Mozilla Firefox Review

9.0/10
Last updated: May 18, 2021

Mozilla Firefox is your best option for day-to-day secure browsing. It protects your privacy, works on all popular platforms, and offers a number of browser extensions to choose from.

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Although the advent of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox remains a key part of the online world. Every day, around 500 million people use the browser, and there are plenty of good reasons for this.

The browser’s open-source design and inspiring history as part of the Free Software movement are part of the appeal. But it’s also simply a very user-friendly, flexible product. Mozilla’s browser is also a safe option to go for if you want to stay anonymous and keep your private data secure.

But you shouldn’t take any browser at face value. So we’ve done this Firefox review to test and find out whether this is the best and safest browser around. One thing we already know – you won’t be fully protected online without a Virtual Private Network, such as NordVPN.

Mozilla Firefox security shortcomings

Even though Firefox is a secure browser, it still cannot protect your whole traffic as a VPN does. So if you want to stream, torrent, or play online safely, we recommend NordVPN.

Want to make Mozilla Firefox browser more secure?
NordVPN adds protection to your whole internet connection.

What are “secure browsers,” and why are they important?

Before we assess the merits of Mozilla’s offering, it’s worth outlining exactly what makes a browser secure and why that matters. Secure browsers won’t leak your browsing history to external observers or other local users. They will let you know about potential threats, link up with ways to neutralize them and hook up with encryption tools like the best VPN services without any problems.

This matters for a whole host of reasons. For one thing, web browsing without security is a great way to contract malware infections and leak private data to thieves. Browsing without security puts you at risk of surveillance, whether it’s by corporations or governments. And it also makes it easy for websites to track your movements via cookies and other devices – collecting data for their own private profit.

Is Mozilla Firefox safe?

Mozilla claims to offer the most secure private browser around. If you use private mode, the browser won’t store any history, cookies will be erased every session, and passwords won’t be retained either.

Firefox has made giant strides in other ways to become more secure. Mozilla has tweaked the notifications for possible attack sites, became better at integrating with popular antivirus packages, added private browsing mode, and included a “Do Not Track” option to head off tracking cookies.

So, generally speaking, Mozilla is pretty reliable when it comes to security and privacy. And the open-source nature of their product means that bugs and nasty surprises aren’t likely to survive for long.

However, the company does extract “telemetry” data from browsers for analysis, including quite a lot of information. Data sent includes “hardware, performance, usage, and customizations” – so pretty much everything you do with the browser. Fortunately, you can turn it off via the “privacy and security” menu.

The Privacy Policy provides some reassurance. For example, it states that personal data is routinely destroyed. But it also reports that “your information might end up on…computers in another country [which] may have a different level of data protection regulation than yours.”

That’s a little bit concerning and vague. And it makes using the best VPN for Firefox advisable to ensure total privacy. In case you’re not planning to spend a dime, at least consider these free Firefox VPNs.

Want to make Mozilla Firefox browser more secure?
NordVPN adds protection to your whole internet connection.

Introducing Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla is a free software collective that has been active since 1998. Originating as an offshoot from Netscape (which at that stage was starting to commercialize its operations), Mozilla had the idea of creating an open-source, free web browser – as well as add-ons like mail clients.

It took a while, but in 2004 Firefox was ready for release. It immediately scored well with web users, who were frustrated with the “quality” of Microsoft Internet Explorer. By 2009, a massive 32% of web users used Mozilla’s browser, although that percentage has more than halved since Google Chrome arrived.

Nowadays, Firefox is a slick product, with a committed customer base, versions for Linux, Windows, macOS, smartphones, and plenty of add-ons. Most importantly, it’s still free, and you can download it here.

