Table of Contents
The browser stands between us and the internet. It determines how we experience the internet by interpreting the files sent by the websites we visit. We can also add custom capabilities to the browser by using addons. For example, we can block trackers and remove advertisements and other unwanted elements from websites. It is even possible to change the colors of websites on the fly. These features can improve productivity, privacy, and security when surfing the web. I recommend using the Mozilla Firefox browser on desktop and mobile devices. It is a fast, privacy-oriented, cross-platform browser with useful settings, features, and addons. In the following sections, we discuss browser preferences, addons, and how to use the browser effectively. For more discussion about the internet, privacy, and online issues, I recommend listening to the IRL podcast by Mozilla.
Start by installing uBlock Origin addon. It is an efficient, wide-spectrum content blocker that blocks advertisements, trackers, and other unwanted elements from websites, making the web less distracting and safer. You can also install the Privacy Badger addon, which further reduces tracking such as embedded third-party code.
Tabs, Search, and Bookmarks
Tabs, search bar, and bookmarks are essential for effective use of the browser. We should always use the keyboard shortcuts for these functionalities. For example, we can open a new tab with
Ctrl + T, close the current tab with
Ctrl + W, and switch tabs with
Ctrl + Tab.
The search bar is perhaps the most useful feature of the browser, as it is what allows us to browse the website. We can focus the text cursor on the search bar using
Ctrl + L. By typing text on the search bar, it suggests websites based on your bookmarks. We recommend disabling the top site and history suggestions from the preferences. We can also type
@<name> to use any installed search engine directly. We recommend using privacy-focused search engines, such as Startpage and DuckDuckGo, to avoid filter bubbles created by personalized search results from search companies that track your data. Additionally, they do not require entering CAPTCHA when browsing anonymously with a Virtual Private Network.
We can save websites for later use using bookmarks.
Ctrl + B shows the bookmarks bar, and
Ctrl + D bookmarks the current page. However, you should use Pocket instead of bookmarks to save consumable content such as articles and videos or subscribe to recurrent content using RSS feeds. We discuss more about managing digital media on the Digital Media page.
Dark themes are often more eye-friendly, especially in the evenings. The DarkReader addon transforms website themes into dark themes on the fly. It has customization options for toggling dark and light mode, contrast, brightness, sepia, and grayscale.