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The best thing about Firefox is Mozilla's Multi-Account Container tabs[0].

Essentially it allows you to put different tabs into different light-weight profiles, with their own session, cookies, and state. That means if you want to log into Facebook but don't want Facebook following you online, just give Facebook its own container.

Mozilla has anti-tracking already baked in, but Multi-Account Containers are a whole other level of isolation, but without sacrificing usability (like traditional multi-profile/multi-user browsing).

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account...

They're quite practical even if you don't care about tracking. I have different containers for my work and personal Google accounts and they make things much easier than relying on Google's support for multiple accounts.

They're also great for development. I have different containers for each user I use while working on logged-in flows. I can just go from tab to tab to test different user experiences or switch between users in a multi-user interaction.

This is one of the things I used to like IE for - perhaps the only thing it got better than the competition:

    File | New Session
... and then you have a fresh session context that doesn't share cookies with the others so you can log into services as different users. As a developer this is very handy for testing multi-user workflows, and had numerous uses as a more general user too, and it was easy to do ad-hoc without needing to setup multiple profiles first.

It didn't work for apps that are sensitive to permanent cookies (and other client-side storage) instead if session level options of course, where multiple profiles does (as presumably does Firefoxes containers? - I don't know as I've not yet used them).

That does sound useful. I often end up creating several temporary containers while doing testing and development. The overhead of creating and deleting these is annoying.

That sounds more like incognito mode, no?

Containers keep the cookies and other data, yes, so you don't need to re-login every time you start the browser.

> That sounds more like incognito mode, no?

Yes, but you can have as many active sessions as you need instead of just two.

Incognito/InPrivate/whet-ever-other-browsers-call-the-feature tabs/windows share the same session so that gives you at most two active sessions: normal and incognito.

The "new session" option in IE can have many more. For a lot of workflows two is enough, but sometimes I want something like "a couple of distinct base users, a manager, and an admin" for testing more complex user workflows.

I don't know how edge does incognito but in other browsers, incognito kills the tab history, so if you accidentally close a tab you can't trivially restore it with ctrl+shift+t or whatever.

This is the case in Chrome but not in Firefox (private mode)


I use them so I can be logged in to multiple AWS accounts at the same time - works like a charm!

That's one of my use cases too. It works pretty well when you're actively using multiple accounts. Amazon doesn't preserve the session very long, so I find that most of the time I open one of my AWS containers they're logged out.

I use this extension called SessionBox on Chrome to do exactly this. It gives me different sessions side by side in the same window.

the only thing i miss from containers is a shortcut to open a new tab using current container[0]. it would make usage a lot easier.

[0] https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers/issues/4...

That would be nice. I'd also like the to be able to automatically revert to default container when leaving a site (like the FB container plugin does), to view/manage cookies by container, and to specify more than one container that I like to open sites in so it doesn't bug me about using my default Google container when I open gmail in my work container.

Totally share the love regarding container tabs.

I don't, however, like how the UI/UX is implemented. In particular, the management of containers -- why do I have to dig so deeply to add new containers? Also, as a color-blind person, the slightly colored thin bar above the tab is not a sufficient identifier. It just seems all sort of after-thoughty and jumbled to me.

Having said that, I converted to FF being my primary browser from being a long-time Chrome user and am happy about the change.

It also takes way too many steps to make a site open in a container by default. And there doesn't seem to be any way to manage cookies by container. I'm not even sure what data is showing up in the cookie management preferences page.

>why do I have to dig so deeply to add new containers?

It is actually easy... once you found the option: Long press the "+" / new tab button, and on the bottom of the container list is "manage containers".


Ce soir je me coucherai moins bête.

Really usefull trick but not very discoverable.

Agreed. Container Tabs is fantastic, however the UI needs work. Editing a tab is also pretty awful, you have to navigate to two different areas to tweak all the options.

I wish the addon would sync its container configuration accross Firefox Sync. Setting my containers manually on the multiple computers I use daily is a real pain in the ass.

This. Especially if you use hotkeys for opening container profiles. Since the FireFox UI doesn't allow for container profile reordering in the UI you have to rebuild your profiles in the correct order (because hotkeys are mapped to order of creation based on numeric value) and reselect the appropriate icon and color to match the profile you're used to. Right now containers are not a welcome citizen with regard to Sync. I really enjoy containers but they need to be front and center and a first class citizen in the profile with Sync.

For mobile use container syncing (even just ssyncing which domains go in which container) would make it sooo much easier to protect from tracking.

Firefox for Android is a notable improvement over Chrome, but the add-ons available for it, even simple ones like javascript toggle, are significantly worse. On desktop it retains state for each site, wheread on Android it is a global toggle for all websites.

