Firefox Setup for Privacy and Convenience

The other day posted this thread about Firefox and how she likes to set it up. It got me thinking that I should share my Firefox setup in full, for those looking for a privacy respecting, simple, comfy browser experience. Some of my opinions will differ from hers, and honestly she's smarter than me so maybe listen to her, I'm just old and set in my ways. But if you're curious, join me on a journey into about:config.

A Tale of Two Browsers

To start, I tend to run two copies of Firefox at a time. Not two profiles, two copies. One is vanilla Firefox as it comes from Mozilla's website. I do the bare minimum to it to ensure it will work on any website no matter how terrible. Most of the time that's to buy Amtrak tickets.

Then, I install Firefox Developer Edition. This is my daily driver. This one will be set as strict as possible, and I'll jump into about:config to fully disable features that are just clutter to me like recommendations, pocket, Firefox accounts, sync, etc.

This same setup could be done with standard Firefox as a daily driver and Firefox ESR (extended support release) whenever I need to buy a train ticket. I prefer dev edition for the most superficial of reasons, some slightly shinier developer tools and a blue icon.

Firefox Developer Edition – My daily driver


Before I get into settings, I clean up some things. Right click on the “Firefox View” icon in the top left that looks like a pinned tab, and Remove from Toolbar. Then delete “Import Bookmarks” and “Getting Started” from the bookmarks toolbar. Open Bookmarks Manager (hamburger menu –> Bookmarks –> Manage Bookmarks, or Ctrl-Shift-O), click on Bookmarks Menu, and delete the “Mozilla Firefox” folder.





Firefox Home Content
Default Search Engine
Search Suggestions
Search Shortcuts

Privacy & Security

Enhanced Tracking Protection
Logins and Passwords

Forms and Autofill

Address Bar
Firefox Developer Edition Data Collection and Use
Deceptive Content and Dangerous Software Protection
HTTPS-Only Mode



You could stop right here and have a pretty good privacy respecting browser. I like to go into about:config and do more, and also disable some features in Firefox that annoy me. That said, sometimes more settings is not better, as everything you customize could be used for additional fingerprinting. Some of these settings may cause unexpected issues with certain websites. Continue down the rabbit hole with me at your own risk.


Now it's time to dive under the hood. enter about:config in the address bar and click the big scary button that says “Accept the Risk and Continue.”

To change these settings, enter the setting in the search box and then use the toggle on the right to change the value.

Disabling Annoying Parts of Firefox (I don't want my web browser to upsell anything)

Privacy Settings

Other Things I Just Think Are Neat

A Note on privacy.resistFingerprinting

I don't enable this one, though many recommend it. It causes two issues with me for sites that I use daily. On Nextcloud, some apps cannot determine my timezone and at this time there is no workaround or way to set it manually. On mastodon, the favicon ends up messed up, as does any website with a favicon that updates when I get a notification. Since most of my internet time is spent in these two web apps, I choose to keep it disabled.

Vanilla Firefox

I could write all of it out like I did above, but I tend to just change the search engine to DuckDuckGo, turn off recommendations, and disable Firefox Data Collection. And since I don't use this browser for much or often, I set it to delete cookies and site data when Firefox is closed.


With this setup, I have a mostly-private browser and a backup browser to buy train tickets. My mostly-private Browser is just a web browser. It doesn't try to sell me anything, or get me to create accounts I don't need. I handle syncing my bookmarks myself, and I manage my passwords myself.

If your threat model calls for even more protection, add Tor Browser to your list of browsers. Oh hey, it's also based on Firefox.

Further Reading

If you want do more research on configuring Firefox for privacy, here are a few guides that have helped me:

#web #browser #chrome #firefox #privacy