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A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Firefox for Security and Privacy

Goal of this guide

This short guide is intended to show users how to set up Firefox to increase security and privacy while minimizing exposure to ads, trackers, and other malicious web content. I wanted to make a simple step-by-step guide that anyone could follow and end up with a solid browser setup in about 10-15 minutes.

Reasons to use Firefox over Chrome, Edge, or Safari

Install Firefox and a few Add-ons

First, you will want to install Firefox from the Mozilla website. You should only get Firefox or Firefox Add-ons from the domain. You can get the browser here:

Firefox for Desktop

Run the installer, and run Firefox once it has been installed. It will likely ask you whether you want to make Firefox your default browser, and I recommend accepting this. If you are not prompted to do this, you can manually change this in the Options menu. Click on the Firefox menu button > click options > and the default browser option will be near the top of the “General” tab under “Startup”

Next, there are a few Add-ons that I recommend installing:

HTTPS Everywhere

Privacy Badger

uBlock Origin

It is okay to run the default options for all of these addons. They are customizable to specific uses, but the default options work in most cases.

One thing to note is that occasionally one of these Add-ons will break a website you use by accidentally blocking an element on a website. If this happens to you, you can click on each of the individual addons to the right of the Firefox address bar to temporarily or permanently disable the Add-on for a particular site. For example, if you go to a website and then click on the Privacy Badger icon, you will see a large button allowing you to disable the Add-on for the site permanently. This is useful when you know the website is safe but the Add-on is causing the site to break for some reason.

Set up some Firefox options to make your browsing more secure

Setting the following options can improve security and privacy, but it is important to keep in mind that there is sometimes a tradeoff between security and user experience. For example, completely disabling Javascript in your browser will greatly increase security, but it will also completely break many of the websites you frequently use. I would not recommend disabling Javascript because of this.

Here are some options you can set that will increase your security without compromising much usability. First, go to the Firefox Menu, and click “Options” to bring up the Options menu in a new tab.


This setup is a great baseline for more secure and private web browsing. These recommended steps are mostly hands-off once set up, so you should not have to tinker with things much except in the rare cases where you have to disable an Add-on to get a particular website to load properly. There is always more that you can learn about and more steps to take if you’re interested in doing so, but I believe this is a great foundation for browsing the web securely.

Published: November 29, 2020.

Last updated: November 29, 2020

Correction and Edit History:

*License Info: This article is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0