4 browser add-ons/plugins Ashraf is addicted to

In March I discussed 10 freeware programs that I rely heavily upon. Now I will reveal the 4 browser add-ons/plugins that keep my world from falling apart. (Why 4? Well I only use 4 so I can’t really talk about 5 or 6 or 10 or 100.) Since I am a Firefox user, all these add-ons/plugins are for Firefox.

(Note: This list is in no particular order.)

Flagfox is a simple add-on that displays the flag of the country where the server is located of the website you are currently surfing. It also provides easy access to other tools such as geo-locate, WHOIS, Alexa rankings, ping, etc. Most people probably won’t have much use for Flagfox, but as a curious blogger and webmaster, this tool is a must for me.

Previously discussed, and recommended as part of your security solution, KeyScrambler is an add-on that “scrambles” all your keystrokes as you type in your browser (supports Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Flock in the free version). So even if you have a keylogger on your computer, it will never be able to properly log your keys – all it will pick up is a bunch of garbage. If there is one add-on that will give you piece of mind when, say, checking your bank account, this is it.

TrashMail is an add-on that allows you to easily make use of the previously discussed TrashMail.net temporary anti-spam e-mail service. You won’t believe how nice it is to be able to be register for something – such as a freebie – without breaking my stride because this add-on allows me to right-click, and create a temporary e-mail address on the spot.

As discussed in my best free security software article, LinkExtend is an add-on for Firefox that consolidates website ratings from various different website rating services, including WOT, SiteAdvisor, Google Safe Browsing, and Norton Safe Web. (I use LinkExtend for WOT And SiteAdvisor ratings only, but the other ratings are handy for those that want them.) In addition to showing website ratings, it can give you other information such as the traffic rank and page rank of the website you are visiting.

In the age of browser add-ons/plugins, I realize that I am probably unique in the sense that I only use 4 add-ons/plugins; many people have their browers loaded with tons of add-ons/plugins. Therefore, I am sure you have some of your own. Feel free to share in the comments below. They don’t have to be Firefox add-ons/plugins – if you use a different browser, feel free to share for that browser; however please be clear about which browser the add-ons/plugins are for.

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  • jack

    if there is any problem to access the google website in your area or your IP could be blocked to access some blog site, in this situation frustation is natural as I feel many times.Now I got a solution for this & if you are feeling same you can also use this VPN service. As http://www.primovpn.com is a vpn service ,its much reliable than proxy.

  • When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

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  • GV

    Apparenly, keyscramble is not available any more? This page, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/keyscrambler-personal/, says: “This add-on has been disabled by an administrator. “.

    On other sites, like Softpedia, the add-on is still available.

    Any idea why Mozilla has disabled this addon? Security issues?

  • Just checked about the personal version of KeyScrambler, and there is a new update since the last time I looked. Version is now out and can be downloaded from Softpedia.

  • Adblock plus – Already well known
    Addblock plus popup addon – Self explainatory
    BetterPrivacy – Removes LSO cookies extremely valuable IMO!
    BlockSite – I’ve literally had to block some sites to keep from getting redirected there, or because they tried to download a virus. This one is a must have for me.
    BloodyVikings – Same purpose as trashmail just a personal preference
    Flashblock – Flash will not play until I allow them, handy when opening multiple sites
    Ghostery – tracking protection
    Lazarus Form Recovery – Saves what you type in case you have to go back and try again
    My Weekly Browsing Schedule – Schedule day and time of the websites you visit regularly
    NoRedirect – reduce the number of redirects you have to suffer, not perfect but best I’ve found
    PrivacySuite – Numerous integrated privacy features
    Reminderfox – free scheduling calender and reminder service in Firefox
    Remove it Permanently – Allows you to remove something from a page or domain permanently. has an undo feature if it blocks the website entirely and can be configured manually for greater effect. Expert use only.
    and WOT – already well known.

    What I’m searching for, and have yet to find, is a foolproof way to prevent all those [expletive deleted] toolbars from loading themselves even after you’ve selected not to do so. the best option I’ve found so far is Spybot, which comes preconfigured with a list of known malware toolbars that are blocked and can be configured to block the others through teatimer (a UAC like function).

