10 Reasons to Use Firefox
By Kelly L. Potter
For over a year I’ve had people tell me that I need to switch from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) to Mozilla’s Firefox. I have even read several articles about the benefits of this browser, but I was still holding on to Internet Explorer. Was it because I was tied to this particular browser? No. Quite simply, I just wanted to do what was easiest, and for me, that meant using the browser preinstalled on my computer, which happened to be IE.
I asked myself, “What can Firefox do differently that would make a difference to me?” I did not think changing browsers would affect the simple tasks that I do online such as surfing the web, reading my email, and downloading pictures. Now that I have tried Firefox, I know that this browser helps me have a more productive and enjoyable online experience. However, before you decide whether you want to give Firefox a try, let me share with you the top 10 reasons why I am a Firefox fan.
- It’s free. You don’t have to pay anything to download it. It is produced by the Mozilla foundation, a non-profit foundation funded by donations.
- It’s secure. Firefox does not allow ActiveX controls. ActiveX is a program that allows online updates to Internet Explorer and Windows. A by-product of enabling online updates is that it "opens the door" for hackers to possibly add malicious software to your computer.
- It’s simple. Only the most frequently used features take up screen space, which makes it is easy to locate features without having to search through tabs of rarely used options. The “extras” are still available through downloadable extensions.
- It's customizable. You can add almost any functionality you want through extensions. Extensions are small add-on features that allow you to customize the browser to fit your needs. This might sound complicated, but it is really quite simple. Would you like to display international weather forecasts on your status bar? If so, download the Forecastfox extension. Want to countdown the days until your birthday? Add the CountdownClock extension. There are hundreds of possible extensions you can download.
- It’s easy to switch browsers. The Firefox developers purposely modeled certain design elements and keyboard shortcuts of other browsers such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Apple Safari and incorporated the elements they liked about each into Firefox. Also, you can transfer your favorites/bookmarks, settings, and saved passwords in your current browser to Firefox.
- It makes searching easy. In the Firefox control bar you have the option to search the Internet using several preset search engines, or add another search engine to the list. This feature makes searching the Internet one step easier. Firefox also allows you to search for certain words within a web page.
- It has an easy-to-use download manager. The download manager displays all ongoing and completed downloads. You control the downloads and can cancel, delete, and retry a download at any time. When a download is complete, a message appears in the task bar. To open a document from the list, you simply double-click on the item.
- It blocks popup windows. Some trustworthy websites use “popups” in a useful way, but many websites use them simply for ads. While other browsers can block the popup windows, Firefox does it seamlessly. When the browser blocks a popup window it displays an information icon in the status bar to notify you that it has prevented a popup from opening.
- It runs on many platforms. Regardless of whether you have a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer, Firefox will work on it. There are system requirements to run Firefox, but its needs are low and it doesn't take up much disk space.
- It has tabbed browsing. Have you ever dealt with more than 5 open browser windows at once? If so, you know how difficult it is to move from site to site by minimizing and maximizing the windows. Firefox’s tabbed browsing allows you to navigate between websites by clicking through the tabs located at the top of a single screen. If you surf multiple websites at once or juggle multiple online tasks, Firefox’s tabbed browsing will revolutionize your online experience.
Learning a new software can take time, but Firefox is worth the effort. The browser you choose has a significant impact on the type of online experience you have. It does more than simply display websites. It provides you with the tools to help you navigate among those websites, and it determines how easy and safe your online experience will be. If you are still not sure you want to change browsers, at least download a FREE version of Firefox and give it a try. Once you do, I think you might become a Firefox fan like me.