Mozilla Corporation is the non-profit organization that manages Firefox. The Firefox browser is a popular alternative to Microsoft browsers or Chrome. Mozilla was created by Netscape, which was the business behind the early web browser called Netscape Navigator. Netscape was also the inventor of the secure web protocol, HTTPS.
Firefox is free to download. Its source code is also available. The easy access to the code behind the browser encouraged the Tor project to copy the Firefox implementation in order to create a dedicated interface for the Tor network.
There are Firefox versions for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS. For a long time, Firefox was the only serious contender to challenge Internet Explorer’s dominance of the web browser market. However, in recent years, Google Chrome has entered the race. This has pushed Firefox into third place overall (second place for desktop computers). There are currently half a billion Firefox users around the world. It is the number one browser in several countries, including Germany.
You can add extra facilities into the basic Firefox browser. These utilities are called “add-ons.” Firefox is generally highly rated for its privacy and security measures. However, it can’t extend its influence over the internet to protect connection data. To keep your internet traffic safe from snoopers and government controls, you need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Fortunately, some VPN companies offer versions of their software that can be integrated into Firefox as add-ons. As with extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons for all browser types, the Firefox VPN add-ons are usually not as secure as their app equivalents. Being able to integrate your VPN into your browser gives you a fast, lightweight version of your chosen VPN. However, it only protects your web surfing. It leaves all of the other applications on your computer exposed.
Not many VPN companies produce Firefox add-on versions of their services. It could take you a while to track down all the options. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you.
You can read more about internet privacy issues related to browsers later on in this article. First, take a look at our list of the five best VPNs for Firefox.
Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for Firefox
Best VPNs for Firefox: Summary
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- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Kill switch
- IP leak protection
- Strong security
- Servers in 94 countries
- Only three simultaneous connections allowed
Our full ExpressVPN review places it as one of the top VPN services in the world right now. It has just about everything you could want from a VPN, including a Firefox browser add-on. The ExpressVPN Firefox implementation is top-of-the-line. It includes a kill switch, which prevents your browser from connecting to the internet if the VPN isn't turned on. It also has a block on Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) settings being visible to third parties. The browser add-on includes facilities of full-feature VPN apps, including IP leak protection and Domain Name System (DNS) leak prevention. This VPN has servers in 94 countries and is a superb choice for evading detection in China or getting around regional restrictions on streaming services.
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- Seven-day money-back guarantee
- Servers in 141 countries
- Blocks WebRTC data
- Includes ad and tracker blockers
- Up to five simultaneous connections allowed
- Network is sometimes slow
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong. It's an excellent choice for those who want to access the web from China. The VPN is good at getting around regional restrictions on streaming services, including Netflix. The browser add-on only came out in March 2017, so if you didn't realize it existed, it's probably because you've been reading out-of-date reviews. The features of this add-on include WebRTC blocking, anti-malware processes, ad blocking, and tracker blocking. This is a full VPN implementation, so you also get a kill switch, IP leak prevention, and DNS leak protection.
- 15-day money-back guarantee
- 24-hour free trial
- Gets around regional restriction
- Live customer support 24/7
- Easy to use
- Browser add-on alone won't protect all the applications on your computer
The Firefox add-on from ibVPN is not, strictly speaking, a VPN. However, this browser feature is an addition to the VPN service that is implemented in a stand-alone app. The Firefox add-on is an encrypted proxy. This means it has all of the privacy of a VPN, but it doesn't include extra protection features, such as a kill switch. The ibVPN browser extension is only available to those who sign up for the full VPN service, so you will have the app available on your computer for when you need full-strength VPN protection. However, the browser extension is a fast option that will get you around regional restrictions at a long list of streaming services, including Netflix.
- Three-day money-back guarantee
- Free version with 10 GB data allowance
- Servers in 46 countries (eight with the free service)
- Ad and tracker blocker
- Extra anonymity utilities
- Account sharing strictly forbidden
The drop-down interface of the Windscribe Firefox add-on is very small, but it packs a punch. The main screen gives you the ability to select a server location and turn the VPN on or off. There is another feature on that screen, called Secure.link. This is a unique utility that scans a web page and reports on its security risks. Over on the "Settings" tab, you get a whole bunch of other privacy protection utilities. These include an ad blocker and a tracker blocker. The add-on can also strip out social media buttons from web pages. Plus, it sends false information about the "user agents" that can identify you even if your IP address is hidden. The free version of this VPN gives you all the privacy features of the paid version and an allowance of 10 GB of data per month. If you install the app as well, you can turn them both on, set to different server locations and create a "double-hop" VPN connection.
