Software

How to use the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension

If you're looking to gain even more privacy from Firefox, Jack Wallen shows you how to add and use the Multi-Account Containers extension to help protect your browsing footprint.

Recently I wrote about how Mozilla released a tool to aid with reclaiming your privacy back from Facebook with the Mozilla Facebook Container Extension. This particular tool was built out of another broader browser addon, called Firefox Multi-Account Containers.

This extension allows you to keep certain parts of your browsing separated into container tabs that help to preserve your privacy. Each tab is color-coded and enables you to even use multiple identities for sites, all within the same browser. Although the extension isn't quite as intuitive as you might desire, once you understand how it works, it becomes quite simple to use.

The feature set includes:

  • Allows you to sign in to two different accounts on the same site.
  • Allows you to isolate your sites from one another, by containerizing tabs.
  • Allows you to avoid leaving a social networking footprint to keep those sites from tracking you.

Let's install the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension and get up to speed with its use.

Installation

Installing Firefox is quite simple. I will warn you, this extension isn't available for either Android or iOS. It is however available for all desktop iterations of the platform. Even so, I highly recommend adding this extension to laptops that depend upon Firefox. With this installed, you can enjoy a bit more privacy while on the go.

With that said, let's install.

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Point the browser to the official page of the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension.
  3. Click Add to Firefox.
  4. When prompted, click Add.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

That's all there is to it. No need to restart Firefox, the extension is ready to use.

Usage

Once installed, you'll find a new icon in your toolbar. Click on that icon to reveal the extension drop-down ( Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The Firefox Multi-Account Containers Extension drop-down.


From the drop-down, you can use the predefined categories, or you can click the + button and create a new category. The predefined categories are:

  • Work
  • Banking
  • Shopping

NOTE: If you have already added the Facebook Container Extension, it will automatically add the Facebook category.

Let's add a Tech category and then add the TechRepublic site. Here's how:

  1. Click on the extension icon in the toolbar.
  2. From the drop-down, click the + button.
  3. Give the category a name, select a tab color, select an icon, and click OK (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Adding a new category.

Now, we have to add a site. Click on the extension tab and then click on the newly created category. This will open a tab (complete with the configured tab color for the category). Point that tab to the site you want to add to the category. Once the site is open, click on the extension drop-down one more time. You will now see the option to always open the site in the selected category ( Figure C). Click the check box for 'Always open in CATEGORY' (Where CATEGORY is the selected category).

Figure C

Figure C

Adding TechRepublic to the Tech category.


You're not done. One would think this should be all that is necessary. However, if you close the tab, open a new tab, and point it toward the site you just added, you will be presented with a page asking if you want to always open the site in question in the assigned category. You can either click Open in Current Container or Open in CATEGORY Container (where CATEGORY is the selected category - Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

The final step for adding a site.


You can either run this action once, or check the box for Remember my decision for this site. If you know you want this site to be always opened in a container tab, click the check box and then click the button for Open in CATEGORY Container (where CATEGORY is the selected category).

The next time you open that particular site, it will automatically open in the specified container category.

Added privacy

That's all there is to adding another layer of privacy to the Firefox browser. I highly recommend making use of this extension, especially if you depend upon social networking to help spread the word of your business or services. The last thing you want is to allow those sites to easily track your web footprint. With the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension, you gain a bit of added privacy while also enabling you to use multiple accounts for any site you use. Give this extension a go, and see if it doesn't wind up becoming a permanent fixture in Firefox.

Also See

Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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