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How to Set Up a VPN Add-on in Firefox

An illustration of a VPN running on Firefox
Simon Migliano

Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more.

It's very quick and easy to set up a VPN add-on in your Firefox browser. In this guide we'll walk you through how to add a VPN extension in Firefox.

Quick Guide: How to Add a VPN in Firefox

  1. Go to the Firefox Browser Add-ons page.
  2. Search for the VPN extension you want to install.
  3. Select the VPN plugin and click the ‘Add to Firefox’ button.
  4. Launch the VPN from your toolbar and connect to a VPN server.

VPN add-ons for Firefox have many benefits including changing your IP address location, unlocking blocked websites, and concealing your browser traffic. Fully-encrypted VPN add-ons can also protect you from insecure and malicious websites.

This guide explains in detail how to add a VPN add-on in Firefox to enhance the security and privacy of your web browser traffic.

We’ll also show you how to make your Firefox browser more private.

What You’ll Need to Set up a VPN in Firefox

  • The latest version of the Firefox web browser.
  • A free or paid-for VPN subscription (unless you don’t have to log in).
  • Make sure the VPN add-on can run without the main desktop app running alongside it.

Remember, VPN add-ons for Firefox only protect your web browser traffic. If you want to protect your entire device, use full VPN software instead.

Method 1: Set Up a VPN Add-on Directly from Firefox

This is the quickest and easiest method to add a VPN in Firefox. We’ll demonstrate how easy it is using ExpressVPN.

  1. Find the download link for the extension on your VPN service’s website or in the Mozilla add-ons library.

It’s critical you download the VPN service’s legitimate add-on. Fake add-ons aren’t too common, but be wary of them as they may be insecure, even dangerous.

Comparison of real and fake VPN browser add-ons

An example of a fraudulent add-on (left), alongside the real deal (right)

  1. Install the add-on by pressing “Add to Firefox” (or equivalent) on your provider’s page, or press “+ Add” if you’ve found it in the add-on library.
  2. The add-on will appear in the top left of your browser window.
  3. Click the icon to access the VPN or alter any settings. For some add-ons you’ll need to log in. With ExpressVPN you don’t have to log in, but the full application must be running concurrently.

Method 2: Manually Configure a Browser Proxy

If you don’t want to install another add-on on your browser, but do want to run an in-browser proxy, there is an alternative method: manually configuring the proxy.

We have demonstrated this using ibVPN. The method will vary slightly, but not significantly, with other providers:

  1. Click on ‘hamburger menu’ in the top right hand corner of your browser, then select Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and, under Network Settings, click “Settings…”
  3. Tick “Manual proxy configuration”
  4. You will need to find the correct “IP address” and “port” to connect to from your VPN provider.
  5. Enter them into the fields provided, then click “OK”.
  6. If prompted, enter your username and password.

Manual configurations are more complicated than simply adding a VPN extension.

For instance, to change proxy location, you’ll need to repeat the above process. Moreover, you may need to periodically change to a more up-to-date IP address.

How to Uninstall a Firefox VPN Extension

Whether you have moved on from a VPN provider or decided that a browser extension doesn’t provide the same level of protection as a desktop app, uninstalling a VPN extension is quick and easy.

To remove a VPN extension from Firefox simply do the following:

  1. Right click on the extension icon in the top left corner of your browser window.
  2. Select “Remove Extension.”

If you suspect the add-on you have had installed is fake and/or malicious, you might want to Report it first. You can do this by right clicking on its icon and clicking “Report Extension.”

Either way, the extension has now been removed.

Troubleshooting Problems

There are lots of little things which could go wrong with your browser proxy, but thankfully they are generally easy to solve.

Here’s a list of fixes to common issues:

  • Make sure you have a valid subscription. A paid VPN service won’t work unless you subscribe to it.
  • If you are using ExpressVPN, make sure you have the desktop app installed. ExpressVPN’s add-on controls the desktop app, so it won’t work unless they are both installed.
  • Make sure your add-on is legit. There are some fraudulent add-ons posing as legitimate providers. Always make sure you have the correct add-on before you install it or enter any of your personal details.

If all else fails, contact your VPN service provider for assistance.

How to Optimize Your Firefox Browser for Privacy

Your IP address isn’t the only thing that can give your identity away online.

For example, tracking cookies and browser fingerprinting allow advertisers and malicious third parties to track your internet activity.

Luckily, Firefox is one of the more private and secure browsers we’ve tested. However, it still requires some configuration to optimize it for privacy.

First of all, you need to disable telemetry, which Mozilla uses to collect diagnostic information from your browser.

To disable telemetry:

  1. Select the ‘hamburger menu’ in the top right hand corner of your browser window.Hamburger menu which appears in the top right of Firefox
  2. Navigate to Options > Privacy & Security > Firefox Data Collection and Use.
  3. Make sure that every box in this section is unticked.

    How to disable Telemetry in Firefox.

Firefox includes a great feature called Enhanced Tracking Protection.

This feature blocks trackers, cookies, fingerprinting techniques (which can be used to identify you even while a VPN is running), and cryptominers.

To enable Enhanced Tracking Protection:

  1. Select the ‘hamburger menu’ menu in the top right-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Navigate to Options > Privacy & Security > Enhanced Tracking Protection.
  3. Choose your protection mode: strict, standard, or custom.

There are different modes available for different risk models: strict, standard, and custom. In our experience the ‘strict’ mode will break some web pages, but is generally quite stable.

How to enable tracking protection in Firefox.

If you encounter a problem, you can always disable content blocking for specific sites by clicking on the shield symbol to the left of the URL bar.

Finally, you can also change your default search engine from Google to a more private alternative, like DuckDuckGo or Startpage.

To change your default search engine:

  1. Select the settings menu in the top right hand corner of your screen.
  2. Navigate to Preferences > Search > Default Search Engine.
  3. Choose your preferred search engine from the drop-down menu.