W (or other) to close’n forget a tab.
5) Ghostery – See who’s tracking your web browsing
If you need to have instant information about any trackers used by a website you visit, Ghostery is the perfect add-on for you. Ghostery alerts you about web bugs, ad networks and widgets on every page on the web.
Ghostery can be accessed via the Firefox Tools Menu or it shows up prominently in the status bar. It displays the trackers on a specific web page. You can block or unblock them as you need right from the status bar.
6) AutoProxy – Use Different Proxy Servers Effectively
AutoProxy is an add-on to help you use your proxy (HTTP/socks) automatically & efficiently.
With AutoProxy, you no longer need to switch your proxy status between on & off manually.
If you prefer to visit a website via proxy, just add its domain to AutoProxy’s preference. After that, when you surfing, specified websites will be transferred through proxy while leaving others to connect directly.
What’s more, you can subscribe to rule lists maintained by people who have similar requirements as you. So, you don’t need to add all proxy rules by yourself.
7) CookieCuller – Block cookies from Specific sites
This addon integrates with Firefox to have a quick and easy way to block or lock cookies, but to unblock them you have to go about it the old-fashioned way. Unblocking previously permanently blocked cookies is tricky. To unblock cookies go to Firefox options > privacy> Select Use Custom Settings from Dropdown > Exceptions.
Cookie Culler is listed under Tools in Firefox. Blocking the wrong cookies can render some sites useless, so choose sites to block carefully. However, previously blocked cookies can be unblocked so it’s not a major concern.
8) RefControl – Control what gets sent as HTTP Referrer on a per-site basis
When you Click a link of website “x” and go to website “y” – Y knows that X is sending this visitor over. If you prefer to keep this information private from site Y, RefControl can help you.
You create a list of sites and the referrer that should be sent for each site. You can choose to send that referrer unconditionally or only for third-party requests. Additionally, you can specify the default behavior for any site not on the list.
9) TACO -Stops behavioral advertising by 90 different companies
TACO or Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out prevents 90 different online advertising networks (including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo) from displaying highly targeted advertisements using the detailed information on users’ web surfing habits which they quietly collect all across the Web.
When TACO blocks a section of the page you would see a message like this:
TACO disables most behavioral advertising by setting 100+ permanent, generic, non personally identifiable “opt-out” cookies directly into the browser.
10) User Agent Switcher – Switch Browser User Agents on the Fly
Some websites, show you offer/adverts based on the browser you are using. The User Agent Switcher extension adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of the browser.
The likelihood of this actually helping your privacy is pretty small, but it may offer some advantages to your benefit in obtaining anonymity. You can even visit a website like a search bot, then they might not consider your traffic patterns important because you are posing as a bot, not a person.
11) Redirect Cleaner – Hide actual page you visited from
Many websites try to track your clicks and try to track your external websites by using Redirects! Redirect Cleaner replaces the original link with the cleaned link! This will enhance privacy, increase transparency and speed up browsing!
Use the Options windows to whitelist preferred websites.
Note: On some websites login links and social bookmarking links are cleaned as well!
You can add websites to the Whitelist, e.g. example.com: All Redirects on whitelisted websites will not be cleaned!
Update: This Add-on is discontinued. An alternative link is given below
12) Stealther – Don’t leave any browsing traces behind
If there are times you want to surf the web without leaving a trace in your local computer, then this is the right extension for you. What it does is temporarily disable the following:
- Browsing History (also in the Address bar)
- Downloaded Files History
- Disk Cache
- Saved Form Information
- Sending of ReferrerHeader
- Recently Closed Tabs list
Options for this addon can be accessed from the Addons List
13) RequestPolicy – Control which cross-site requests are allowed
RequestPolicy is an extension that improves the privacy and security of your browsing by giving you control over when cross-site requests are allowed by webpages you visit.
With RequestPolicy, the default for any cross-site request is to deny it. Users are notified when requests on the current page have been blocked (the status bar flag icon at the bottom right of your browser turns red).
Clicking on this status bar flag icon gives you a menu where you can view and modify which requests are blocked and allowed. You can whitelist requests you approve of by origin site, destination site, or specific origin-to-destination.
14) WOT – Find If a website is safe
Would you like to know which websites you can trust? The WOT add-on is a safe surfing tool for your browser. Traffic-light rating symbols show which websites you can trust when you search, shop and surf on the Web.
WOT ratings are powered by a global community of millions of trustworthy users who have rated millions of websites based on their experiences. The WOT add-on provides reputation ratings to search results when you use Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia, and other popular sites, helping you protect your computer and personal information. Your online email account – Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail is also protected.
15) Lock The Text – Encrypt your text data in a browser before submitting it to a network
When you send some text (e.g. an email, a web document file) to the internet, it will travel through multiple servers. Each of the servers may keep one copy of your text and most ISP’s make a nightly backup so there will be multiple copies of your text is stored. Even after you delete your text, file or email later, your text may still be somewhere you never know, for a while or for a very long time.
As shown above, you can select any text from any webpage and encrypt it with Lock The Text. Only people who know the passphrase can unlock it and view it.
This is a must-have addon if you are writing a top-secret novel you don’t want anyone to read. Just kidding – this is useful for anyone who values privacy over everything else.
It works with all web-based email providers like Gmail, Yahoo mail and Hotmail. So even if the account gets hacked, no one can read the emails. Pretty neat, eh!?
16) AntiSocial – Prevent Facebook from tracking your browsing habits
AntiSocial limits websites from embedding Facebook content, thereby preventing Facebook from tracking your browsing habits. It also bans 3rd party Facebook applications outright, thereby reducing the possibility of your information from being leaked.
This extension also attempts to limit the amount of information you send to Facebook while browsing Facebook itself.
Download AntiSocial Firefox Addon
17) Location Bar – Helps Prevent Phishing
This addon puts emphasis on the domain to reduce spoofing risk. The main domain name gets highlighted in the address bar – this helps to know if you are on the right website, or its a phishing site.
It linkifies URL segments (press Ctrl, Meta, Shift or Alt) – for eg. in the above image, you can directly go to the “Security Category” on TechNorms, from the address bar. Some more URL formatting options are configurable in options.
18) PhishTank – Definitive Resource for Protection from Phishing
PhishTank SiteChecker gives Firefox users a way to bring the community judgment of PhishTank (http://www.phishtank.com/) into their favorite browser, for extra protection against phishing.
PhishTank is an initiative by OpenDNS, hence its quite comprehensive and trustworthy. Visits to known phishing sites are blocked; the user has the option to continue. We tested it with a couple of phishing sites known to us, and they were promptly blocked.
Update: Add-ons Suggested by our Readers:
19) LinkExtend – Site Ratings ✔:
LinkExtend provides meta-site-ratings for computer safety, child safety, company ethics, and popularity. Safety results come from eight online services giving you a safer browsing experience. Site links, titles, files and reviews are also included.
We have listed only the most well-known and trustworthy add-ons in this list. Since every internet user has different needs so, please use the ones you deem appropriate.
I would advise you to use them judicially, maybe 1 or 2 addons at a time, as some of them have similar function and may interfere in each other’s work.