Pros / Firefox’s design focuses on simplicity and speed.
Cons / It is incredibly difficult to reach Mozilla’s support team.
Verdict / Mozilla Firefox is a versatile and feature-rich browser that’s good for both casual browsing and intensive research.
Firefox is the fastest web browser we tested, and it has a simple design that makes it easy to find settings and tools and navigate to sites. It lets your browse in private windows and has customizable toolbars as well as a dual URL and search field, plus it works on so many platforms. Mozilla Firefox is easily one of our top picks for the best internet browser.
- Initial Startup Time
- Average Startup Time
- Navigation Time
Speed & Compatibility
In our tests, the browser took an average of 1.55 seconds to open sites, and once there, it loaded them in their entirety in about 1.09 seconds – both were the fastest times in our test group. Depending on your internet provider and service plan, your exact load times may differ from ours. However, since we tested each browser under the same conditions, our results show, in general, how fast each browser is relative to the others.
Mozilla Firefox syncs your favorite sites, browser history, passwords and settings across all the devices you use it on. The browser is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and it works on Android and Apple cell phones and tablets. Firefox is fully optimized and can handle multi-touch gestures, so it is a good choice for mobile devices and touchscreen laptops.
Firefox’s interface is well organized, uncluttered and intuitive, which makes navigation easy. For example, the URL doubles as a search field, so you don’t have to open a separate tab or go to a search engine page to look for a specific site or information on a topic. Also, the toolbars are customizable, so you can create text links or icon shortcuts to tools or websites you use often. In addition, when you start typing in the search bar, Firefox automatically fills in what it thinks you’re looking for based on popular search results and the websites you’ve visited.
This web browser lets you open several pages at once in separate tabs, and you can toggle between them in a single window. Opening a new tab is easy – just click the plus icon next to the already open tab. You can reorder tabs by clicking and holding down your mouse button while dragging them to new positions. You can also use this feature to pull a tab out into its own window. If you accidentally close a tab, Firefox has a redo feature that reopens it to the page you were on.
Mozilla’s find-on-page feature lets you search for specific words or phrases on webpages or in online articles. For example, if you open an article and would like to jump to a specific section, you can search for a term and Firefox will highlight your search words so you can quickly skim for the information you need.
This internet browser also has a voice interaction add-on, which lets you browse the internet using simple voice commands. This is especially handy if you have a mobile device and need to search online without using your hands.
Firefox makes it easy to conduct research online with its virtual sticky notes, which you can use to make notes directly on webpages. You can later access your notes through the browser’s toolbar, where you’ll also find your saved bookmarks, archived browsing history and pinned apps. If you choose to keep your startup page as the Firefox default page, you will see several thumbnails for popular websites and pages you frequently visit. Clicking on a thumbnail takes you to that site without you having to enter the URL.
Firefox includes a pop-up blocker, password manager and parental controls. Another nice feature lets you drag text or a link from anywhere on a webpage and put it directly into your search bar. Firefox also includes a built-in PDF viewer, which means you don’t have to open PDF files in a separate program. You don’t need to have a PDF viewing program installed on your device to use this feature, but you do need one if you want to download and save the file to view later.
Mozilla Firefox protects against phishing sites and pop-ups. The internet browser also automatically updates, so it is always current with the latest security fixes. In addition, you can customize the browser’s security settings. For example, you can control how thoroughly it scrutinizes sites and customize settings for cookies, downloads, passwords and add-ons. For mobile devices, you can adjust the security settings to have Mozilla notify you know when an online app tries to download to your phone.
Firefox lets you browse privately, and it’s easy to enable and disable this feature from the settings menu. This feature opens a browser window with the same interface, icons and customized toolbars as a normal one, but your search history won’t be saved; no one can track your keystrokes; and spyware, such as cookies, can’t track you. Mozilla also has proxy settings so other people can’t trace your activity back to your computer and location – the proxy location and IP address are given instead of your own to throw internet snoops off your trail.
While Mozilla includes the best protections, it isn’t enough to keep your computer safe from all viruses and internet threats. We suggest using a good antivirus program in addition to your browser’s security features to ensure you’re protected in the best ways. Norton Security has some of the best internet security features that work in tandem with Firefox.
Help & Support
Mozilla has a lot of useful information on its website, including FAQs, a knowledgebase and visual tutorials. The knowledgebase is searchable and includes a community forum where you can ask other users for help. The company doesn’t provide direct support through either telephone or email, which is frustrating if you have a problem you can’t resolve on your own or through the online community.
Mozilla Firefox is easy to use and fast, which makes it our top pick for the best web browser. It’s easy to locate the browser’s tools and functions, plus you can customize the toolbars with icon shortcuts. In addition, the URL bar doubles as a search bar, so you don’t have to open Google in another browser tab. The only real drawback is Mozilla doesn’t provide live support.