I keep having Firefox for Android bug out on me and stop rendering the pages - it's really frustrating as it keeps forcing me back to Chrome. Have you ever hit this issue?

Yes, I have had it start mis-rendering with content being partially covered, killing and reopening Firefox fixes it. Firefox for Android needs work, but the add-ons make it a good experience.

No, the best thing about Firefox is Tree Style Tabs https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...

Agreed, I am completely dependent on Tree Style Tabs. I mean, I _could_ live without it, but I really don't want to.

The best thing about FF is about:config. It tunes in to the legacy of Netscape and Amiga where you could and can configure everything to how you like it. This is freedom, unlike chromium.

Sadly there are also 'secret prefs' that are considered so potent that they're not exposed by default in about:config

If you know about them, for example from reading the code, you can create them. So at present about:config is a strange sort of place with lots of knobs but not all of them.

is there a good list of those prefs? or perhaps I can scan source code for some string

Frankly, these secret prefs are basically either:

- prefs that a developer was too lazy to add to the list of pref; or - prefs that serve only during automated tests.

You could scan source code for `Services.prefs` and `nsIPreferenceService` if you really want to find them.

If there's something you really need to configure in Chromium and it's not available as a flag, you can add that feature and submit a pull request. It's an open source project.

Looks like you don't know about chrome://flags/

The thing is, flags in Chrome exist only until Google decides it shouldn't be an option anymore. Then they take the choice away from you. I disabled the material "design" styled themes for as long as I could, until the flag disappeared.

That's not really different for Firefox, there's just a different organization making that decision.

Chrome flags though die out so fast there's virtually no point in exposing them at all, it's disappointing and frustrating almost every release.

Firefox has been killing off features year after year I dont see why you trust them to be better in that regard.

It’s not remotely as complete as about:config


That's just about:about, not an about:config replacement.

I tried to move from Chrome's profiles to Firefox's container tabs. I prefer Chrome's take on it where sessions are shared across all tabs in a window rather than across similarly styled tabs in the same window.

.. I just went to find the github issue for other people with a similar need[0] and found someone has posted a link to an extension called sticky containers. A new tab opens in the same container of the last one. It's actually pretty close to what I'm after..


[0] https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers/issues/3...

Firefox has always had profiles, very much acting like Chrome's, but for some reason they didn't make it easy to use. Navigate to:


Now you can have multiple windows, each window with its own profile and the profile determines everything, from the browser's history to the extensions installed.

I have tried them but it wasn't simple to use multiple profiles at once, nor was it obvious which profile you were using. I felt as though Firefox was discouraging their use. Are you using them?

Here is an article that talks through the steps (on windows but it's similar for others) https://www.howtogeek.com/209320/how-to-set-up-and-use-multi...

I use profiles because I need to test stuff with different extensions.

Before the Quantum release we had a pretty cool extension for managing profiles that is no longer available, sadly:


I hope it gets implemented again.

I now do the "about:profiles" thing I mentioned. I don't know why they aren't exposing Profiles in the UI in an intuitive manner, makes no sense. For my day to day use, I think Multi-Account Containers are better though.

I agree. My biggest problem with it is that extensions are still global.

I have two LastPass accounts. One for work and one for personal use and I cannot use both of them in Firefox

That is the only reason I am not switching

Containers are such a great idea.

My one wish is if you could set a default container. I use FF to browser Facebook primarily and want that to be default, but instead I have to load Firefox then load a container then load Facebook. Wish it were just open FF -> Facebook is homepage.

There is also a Facebook-specific container addon that limits Facebook's footprint even more than the standard container addon (and will work alongside it)


Also with the standard container addon you can specify that sites always open only in your specified container, so you could just set Facebook to always open in its own container that way.

Great... But people still using Facebook?

Thanks this is great!

There is an option called "always open in this container" if you press the menu icon of the container tabs extension

Turns out this doesn't do the thing I'd expect. I set my homepage to Facebook and it doesn't load the container.

Eh, back to my former opinion - Containers are great, Containers UX needs work.

Ah great! I guess this was added more recently, I hadn't seen it before.

Configure Facebook to always use it's own container

So at work we have a jenkins instance, which uses github (on prem) OAuth to sign in, and it logs you out after a very short period of inactivity. Except that jenkins or the way we have it configured or the way we have the reverse proxy in front of it configured is buggy, so sometimes when you try to log back in, you are just redirected to the front page, and you're still not logged in. To workaround this, I had to clean out my browser cache + cookies + other bits of history whenever this happened in order to log in.

