My Firefox is a mess
I use Firefox in three main ways : "normal" browsing, web development and security stuff. These activities have different requirements :
When browsing normally, I want to see as little ads as possible and be tracked as little as possible while having quick access to my bookmarks. I also use some convenience extensions.
When I'm developing a web app, I want to avoid the situation where one of my regular extensions is somehow breaking the site, and quick access to another set of convenience extensions (things like react-devtools ).
Finally, when I'm working on a web security thing, I want to see the original pages' content (including ads), my traffic to go through Burp's Proxy and quick access to a third set of extensions ( Shodan.io, builtwith, etc.).
Those requirements are somewhat incompatible, and trying to set up Firefox for all of this at once ends up creating a cluttered mess of an UI that requires a billion manual actions to do something as simple as looking at adcodes.
The profile manager
If that sounds familiar, you may or may not know Firefox comes with a solution : the https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-and-remove-firefox-profiles.
A firefox profile has its own set of settings, extensions and bookmarks; and the profile manager allows you to, well, manage them. Once you have created a second profile, the browser will prompt you for which one to use when starting. It is also possible to use several profiles at the same time in different windows.
It's a somewhat hidden feature, and discovering it has chaned my life for the better so I highly recommend using it to anyone having the same problem as I had.
How to use it
As I mentioned, the profile manager will be displayed every time you start
Firefox once you have at least another profile. To start it manually, you have
two options : the CLI and the
Starting the profile manager with the CLI
to start the profile manager, call firefox from the via the command line with
-p) option. How to do that depends
on your OS.
On MacOS, use :
You might want to alias that, as the browser's cli has other interesting
On windows, I'm not sure what the path to Firefox is and it can varies, but same principle :
And if you're using Linux it depends on the distro, but there's a good chance
firefox is already in your
PATH so just
firefox -P should work.
It's as easy as browsing to about:profiles)`.
Note that two options will be unavailable from the
about: page :
- starting an "offline mode" session (with no Internet access)
- set a default profile (avoids having to select a profile when the browser starts)