At a Glance
We’ve always had a soft spot for Firefox, but past versions have disappointed due to sluggish performance. The last few iterations though have shown great improvements, and this one in particular is very impressive.
Now with speed to match the incredible range of customisable options, the Firefox
web browser is back. Read our Mozilla Firefox (v35) review. (Also see:
All software reviews.)
For many people, Firefox was probably the first alternative browser they ever installed. Launched originally in 2004, the open source offering has been a constant in the browser firmament, and is currently ranked globally as the third most popular, behind IE and Chrome.
One of the strengths that has long been voiced by Firefox fans is the amount of customizable options available to the user. While other browsers offer the ability to change search default search engines, Firefox has a much wider range of alternatives available, including Bing, Google, DuckDuckGo, Youtube, Amazon, and a number of anonymous options. You can also install themes to change the look of the browser, or add a whole host of productivity and security features. These include ad-blockers, various download managers, web filters that block hard-core sites based on keywords you set up, Facebook ad and spam blockers, automation programs that can load up your favourite sites with one click, and, well, literally thousands more. (Also see:
How to delete cookies and browsing history.)
Of course there’s a trade off with all that additional computational load, and that’s if you install lots of extra features you’re going to notice a dip in performance. Keep things moderately simple though, and this current iteration is fast and robust. While it couldn’t quite match the speeds of Chrome and Opera in our benchmark tests, it was never far behind those greyhound-like rivals.
Firefox also has the standard security features you’d expect – private browsing, encrypted password storage, Phishing and Malware site warnings – plus the optional Do Not Track, and more advanced Tracking Protection, to stop ad servers watching your browsing habits. There’s also a few other interesting features built-in, including an RSS reader that allows you to subscribe to your favourite sites and have the news stream in your bookmarks bar. Just click the folder to see all the current headlines.
Another smart feature is Hello, which is a Skype alternative that allows you to video call friends without either of you needing an account. Simply launch the feature, send in invite to the call, and you’re good to go.
Best browsers for Windows and
best alternative web browsers
Mozilla Firefox v35: Specs
- Windows Server 2003/XP/Vista/7/8