7 reasons why I still use Firefox [Opinion]

Since the days of Netscape, we have all been fighting and claiming that one browser is better then the rest. Like any choice in life, we choose what works best for us and that is great. In this article I want to talk directly about Firefox and Chrome. Years ago a I left the comfort of Netscape for SeaMonkey and then Firefox. After years of Firefox I switched to Chrome, more specificity the open-source browser Chrome is based on.

I, at first, noticed the speed and polish of Chrome — not to mention something I call the Google Harmony effect, that is the synchronization with Google products and services. I will admit that Chrome is (typically) more secure than Firefox but there are a few areas of the browser experience that makes Firefox a little more beneficial than Chrome.

FireFox_11. Customisation

This is by far one of the most obvious differences. Mozilla gives you the ability to customise the heck out of the browser. For example, you can add and remove icons from the menu, thus changing the appearance and screen elements. Chrome does offer you some choice in customisation by allowing you to apply a skin choice but you are not able to change the location of icons or add new ones. Sure you can edit and move your add-on icons, but that home button stays put. In fact Firefox allows you to add sidebars and change font sizing and you can even do more with add-ons.

Maybe it’s just the Linux programmer in me, but I love choices and the ability to move things around.

Firefox_22. Themes

Firefox offers you great theme choices and options — choices that go far beyond that of Chrome. Chrome will allow you to choose colours and background images but Firefox Personas and theme will change icons, menu colours and much more. Some themes also add menu bars and sidebars.

3. Privacy

This is a big concern for most people, especially with all of the stuff the NSA has been exposed for recently. Mozilla has a great reputation of user privacy and protection, and you have a choice to what information you send to Mozilla. Chrome, on the other hand, is run by Google who does enjoy tracking your every action to better serve you… ads. Google is not very clear on what they do with the telemetry data they collect, but you can see what Mozilla does with data from here (that is, if you say its okay for Mozilla to collect).

4. Memory Usage

It seems that in the past Mozilla was the Beowulf’s Dragon of memory, aka it was a resource hog. Even now Firefox can be a bit hungry depending on how many add-ons it has to feed. Most users think Chrome is more efficient than Firefox but that just isn’t so any more. Chrome is built in such away that it creates an instance for each tab you open and so you endup using more memory. Some friends of mine decided to put this whole memory use thing to rest and they tested a few different browsers: Chrome, Firefox, IE9, Opera and Safari. After a whole bunch of super-geeky tests and benchmarking, it was shown that Chrome used more RAM then any other browser including Internet Explorer (ouch).

5. Extensions / Add-ons

The way Mozilla created Firefox, it gives third-party developers more power and choice for add-on creation and capabilities. This means that add-ons in Firefox have more super-powers and allow you to do more, including more “hacking capabilities.” Some of these add-ons allow you to customise things and offer better alternatives to some Mozilla built tools, like a replacement download manager or tab management.

Chrome, although it is better than other browsers in this area, is still lacking in the extension department when compared to Firefox and developers are more limited in what they can do with extensions. I also wanted to mention that malware Chrome add-ons can be very hard to remove beacuse many malicious add-ons will make it appear they were installed by an enterprise policy and prevent you from removing them. You have to navigate confusing folders and registry entries to remove them.

6. Tabs

Most modern browsers allow you to have multiple tabs open, but a true web surfer like you might have 2o+ tabs open. In Chrome the size of the tabs decrease with each new tab that you open, until you can no longer differentiate between two tabs. Firefox handles tabs in a bit of a different way: instead of tabs getting smaller, Firefox has tab scrolling. This allows you to easily read which tab is which instead of guessing.

FireFox_Dep7. NPAPI Deprecation

Say what? I know you might not be a developer but in the end this will affect you too. Google has announced that it will get rid of all plug-ins in 2014. With that it means plug-ins like Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader or Java, or NPAPI-plugins, will be gone but not PPAPI plugins used by Chrome’s native Flash Player and PDF reader plugins. So by the end of this year, you won’t be able to run third-party libraries like Java unless Google has approved them. This demonstrates the control that Google is trying to have on developers and on you.