Mozilla Firefox: key features

When you download the browser, here are a few basic features that make it stand out:

  • A clean interface with everything you’d expect from an elite browser.
  • Add-ons ranging from password managers and adblockers to weather forecasters and maps.
  • Plenty of graphical themes to customize the look of your installation.
  • Synchronized accounts, so your bookmarks and passwords can follow you wherever you go.
  • Private browsing leaves no trace of your activity, at least locally.
  • Instantly send tabs or bookmarks between devices, making it easy to share valuable links.
  • Memory management tools generally make it more efficient than Chrome.
  • Easy integration with the Thunderbird email client.

How to use the Mozilla Firefox browser

Mozilla’s web browser will be familiar to almost any internet user. There’s nothing confusing on the front end. It just features the location bar, top menu, quick bookmark buttons, and the viewing window.

You can access the main options menu via a single click in the top right-hand corner. This menu opens up your “library,” – which includes stored tabs, bookmarks, and any history you wish to store. You can call up the “content blocking” page to keep out cookies and trackers. And you can zoom straight into the add-ons section to add or remove apps.

Mozilla Firefox for Android

Mozilla for androidMozilla has released its browser for both iOS and Android phones, but it has a far lower market share than the desktop version. That’s a shame because the Android version is easy to install and totally functional.

The syncing options are beneficial, making it easy to beam over bookmarks when required. And the privacy protections are at least as effective as Chrome. You can block tracking cookies and ads, and the history erasure is watertight, too. So even if your phone is stolen, thieves won’t have access to your browsing history.

The Android version also features browser extensions, which is welcome. So you can add emojis and themes to suit your personal style. However, the Android version lacks VPN support, which is a major drawback. On the other hand, you can still use a browser add-on from most VPNs for Android.

Mozilla Firefox for Mac

Mozilla for MacAnything from Mac OS 10.9 upwards can run Mozilla Firefox without any problems, and the browser is almost the same as the Windows edition. You’ll need 512MB RAM and 200MB of disk space to get up and running, but installation is simple.

Head to the download page, and press “download.” The site automatically detects that you’re using a Mac. When that’s done, a finder window will appear. Just drag the Mozilla icon to your apps tray, and you’re all set.

Finally, don’t forget to use a reliable VPN from our best VPNs for Mac list.

How to update Mozilla Firefox

Updating your browser to the latest version is always advisable, and in the case of Firefox, doing so isn’t complex. In fact, most of the time, the browser will auto-update, saving you the effort.

Updates appear almost every month. For instance, version 88.0 appeared in April 2021, while 87.0 landed in March. So you can expect a short update process periodically. Check here for a full update list to get an idea of how it works.

By and large, updates aren’t too large, and they won’t take your browser offline for more than 10 minutes.

Most common Mozilla Firefox issues

No browser is perfect, and Mozilla’s offering sometimes crashes at inconvenient times. Here are some common alerts that users will eventually come across.

  1. Firefox not responding. When the browser “hangs” permanently and won’t resume. This tends to be caused by faulty add-ons.
  2. Firefox critical error. This red screen of death would be the most alarming notification Mozilla provides – if it was real. Users sometimes receive these alerts, which tend to ask them to contact a “help desk.” They are almost always scams.
  3. SEC_ERROR_UNKNOWN_ISSUER alerts. If your browser returns this error message, then it’s a sign that Mozilla is working. This happens when Mozilla fails to authenticate a website’s certificate – an indicator that it could be unsafe.
  4. Your connection is not secure. An increasingly common error message tells you that Mozilla has detected an improperly configured site. You’ll have the chance to proceed, but it’s nice to have the option of staying clear.

Mozilla Firefox vs Google Chrome vs Brave

FirefoxChromeBrave
OwnerThe Mozilla FoundationAlphabetBrave Software, Inc.
Launched in200420082015
Security featuresPrivate browsing, Open source code reviews via the “bug bounty system,” Adblocking, Eliminates cookies, VPN add-on, Security alertsSandboxing to handle malware infections, ad-blocking available, Incognito mode, website certificate security checksBlock all tracking cookies, Complete ad-blocking if desired, No collection of personalized user data, in-built password manager, Detailed plug-in screening, Open source bug fixes welcomed
Private browsingYesYesYes
Custom extensionsYesYesYes
Open-sourceYesNoYes
CloudSyncNoYesYes (beta)
Available onWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TVWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS

Verdict

Mozilla Firefox is the top choice for secure everyday browsing. Its security and privacy credentials are top-notch, and there are more than enough extensions to customize your experience. At the same time, it’s still easy to use for anyone who has ever surfed the web.