    This week two reputable companies pulled that on me which was a shock. I’m very careful to uncheck those boxes but they installed anyway. If the reputable companies are pulling underhanded tricks I need an alternative to my previous policy of immediately discontinuing use of any software from that company. Any suggestions?

  • Bob Mason

    I like Ghostery for Firefox. It lists the ad sites that are collecting data about you, provides information about them from the extensive database, and allows you to block the sites. A good companion to AdBlock Plus.


  • s66

    Followed link for KeyScrambler Personal but for some reason firefox admin is not happy with it.
    The extentions page says; “This add-on has been disabled by an administrator”.
    Now I will wait and see what that is all about before I download it.
    As always dottech has been invaluble in educating me, cheers Ashraf.

  • Ashraf

    @Chet Morton: What about it? Read #8. That is what KeyScrambler does, AFAIK.

  • Chet Morton

    Have you considered this regarding key loggers?


  • meanpt


  • @Mr.Dave: Sun is not lazy, it’s just that they think some applets can only run on older versions of Java, so they didn’t remove old versions.

  • bem

    @OldElmerFudd: My pleasure, whippersnapper.  Now excuse me while I look for my Geritol…;)

  • I use FireFox, and since I am a web developer, I use these addons:

    Live HTTP Headers
    User Agent Switcher

    Some others not related to web design:

    Adblock Plus (a must have)
    SkipScreen (useful for rapidshare, etc.)

  • Mr.Dave

    @Giovanni (King of Freebies…LOL!): I second your vote for Cookie Culler, don’t know how I missed it on my list — I guess it’s because I set it up long ago and rarely have a need to look at it, but it kills all those unwanted cookies every day!
    @Renee Vanderbilt: I like “Better Privacy” also.  Another set-and-forget add-on that gives some extra peace-of-mind every day.

  • Giovanni (King of Freebies…LOL!)

    Hey Ashraf!
    Personally I prefer WOT to LINK EXTEND because, unlike LINK EXTEND, it automatically blocks any suspicious website you stumble upon.
    As for security addons don’t forget to add on your arsenal  BETTER PRIVACY, to get rid of flash cookies once and for all.
    Besides KEYSCRAMBLER, other MUST HAVE Firefox addons to safeguard your online privacy are the following ones:

    – XMARKS

    Finally, if you are really keen on stats and  on any other useful information  concerning  the analysis of domains and webpages , then I recommend you installing this superb addon:
    SEO TOOLBAR Key Features:

    1) Domain/Page Information
    Quickly evaluate the ranking of the domain/page with the following data:
    ° Google PageRank
    ° Alexa Traffic Rank
    ° Complete Traffic Rank

    2. SEO Information
    ° Backlinks to the domain registered with Yahoo and Google.
    ° Indexing on Yahoo and Google.
    ° Review the Onpage details –  Title, Meta Keywords, Meta Description and H1, H2 tags on the page.

    3. Link Scanner

    °  Links to any external domains, so you can rapidly scan a page to get an idea if there is an opportunity to get a backlink to your site or how it links out (grey by default).
    °  No follow links so you can quickly evaluate whether links from this site are no-followed or if a site is “blocking” any links (red by default).

    4. Domain Information

    ° Check the Whois information on the domain.
    ° Read the robots.txt file on the domain.
    ° Check when the domain was created and how old it is.
    ° Check if the domain has an XML sitemap, and look at the contents.

    5. Additional Controls
    ° Choose the position you want this addon to appear in your browser.
    ° Select the Whois Source engine.
    ° Enable and disable the Traffic rank sources.

    As you can see this addon provides much more in-depth information than your favourite one (FLAGFOX)  which,  frankly speaking, doesn’t stand comparison with SEO TOOLBAR.
    Do you agree with me,  Ashraf?
    Strange you didn’t mention it: it’s definitely a MUST HAVE TOOL that every serious webmaster  like you should have on their arsenal to compare the performance of his site to the ones of his competitors!


