System Admins Favourite FireFox Add-ons! | Heart Internet Blog – Focusing on all aspects of the web

As one of the system administrators here at Heart Internet I find myself using my web browser almost all the time.  One of the great things about Firefox is the number of free add-ons available that enhance the browsing experience.  All the addons for Firefox can be found at – but here are a few of our favourites.


If you’re downloading a large file (for example a website backup) it can be very irritating if you get disconnected or your computer crashes.  Typically this always seems to happen within the last 10%!

DownThemAll! is a download manager integrated into Firefox which is able to pause and resume downloads.  The neat thing about it is that its completely integrated – when you start a download you get an option to download with DownThemAll!.

Xmarks (previously Foxmarks)

Thanks to the recent fashion of “small cheap computers”, it seems everybody has at least 2 computers nowadays.  With my home PC, laptop and work computer I can’t live without Xmarks – it’s a bookmark synchroniser which keeps your bookmarks identical across computers.  It has some nifty features such as bookmark profiles (so you can vary your bookmark toolbar at work for example), and if you’re on a computer where you can’t install the add-on, you can still see your bookmarks from a web page.

It’s compatible with Firefox on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux – as well as Internet Explorer and Safari.


If you’re a Twitter fanatic like some of my colleagues, you’ll find this simple add-on a blessing.  It adds an icon on the status bar which will notify you when someone you’re following tweets on Twitter.  You can also quickly tweet or reply to a tweet directly from your browser without loading up Twitter.  Don’t forget to follow @heartinternet while you’re there!


This is one for the web developers out there (and with our new HostPay themes out last week, everyone should be trying their hand!).  Firebug lets you inspect and alter the current webpage – allowing you to explore the document tree and CSS styles of a specific element and tweak them instantly in-place.  It’s also got a powerful JavaScript debugger/profiler that helps you track down those annoying errors.


When one of my colleagues mentioned this add-on to me, I was sceptical.  But I find myself becoming more and more attached to it.  The add-on simply moves the tab bar to a vertical position on the left-right of your browser.  This means you can have more tabs open and still see their titles.  It works perfectly on a widescreen monitor where horizontal space isn’t at a premium.

Speed Dial

Speed Dial adds a “quick launch” page to Firefox, where you can put your most used websites with thumbnails for each of them.  This feature will be familiar to Opera and Chrome users.  It can be configured to appear every time a new tab is opened, making it a good “jumping page”.  It’s just a shame it can’t be synchronised with Xmarks!

What are your favourite add-ons?  Or have you jumped ship to Chrome or IE8?  Let us know!



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  • 16/06/2009

    The plug in “Web Developer” on the top of my list, I’m now going to check out the others suggested here.

    Loving the quality posts here! – Great Work Team Heart

  • Rik


    Good point about add-on compatibility – just updated to the 3.5 beta at home, but it broke VertTabbar (may be due to the skin I’m using though).

    I’ve tried to use Chrome as my main browser, it’s certainly very quick, but I really do miss the add-ons available in Firefox.It’ll be interesting to see how things change as Chrome extensions start becoming available.


    Oh yes, “Web Developer” is great too – complements Firebug well, you should definitely give Firebug a spin.

  • 16/06/2009

    Thanks for the tip on Web Developer @GaryM and VertTabber @Rik – good calls on both..downloaded and playing now 🙂

  • 17/06/2009

    @ Rik, am now avvid user of Firebug… tnx

  • 18/06/2009

    I find I use Greasemonkey fairly often to make things work the way I want them to on websites.

    AdBlock Plus is invaluable, and Weave is very useful if you have more than one computer and you want to synchronise your bookmarks/history/saved passwords between them.

  • 18/06/2009

    Oh yeah, don’t forget DOM Inspector. It used to be included as part of Firefox, but it’s an add-on now.

  • Matthew


    Another one I use all the time is MeasureIt ( which lets you “Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.” Simple but very useful.

  • Loz


    Colorzilla for finding our exactly what that nice colour used is and fireftp for a quick-and-dirty ftp client.And another big Web Developer fan here – especially the feature that tells you what css style is used.

  • 15/06/2009

    Nice post Rik. I am a firm supporter of Forefox, the amount of free add-ons alone makes it much better than the rest. I have IE 6/7/8, FF, Safari and Chrome because I am a designer, but I can honestly say I always end up on Firefox.

    Cooliris is one of my faves, for a lush image browsing experience. I also use Firebug and find it invaluable for debugging.

    Another fave (and a must for marketeers) is the RankQuest Toolbar giving you great SEO information on any given web page.

    A point well worth noting for Firefox newbies, is that not all add-ons will be compatible with your version of Firefox, read the web documentation carefully and I would avoid experimental add-ons until they have been tested properly.

    In connection with that, dont worry too much when FF updates itself becuase you may find some of you add-ons cease to work. FF will notify you automatically when add-on update are available.

  • Matthew


    I always find myself using SEOBook’s SEO toolbar be it work related or if I just want to be nosey!


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