What Is the Best VPN for Firefox?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Mozilla Firefox in September 2020. Users can get full VPN functionality from the ExpressVPN extension without leaving their Firefox browser window.
The ExpressVPN add-on secures your device’s internet traffic with AES-256 encryption, a VPN kill switch, data leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. It will also unblock Netflix libraries in 19+ countries and works with additional streaming platforms including Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer.
Is Firefox a Private Browser?
Firefox is generally considered a more private alternative to Google Chrome, but is it really?
It depends. To start with, it’s open-source, which is a plus for transparency. Chrome is based on open-source components, but it isn’t open-source itself, so you can’t see the application’s code.
Firefox also has Private Browsing mode which, like Incognito mode, erases your browsing information locally (i.e. on your personal computer).
Firefox allows users to tailor the Content Blocking feature to block some or all known trackers/cookies/fingerprinters, which is a great for privacy.
But even with these extra privacy features, you still need to use a VPN with Firefox. That’s because your ISP can still monitor and store your browsing activity, and hackers can take advantage of your personal data over insecure internet connections.
Unlike Chrome, Firefox also allows you to disable WebRTC within the settings so that you can avoid any leaks while using a VPN.
For those really serious about privacy, you can find alternative browsers and learn exactly how to optimize Firefox for privacy in our guide to the best private browsers.
What’s the Difference Between a VPN Add-On and a Full VPN?
VPN device apps and VPN browser extensions (or add-ons) aren’t the same.
While a VPN sends all device internet traffic through an encrypted VPN tunnel, browser extensions are proxies that spoof the IP address associated with your browsing traffic.
Some browser add-ons encrypt traffic – these are called HTTPS proxies – but most don’t (they’re just HTTP instead).
That’s why we always recommend using a VPN desktop app over a browser extension for the best levels of privacy and security.
You can read more about the difference between VPNs and proxies in our separate guide.
If you do want to use a proxy instead of a VPN client, we’d recommend using a browser extension provided by a trusted VPN service.
If you don’t, you risk putting all your personal data into the wrong (and sometimes dangerous) hands.
What’s the Best Free VPN for Firefox?
It’s very important to protect your Firefox web traffic using a VPN – at the very least with an secure proxy browser extension. However, all but one of the VPN add-ons we recommend require a paid subscription.
While you can use a free VPN with Firefox, many free VPN extensions aren’t safe to use. Some log your browsing activity, and others leak your IP address. We’ve listed a few of these dangerous services in the next section of this guide.
At the moment, the best free Firefox VPN is Windscribe. Windscribe is a free VPN (it does offer a paid service, too) that comes with a full-featured Firefox browser extension. You’ll be limited to 10GB of data a month on the free subscription plan, although that should be enough for light web browsing.
We also suggest taking a look at our guide to the best free VPNs. They’re all trustworthy, anonymous, and work on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices. Just connect to one of their secure servers to encrypt all of your Firefox traffic.
Like all good free VPN services, they do come with some limitations, such as slower speeds, reduced server locations, restricted data usage and no Netflix support.
Which Firefox VPNs Should You Avoid?
There are two Firefox VPN extensions to absolutely avoid:
These so-called VPNs are actually proxies that simply spoof your IP address. While this may work to access some blocked content, it’s not at all private.
In fact, these two proxy services may do more harm to your online privacy than good.
Hola works as a peer-to-peer network, essentially throwing your true IP address into a pool for other users to use and abuse as they please.
It doesn’t encrypt your internet traffic, and keeps logs of everything you do online.
Hoxx VPN claims to encrypt your browser traffic, but like Hola it collects information about the pages you’ve viewed through the proxy as well as your true IP address.
There are many other dodgy free VPNs and browser extensions available, but if you stick with our recommendations you’ll be safe.
Does Firefox Have a Built-in VPN?
Firefox currently doesn’t have a built-in VPN, however it is currently beta testing a proxy extension called Firefox Private Network in the US. The proxy extension encrypts all your browser traffic and masks your IP address using Cloudflare proxy servers.
Mozilla’s also planning on releasing a Full-Device VPN later this year. This shows the company’s commitment to improving its privacy offering.
How to Disable WebRTC Leaks in Firefox
WebRTC is a browser-based technology that allows audio and video communications to work inside the browser. But it’s not great for privacy.
WebRTC can reveal your true IP address even when you use a VPN – we call these WebRTC leaks. You can read all about them in our leaks guide.
The best VPN services and browser extensions block WebRTC leaks so that your IP address remains hidden and protected. However, you can disable WebRTC manually within Firefox’s settings – unlike Chrome – just to be sure.
- Enter about:config in the address bar and hit enter.
- Click I accept the risk!.
- Enter media.peerconnection.enabled on the search bar and hit enter.
- Right-click on the line listed and select Toggle.
When the Value reads false WebRTC is disabled.
Can You Be Tracked If You Use a Firefox VPN?
Yes, you can be tracked even if you use a VPN with your Firefox browser.
VPNs encrypt your traffic and mask your true IP address, which prevents some forms of tracking. However, websites and advertisers still have tools that can monitor your online activities:
- Tracking pixels
- Web beacons
- Browser fingerprinting
- Advertiser IDs
Firefox has a Content Blocking feature that can block many trackers – but crucially, not all of them.
Some VPN browser extensions also come with ad and tracker blockers, but even then big tech companies can still track your online activities.
When you log into online accounts such as Google you can be sure that you’re being tracked.
Google logs your searches and makes money from selling it to advertisers.
If you want to avoid being tracked online (as much as you possibly can) use a VPN, tracker/cookie blockers, and stay logged out of accounts that are provided by tech giants.
You can read more about online tracking on the EFF website.