  • OldElmerFudd

    @bem: Thanks for stepping up. Us old guys can use all the help you youngsters have to offer. 8-)

  • Renee Vanderbilt

    ff addons I’m “currently’ using..
    1Admuncher browser extension
    2Ad to search bar
    3Auto Copy
    7Colorful Tabs
    9Coral IE Tab
    10Dr. Web anti-virus link checker
    12Flashgot(used with orbit)
    18Split Browser
    20Toolbar Buttons
    22Tweak Network
    25Yahoo Mail Watcher
    This is one of my fav sites

  • Mr.Dave

    @AlanR: I like Roboform also, really simplifies tracking passwords, program keys, membership numbers, etc., not to mention quickly loading often-used web pages and logging into them.   But I just keep it in the task tray and have the FF extension disabled – works great!
    @OldElmerFudd: Thanks, the Ghacks pages did the trick. I had run FF “As Administrator” and then the Uninstall buttons were activated for the extensions.  The plugin is gone too, I found the files listed in Ghacks and changed the extensions to “.__X__dll” in case for some reason I want to put them back…

    @Ben: Thanks for the recommendation.  I use JavaRa, it cleans out old versions of Java (I can’t believe Sun is too lazy to do that for us!) but it left the old extensions in FF.  I don’t know if there’s any reason to keep the older Java files.  I have a great program called “Guitar Codex Plus” that was written in 2002, in Java, and it still works fine in the newest Java environment.  (GC Plus shows where the notes are on a guitar fretboard – for just about any chord or scale, even with custom tunings, and lets you hear the notes as well.  Perfect for figuring what’s “legal” to play in a guitar solo)
    @samer: I’ll definitely check out Lazarus.  I almost always save a copy of any big message boxes (like this one) by using Ctrl+A to select all the text, Ctrl-C to copy it to the clipboard.  Then I click submit, and if something’s amiss I can go to the page again and paste the text back in for another try.  But to do that for a whole form (like a job application!) sounds amazing.  Thank You Thank You Thank You!
    I also like FEBE, simple way to back up & recover all your FF settings, bookmarks, extensions, etc.  Takes the fear out of FF upgrades and reinstalls, and it’s much easier to recover with FEBE than to restore a whole partition or figure out which specific files to recover.
    I had Read-It-Later and lost it somewhere along the journey.  Still have something similar called Taboo.  Seems to work very well.

  • Jenny

    I only use Firefox if Opera is being blocked
    And I only use IE if the world is burning

  • samer

    Ashraf I sent u this email 2 times back on 4/5/2010 I never got a reply :P
    here’s what it said :

    Hey Ashraf :)

    I always enjoy reading your articles …

    I’m a Firefox user … and just wanted to ask if u have any favorite firefox add-ons that you recommend :) I thought it would make an interesting article :)

    Here’s a list of my favorite Firefox add-ons hope they’d be useful :)

    1- Lazarus: Ever had one of those “oh $*#@” moments when you’ve finally finished filling out a long form, and hit submit only to see an error message? And when you hit the back button, the form was blank… If so, you know you need Lazarus. And if not, you have a chance to install Lazarus before disaster strikes!
    Using Lazarus, you can recover lost forms with a single click. Lazarus automagically encrypts and saves every form as you type. If the submission fails or if you forget to send it or your computer or browser crashes, then you can return to the page and recover the form data you originally entered. http://lazarus.interclue.com/
    It’s really a life savor :)

    2-DownloadHelper : allows to download videos and images from any site and also allows to convert the videos …

    3- Speed Dial : description: Speed Dial allows fast access to your most visited websites. It loads in a tab, and will show thumbnail views of its assigned websites. Those thumbnails will be refreshed automatically in the background. http://speeddial.uworks.net/
    This kinda makes up for the feature in Google Chrome :)

    4-Tab Mix Plus: Tab Mix Plus enhances Firefox’s tab browsing capabilities. It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager. http://tmp.garyr.net/

