Anyone that browses the web on Windows should have years ago kicked Internet Explorer to the curb in place of other options. The web browser that I recommend is called FireFox and is a fantastic improvement over IE. One of the features that I love in FireFox is the ability to add plugins to give extra functionality to the browser. The short list of plugins that I use are detailed below. I highly suggest you check them out if you are a user of FireFox. Of course if you aren’t using FireFox, you really should check it out as well.
This plugin strips out ads from web pages. It is the only way to browse the web these days with the ad-overload present on most sites. You will wonder how you every browsed without it.
Even though I love FireFox, there are many web pages that still require Internet Explorer only. Instead of having to actually open IE, this plugin allows you to re-render the web page using the IE engine from within FireFox.
Links & Forms
This one probably only applies to web developers, but it adds back functionality that was removed in FireFox version 2 that let you view Links and Forms info when looking at a page’s info via the Page Info menu item.
When browsing to web pages, one of the values that a site can log is the web page that you came from to get to that page. This means that a site can record whether you came to their site from a Google search or any other page that led you there.
Of course the downside is that if you were sitting on your bank’s web page and then typed in the name of a new web page, that new site could log the URL of your bank in their web logs. The RefControl plugin solves this problem by allowing you to prevent the referring URL from being logged by those sites. It allows you to block the referring URL entirely, set it to something you want to display (like www.noneOfYourBusiness.com), or have it return the name of the site you are heading to. A good addition to FireFox to help protect your privacy.
*Note though that some sites use the Referring URL as part of their login validation so sometimes you may have to disable it to make some sites work.
Tab Clicking Options
The tabbed browsing available in FireFox is a great improvement over the old one window per browsing session that used to be the norm. This plugin allows you to close tabs by double-clicking on the tab. This is something I find easier than trying to click the X on the edge of each open tab in FireFox.
Web Developer Plugin
Another must have plugin for Web Developers. This plugin adds a toolbar of amazing features targeted at those that write web pages.
I love the PDF format, but I hate Adobe Acrobat’s PDF Reader. I use the FoxIt PDF Reader instead of Adobe’s when I view PDF’s on my computer. I never like when PDF’s open inside my browser window either. This plugin gives you a pop-up when clicking on a PDF that gives you the option to open it in an external program (like FoxIt).
If there are any must have plugins that you use within FireFox that I haven’t listed, please let me know about them in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for new plugins to make FireFox more useful to me.