Conclusion

These are the seven reasons why I still prefer Firefox over rivals. Are you a Firefox user and have other reasons why you still use Firefox? Or maybe you no longer use Firefox or never used Firefox. Either way, share with us in the comments below your thoughts on this epic browser.

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33 comments

  1. melen001

    I really like the “themes” that you can use with Firefox and recently discovered something called STYLES and you can use different styles for your FF Start Page. With STYLES you can manage different scripts and even make your own if you like. You can also write scripts for web pages that you watch. You can go to FF add-ons and look up STYLES and try it. I personally love it

  2. Zoran

    Firefox user for a long time :) Chrome is my “backup” browser, but I use it rarely. I have tried almost all other browsers and shells, but I prefer Firefox.

    Here are few things I don’t like about Chrome (or think FF is better):
    – Can’t remove/rename “Other bookmarks” folder on Bookmarks bar
    – There’s no Print button
    – Download-bar has no option to “Auto-hide” after download is finished (or, few seconds after it)
    – ZIP files from the Internet can just be saved, not directly opened (I prefer to open ZIP, see what is inside, and when I close ZIP, it is gone, I don’t have to delete it)
    – Not possible to define Cache size
    – Chrome instals itself in unusual location, not in “Program Files”
    – No separators in bookmarks
    – If you click Close button, that will close Chrome and ALL tabs

    Of course, customization is main plus for Firefox! I have set my FF so, that its toolbars are lower than that from Chrome. Plus, in FF I have two rows: in first I have FF button, “command” buttons and tabs; in second row, I have about 20 bookmarks (only favicons, no text), address bar and search bar (I like search bar, although half time I search from address bar).

  3. s0lj0n

    Hello, all.
    Pale Moon here [doesn't that sound like some new kinda beer?],
    but I *WUZ* checking out Firefox Aurora; until the homo-nazis killed it for me.
    [Ditto, "Don" & "teddyman".]
    2% gets to tell *everybody* else where to get off? I don’t think so. Last I heard, there’s this thing they call ‘democracy’, or something, & its ‘supposed’ to be about self-determination, or ‘majority rule’, or something like that; didja hear about it?
    Anyways, since most sites ID Pale Moon as Firefox,
    I want’a know how to change the “browser ID (user-agent) strings”,
    so I can masquerade as I.E.
    I think that would be kinda funny, you know?

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

  4. RobCr

    [@jayesstee]
    Open a new tab and type about:config in the url box (and press enter)
    Type noscript.keys and you should get 4 lines.
    Double click the tempallowpage
    Type in your desired shortcut. I used –
    ctrl shift + *
    Click OK, then close the tab

    You still need multiple presses, but I find the keyboard very easy vs mouse navigations and clicks
    That should allow that site for the duration of your windows session.
    I have not found out (yet), if it is possible to add a new line so that we can have a keyboard shortcut for allowallthispage, but I will keep one eye out for that.
    Rob
    PS When using it, you just press –
    ctrl shift *

  5. Raven Johnson

    I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your 7 reasons article. I also am a Firefox user and do not plan to change. Oddly enough I am a Firefox user for pretty much the same reasons you listed above along with one or two more. I found when I just tried Chrome, it seemed like it was trying to take over my computer. I guess a good way to put it is it is a very aggressive browser. I know that sounds somewhat strange, but Google, and especially Chrome are always trying to shove not only their ads down your throat but also Google +. I am not interested in Google +. I also had some real problems getting Chrome off of two of my devices I used it on. I try to explain why to some of my friends, but they aren’t particularly tech oriented. At any rate, I really did not mean to go on like I have. I just wanted to tell you your article was great and very thoughtful. You managed to sum up the issues I ran into also. Thank you, I truly enjoyed reading your work.