    5- All-in-One Sidebar : All-in-One Sidebar (AiOS) is a sidebar control, inspired by Opera’s. Click on the left edge of your browser window to open the sidebar and get easy access to all your panels. It lets you quickly switch between sidebar panels, view dialog windows such as downloads, add-ons, and more in the sidebar, or view source code or websites in the sidebar. It includes a slide-out button . http://firefox.exxile.net/aios/
    This one is really my favorite :)

    6- FireShot : FireShot is a extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer that captures, edits, annotates, organizes, exports and prints screenshots of your web pages.. http://screenshot-program.com/fireshot/

    7- FEBE : FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up — It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files. Now you can easily synchronize your office and home browsers.
    FEBE backs up and restores your extensions, themes, and (optionally) your bookmarks, preferences, cookies. and much more. http://softwarebychuck.com/febe/febe.html
    another life savor especailly when formatting or getting a new computer :) and the best backup for Firefox I ever found.

    Read It Later:
    The Read It Later Firefox extension allows you to save pages of interest to read later. It eliminates cluttering of bookmarks with sites that are merely of a one-time interest. It can also synchronize between PCs and different browsers :) http://readitlaterlist.com/

    9- Adblock Plus http://adblockplus.org/en/ & WOT http://www.mywot.com/

    10- Greasemonkey : Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to customize the way webpages look and function.
    Hundreds of scripts are already available for free. And if you’re the tinkerer sort, you can also write your own.

  • tejas

    No addons here……… but I don’t use Firefox, or IE.
    @Mike Brazil: checking out Orca, and it is a nice browser, but I don’t see it replacing Opera.

  • Ben

    @Mr.Dave: You could use JavaRa. It removes older Java versions.

  • bem

    @ebony: I’m not Fudd, but I am getting older so while you wait…
    Right click Tools, Addons, Flashblock, Options.  There’s a tab for adding site addresses to a whitelist.  A little cumbersome.
    I’ve been using AdBlock Plus for awhile and find that it handles ads and flash very well.  Just click on the toolbar icon to enable/disable any page or site easily.  I don’t get to too many ‘busy’ sites but I couldn’t see that Flashblock was adding anything to the mix so I uninstalled it some time ago.

  • ebony

    Elmer Help
    I added the flash block, but there are some pages where I want to allow that. Is there some help/tutorial that will help me manage it?

  • @Adrian: IE! IE!

  • bem

    The two that I use most that aren’t mentioned above are Tab Mix Plus, for greater control over the tabbed experience, and a little gem call PageZipper.  If you’ve not tried it I recommend it highly.  Open a page that continues on through numerous pages, such as a google search or a freeware archive, and it ‘zips’ the pages into one continuously scrollable page for more rapid searching.  Excellent for slower connections as the next page is loaded when you get there, no delay.

  • vhick

    My addon most addicted/used for Firefox are:
    Adblock Plus
    AFOM (I find it very useful for firefox memory usage and lessen the system overhead of Firefox under Defensewall protection.)

  • Adrian

    @Samuel:  For my IE, I use IE7Pro, Google Toolbar and WOT. Yes, I also use IE8, get over it people ;)

    Also, I’m not a witch :-)

  • Doru

    I use Firefox and Maxton (like Default,this is my new preferances).For Maxthon i use:Firefox gTranslator forMaxthon.For Firefox i use:flagfox,adblock plus,no script,Video Download Helper,Fireshoot to make screen capture,program to save in pdf(nova if i remember),program to see Ip and program for translation .

  • OldElmerFudd

    @Mr.Dave: There’s a fix for the plugin issue on ghacks. http://www.ghacks.net/2010/04/25/how-to-remove-the-java-deployment-toolkit-from-firefox/
    Good luck; that one bugged me too.

  • AlanR

    @Mr.Dave: #8 : I am with you on many counts (but not all), my add-ons etc. also are quite extensive.
    Add to the list toolbars for RoboForm (for password security issues) and Wolfram – for “science / research” related queries, you might just be amazed at what it can do. :)
    Thanks for reminding me of Groowe Search Toolbar, I had this on a previous laptop setup but lost the lot in a HD fail and forgot to put it on the new system. Will now re-visit to find if it is still useful for me.