- 14-day money-back guarantee
- Free version
- Seven-day free trial for paid version
- Up to five simultaneous connections allowed
- Ad blocker and tracker blocker
- The system switches you from the free version to the paid version after the free trial
ZenMate has a paid version and a free version. Both service levels can be accessed from the company's Firefox add-on, and both give full VPN protection. The paid version gives you the right to use ZenMate servers in 30 countries. You only get access to four with the free version (Germany, Hong Kong, the US, and Romania). There's an ad blocker in the add-on, but the company sneaks in its own consumer guidance utility in the free version, which earns it money. This is "Smart Price," which compares prices from around the web for products that you are looking at in the browser and suggests better deals. If you find this promotional feature intrusive, you can turn it off. You can specify which server location you want to use for specific websites and the add-on will switch servers whenever you surf to a listed site.
Best VPNs to Avoid Browser Weaknesses
The VPN add-ons we’ve selected have vital facilities for combating serious privacy weaknesses that exist in all browsers. Programs in the websites you visit and the tracking cookies that those sites download onto your computer can give away a lot of information about you. Apart from tracking libraries, which could be considered as a type of spyware, remote computers can access a number of settings. These pieces of identifying information fall into two categories: Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) and user agents.
Although browser-based VPNs are less secure than apps, they are better at blocking these types of information leaks.
WebRTC is a programming library that is embedded into most browsers, including Firefox. These procedures are enabled by default.
The purpose of WebRTC is to facilitate video and voice communication. These applications need to work very quickly in order to effectively implement real-time transfers of video between the two endpoints of a call. WebRTC makes interactive communication faster. It does this by making certain information instantly available to the computer at the other end of the connection.
Unfortunately, the remote computer can use the WebRTC interface to see the current IP address of its correspondent. Thus using a VPN to hide your true IP address can be confounded by any remote program that tries the WebRTC query. This facility hasn’t been used much in this way. However, it could enable sites with regional restrictions to ignore the IP address that presents a request for content. Instead, they could check the actual IP address of the true originator of the request. This would allow them to determine the end customer’s real location.
The above Firefox VPN add-ons implement a block on WebRTC queries. The block is not automatic in all cases – you may have to look in the settings of your chosen VPN.
Most of the VPNs in our list also block ads and tracker programs. Again, in most cases, this utility is optional and has to be turned on. If you want to make a video or voice call over the internet, note that you’ll probably experience difficulties unless you turn off the ad blocker, the tracker blocker, and the WebRTC block.
Computers leak other information when connected to the internet, apart from your location and visited websites. These pieces of data are called “user agents.” Some authentication systems now use this information to build up profiles on the people that access their services. They do this to tell who and where you are, even without having access to your IP address.
Websites often make requests to browsers when they are in the process of setting up a connection. This is because some websites look better on specific versions of browsers. The web server might also want to know the screen resolution and operating system of the computer establishing the connection. All of these pieces of information seem fairly innocuous – they don’t contain any personal information about you. However, they can be used to track you because browsers tend to have lots of different versions. So do operating systems. There are other settings and supporting programs in your browser that also have a large number of versions. The combinations of these pieces of software and their different versions create a unique identity for your computer.
You can use a user agent switcher to avoid detection based on your user agent profile. These devices give false information on each user agent and change the lie frequently. Of the VPNs in our list, only Windscribe has an inbuilt user agent scrambler. As such, if you choose one of the other services in our top five, you might also consider installing a separate user agent switcher.
Social Media Buttons
That row of buttons for social media likes has become a fixture of the web. The number of buttons in that row isn’t always the same, but usually there will be a Facebook button and a Twitter button at the least. This cheery row of icons is not as innocent as it may seem. Every time those buttons are loaded into a browser, they report back to their respective home servers. Therefore, Facebook can track every site you visit, even if you are not a Facebook member.
It is a good idea to block those buttons. Of our five top VPNs for Firefox, only Windscribe currently offers that facility.
Best VPNs for Firefox: Conclusion
Firefox VPN add-ons are not just a lightweight version of app VPNs. They actually include browser-specific functionality that the main app doesn’t cover. Check all of the recommended VPN add-ons for Firefox in our top five. You can install the Windscribe and ZenMate add-ons for free. If you want to give the ibVPN Firefox version a go, take up the 24-hour free trial. You can try out the ExpressVPN and PureVPN Firefox add-ons risk-free even after you’ve paid because both of those companies offer refund periods.
Improve your security by hiding your identity on the web, and keep your Firefox browsing private with one of our recommended VPNs.
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