  6. bovay

    Chromium + HTTP Switchboard gives me significantly more control over my privacy and malware than Firefox + Noscript. (HTTPSB has a solution for the multiple clicks annoyance of NoScript, it’s called inheritance, i.e. block/allow rules are tree-based, with inheritance)

  7. jayesstee

    [@RobCr] You said:  “If any of you get irritated by the need to click “… allow … this page …” multiple times, I have a keyboard shortcut to simplify things. Yell out if interested.”
    Consider this a “yell”.  
    I use Firefox and Pale Moon and I’m in danger of wearing out my mouse with all the clicking I do.
    I’d be pleased to know about your shortcut.

  8. Tom

    Above all, the Firefox browser is gay-friendly. What other browser goes out of their way to purge their staff of “homophobic” talent.

    Each new release brings a subtle gayness to your life. Ride the ‘fox!

  9. RobCr

    Because I am a sharing guy, I will even help our members that like the smarmy Chrome.
    Comodo has a portable version of Chrome called Dragon (Portable if you tick the checkbox).
    Not only can you have portable Chrome’s, but you can avoid the nasty Google updater.
    I reckon my sharing of that info (it kills me to encourage Chrome), should make me eligible for PayPal donations ?

  10. RobCr

    For those that love FF, and are guilty of keeping numerous Tabs open (remembered from previous session), I am taming that problem, by having multiple FFs. Thus one of them remembers VB6 Tabs, another remembers Free Software sites or offerings, etc, etc.
    The trick to do that, is to have multiple portable FF folders.
    You download Comodo IceDragon, and tick the box on the first page of the Installer, to make it portable. Say create a folder like C:\PGMS\IceDragon_Mask
    Install it (cough) into that folder.
    Then run it, and add NoScript (etc), and generally tweak it to your liking.
    Then close it and create copies of that _Mask folder for your different categories.
    Now you have a portable FF that you can run for your different categories of browsing.
    You can run any one portable FF at the same time as the Mozilla installed FF.
    I would never run two portables at the same time, as I suspect they can confuse each other.

    Rob

  11. RobCr

    The only safe browsing combination is FF with NoScript.
    You would have to hold a cocked gun to my head to get me to use any other browser.
    If any of you get irritated by the need to click “… allow … this page …” multiple times, I have a keyboard shortcut to simplify things. Yell out if interested.

    Rob
    PS
    If you guys have old (less powered) PCs, then avoid Google programs like the plague.
    They pay scant attention to Windows conventions, and the updater can slow your PC on occasions, to the point that you think you have a virus.
    Also, the Chrome browser irritates the crap out of me with it’s smarmy minimalistic interface.

  12. Nathan

    I use Chrome, but I really want to use Firefox. However, there is one thing and one thing only that keeps me from using Firefox. That is its crappy sync functionality. I have an android phone and I like having my bookmarks synced from my browser. With Chrome it just works flawlessly. I have never been able to get it to work quite right with firefox. Also, I don’t like firefox’s mobile browser very much.

  13. BearPup

    I’m an ex-Firefox user too. Well, sort of. I now use PaleMoon (Palemoon.org). Not only is it faster than ‘original’ Firefox, have all the same extensions, themes, and add-ons as Firefox, has the extra security that Firefox is known for, and most importantly to me, its pure 64 Bit from the ground up!

  14. melen001

    Hi Craig…..
    I wonder why you have that kind of experience with FF. I have fast website opening and have not encountered that kind of lag with FF. I have used Chrome and my experience has been more or less the same when uploading websites. Any ways I like FF for the convenience of the extensions it offers . Don’t get me wrong, Chrome is excellent but I will use FF as my main browser…..

  15. Craig

    I am an ex-Firefox user. My biggest problem was slow opening of websites. Dottech in particular. When I was using Firefox it would take upwards of 15 seconds to load. Chrome, less then 1. Just for the fun of it I just opening dottech on Firefox just a minute ago, took 18 seconds to open with no other tabs open. Chrome with 7 tabs open, just 3 seconds. So that is why I still remain with Chrome.

  16. melen001

    I’ve been using Firefox for more than 8 years and haven’t seen anything like it. It’s stable, lots of plugins, extensions and add-ons with the assurance that Mozilla verifies them to be malware free. It’s also light on memory so if you have an older PC you don’t have to worry. In plain words it’s just better than thee others…… simple isn’t it…….