  • Mike Brazil

    I use the Orca browser, which uses the Mozilla Gecko engine. I can use some Firefox addons/plugins, etc. Unfortunately, there are quite a few that won’t work, but I’ll probably never give up Orca as my browser. It’s so configurable that there are many extensions you don’t need anyway. Try Orca — you might like it. If you’re an IE fan, try Avant, which has the same (almost identical) user interface as Orca and is just as configurable but runs on the IE engine.

  • Mr.Dave

    I tend to overdo a lot of software things, and Firefox add-ons (36)  & plugins (15) are no exception!  I like how there are so many listed above that I don’t know about yet, and everyone has a different list.
    Here are my favorites:
    1-Click Weather – shows the level of detail I want in the status bar (hey, I live in Ohio where people say “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes”)
    Adblock Plus – I never, no, that should be NEVER click on ads anyway, so nobody loses revenue when I run this.  So much EASIER to focus on what I’m doing on the web!
    All-in-One Sidebar – a great utility that moves all kinds of good things to the left edge of my screen, easy to see them when I want, or hide them when needed: extensions, history, bookmarks, scrapbook, page info, downloads.
    DownloadHelper – mentioned above, I use this a LOT to grab music videos and guitar instruction videos and things that make me laugh.
    FireShot – just started using this web screen capture program recently and find it very handy for grabbing images of long web pages all in a few clicks.  Lots of options for what to capture and what to do with it.
    Groowe Search Toolbar – this combines many other toolbars in to one toolbar slot.  Click the menu to pick which toolbar you need and there it is.  Switch from Google to Amazon to Yahoo
    LinkExtend toolbar – I’m also a big fan of this one.  Takes much guesswork out of deciding if a link is ok to follow.
    Scrapbook – lets you grab the parts of a page you want to keep and squirrel them away for next spring.  Easy to cut out all the ads, banners and other fluff on a page, add text or highlights.  Save pages in one big folder or create nested folders to arrange by whatever subject you choose.  This is NOT bookmarks, it saves the contents.  Change the title to something more descriptive and add a description.  It remembers the original URL in case you want to go back there….  Very well done!
    Hey, that’s only 8!  I should have included Personas and Colorful Tabs just for the eye-candy and fun-factor they add, but they’re not essential.
    And this could have gone into the Pet Peeves discussion:
    Does anyone know how to get rid of all the Java plugins and extensions that Firefox won’t allow (Java Deployment Toolkit or let me remove (several Java Console addons).  The Uninstall button is disabled on all these.

  • @OldElmerFudd: Thanks… I think :S

  • OldElmerFudd

    I keep the FF addons pretty simple:
    Adblock Plus
    Optimize Google
    Pixlr (Flash-based image editor)
    Session Manager
    I check these and the plugins every so often for usefulness. Plugins especially get loaded up by MS and Java updates.
    Be nice to Samuel – he seems to be a good witch!

  • @Ashraf: LOL

  • Ashraf

    @Samuel: Ahhhh, Internet Explorer – he’s a witch! Burn him at the stake!

  • My Add ons are:
    IE7Pro (yes I use IE, get over it people)
    Adobe Stuff
    AVG Stuff

    that’s pretty much it

  • @Adrian: Ha, I might do that too.
    @Article: Here’s what I use:
    Adblock Plus
    App Tabs
    Favicon Picker 3
    Menu Editor
    Private Browsing Window
    Tab Progress Bar
    URL Tooltip

  • Adrian

    I use Firefox just as you do, but I use these addons instead:

    ReadIt Later
    Google Toolbar
    Video DownloadHelper
    AdBlock Plus

    Greasemonkey is very handy for user-made scripts, NoScript is also a must for security, but it’s a bit of a hassle to turn it off for every website I visit which uses scripts.

    I may write about them sometime soon:

    “10 browser addons/plugins that Adrian is addicted to”…