That being said, Firefox still requires some configuring to maximize its potential. However, with a bit of effort, you can browse safely on both desktop and mobile devices.


You may also like to read:
Most secure web browsers
Is Tor browser safe?
Brave browser review

FAQ

Is Mozilla Firefox safe?

Compared to every other browser, Mozilla Firefox is the safest browsing option. Of course, there’s also the Tor browser, but that’s not something you would be using on a daily basis.

Is it enough to use Firefox for safety?

Unfortunately, no. Even though Firefox can be considered a secure browser, it still protects only part of your traffic. To get your whole traffic encrypted and your IP hidden, you’ll need a reliable VPN service.

Does Firefox have a mobile version?

Yes, you can use Firefox on Android and iOS. Firefox Daylight supports Android 5.0 and later, while the iOS version should be at least 8. Also, there’s a separate product named Firefox Focus, designed to block trackers. Finally, there’s even a version for Amazon Fire TV.

How to set Mozilla Firefox as default browser

To make Firefox your default browser, press the hamburger menu on the top right and choose Options. Then, tick “Always check if Firefox is your default browser.”

Good

  • Very high security and privacy
  • Plenty of browser extensions
  • User-friendly

Bad

  • Update cycle could be shorter
 9.0 / 10
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9 comments
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  1. Mary

    Hi, I just installed the new Firefox. WOW! It is so wonderful fast! Thank you.
    I prefer Firefox, but I stared using more google because it had become so slow. Well, I’m back!
    Thank you for this great search engine..
    I loved the opportunity to change the theme with the updated version.
    Thanks for everything.


  2. Eric

    I totally prefer Firefox it is fast safe and realibale, and gives me good privacy settings. Plus, its not like any contry is worse than the US for privacy, and Mozilla doesn’t have servers in NKorea, Russia and China accept on the boreder of NKorea and Russia and a part of China that isnt that bad. I think Mozilla should


  3. pete D.

    i like Firefox desktop. i am not surprised chrome is the leader as its the way it markets it. Firefox for android i cant use it.have tried and tried to use it and cant. so use kiwi web browser for android. i personally support Firefox desktop. as a loyal amount of people do.


  4. JohnIL

    I’m sure Firefox is a acceptable web browser and many still use it. But ignoring the fact that every other browser engine uses Chromium. Pretty much leaves Firefox going it alone. Giving their dropping market share I don’t see how Firefox can stay relevant even with a loyal but small user base.


  5. Francisco

    I heavy Usage of Web Browser And for Me Firefox use so much least memory that Google Chrome… Try to load around 25 gig of ram of firefox browser page with Google Chrome (My 32 Gig rams will be busted). Google Chrome use more memory.


  6. Andrey S.

    Firefox is an excellent browser. Way safer and private than Chrome. Chrome just races ahead due to it’s simplicity and simplicity of it’s users! 😀


    1. Josh

      its*
      Also, Chrome uses sandboxing on Android. Firefox doesn’t. Chrome uses sandboxing on Linux. Firefox doesn’t. But yeah, on Windows, they are pretty equal.


      1. anon

        Chrome collects data to sell to advertisers on every platform.

        Firefox doesn’t.

        Case solved.


  7. Zak H

    Well I used Firefox for a long time (in my paranoid years), and it’s indeed one of the safest browser I’ve tried. But I still prefer Chrome because sometimes it’s just simpler to use instead of having no cookies, nor anything else…

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