Your comment just gave me the idea to: install the container tabs plugin, tell the plugin to always open our Jenkins site in the "Jenkins" container, and then when the bug happens, I can "clear cookies etc" on that container, without destroying my history and login sessions in the rest of my tabs.

After playing around with it for 5 minutes, it seems you can't clear cookies on a container basis. Also apparently only cookies are isolated, but other bits of history aren't. So this might not work. Alas. I almost found a solution. I did find that ctrl-shift-del opens a clear history popup though, instead of going through that wretched menu.

Try the extension Cookie AutoDelete: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookie-autode...

It doesn't clear cache but it will automatically delete any cookies when you close a tab or when you change the domain. That might do what you need, when you use it in conjunction with Containers.

Would clearing cookies and cache work?

On Chrome, theres an option to list cookies for a site by clicking on that padlock to left of site url, so quicker way of clearing cookies for your Jenkins site. Maybe FF has similar setup.

Then hard refresh browser should clear cache I think (ctr/cmd + shift + r on any system or ctr + f5 on windows).

Thanks, it seems firefox has the same feature on the padlock. Otherwise, from the other comments here, I might be able to try one of these two to help in conjunction with containers:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookie-autode... https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/session-boss/

I can't switch to Chrome since I can't live without tree style tabs anymore. I've become dependent.

disclaimer: I have no idea what jenkins is.

If you're okay with using chrome: create another profile and only use it for jenkins, in fact, set up a shortcut that opens it in app/kiosk mode and maybe see if there's a commandline flag to clear all history every time you open it, that way all you need to do is click the shortcut and everything else happens in the background and it doesn't affect the rest of your browsing exp.

Container is great. I have to toot my own honk. The addon Session Boss supports container seamlessly. I have multiple GMail accounts that I put in different containers with their own logon and cookies. Session Boss saves the tabs and containers in a session and easily restore them the next time I need them.

Chrome has this too. I doubt its effectiveness as there are ways to fingerprint your browser without using cookies/sessions

Chrome doesn't have this. You cannot run tabs in different contexts in Chrome side by side.

Both additional profiles and incognito browsing open a different window, with its own settings.

The Chrome additional profile feature has also become a lot more confusing and less useful with the auto-sign-in-change debacle, alas.

Which may actually be what pushes me to FF. Not out of spite, just that I was counting on Chrome profiles for this purpose, but they've gotten a lot harder for me to use for that (and were never as good as FF's multi-container thing, it sounds like).

I use SessionBox ext in chrome to achieve this.

Exactly! unless they make different seed for each WebGL random (which used in fingerprinting) I don't see the point. Plus, they have your IP (or your VPN's), so at most you make your profile less specific, but never "isolated".

This has been a first-class Chrome feature for years, for whatever it's worth.

That isn't the case.

Chrome supports multiple profiles. Mozilla's Multi-Account Container tabs isn't multiple profits. It is multiple isolated containers running under the same profile, in the same browser window.

A closer analogy would be if Chrome allowed each tab to have its own profile, rather than each window, and for each one to be lighter weight than a full profile.

Your sibling comment pointed out the same thing. Other than having 2 tabs in the same window with 2 different sets of cookies, which is something I never want (but you might), is there anything Firefox's feature gets me that Chrome's feature doesn't?

A single set of extensions and bookmarks.

With Chrome, even if you manually sync your profiles and keep the same set of extensions installed in both profiles, it runs 2 processes of the same extension. Even when the second profile window is closed.

But for me the deal breaker was managing a separate set of bookmarks.

Beyond minimizing being tracked everywhere you browse, separate environments for office, personal, and client accounts — Google, Fb, IG, LinkedIn, Twitter, PayPal, banks, brokers — are useful in many cases.

daveFNbuck writes [0]:

“They're also great for development. I have different containers for each user I use while working on logged-in flows. I can just go from tab to tab to test different user experiences or switch between users in a multi-user interaction.”

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18625491

Firefox has also supported multiple profiles since forever.

I believe it! I didn't mean to suggest that Firefox was less capable here.

Firefox hasn't supported running multiple profiles simultaneously forever, though I understand that it's possible now. That's actually party oh what got me on chrome originally--I could have my school profile open at the same time as my goofing-off profile and pretend to be researching while I played flash games, yet not showing any of that in my history.

Firefox has supported running multiple profiles simultaneously since before Chrome ever existed - I used them. Chrome was first released in 2008, and here's an article about Firefox's multiple instances from 2007: http://turbulentsky.com/how-to-run-multiple-firefox-profiles....

Multiple profiles in Chrome is super useful, but it doesn't work at the tab level, does it? Just at the window level? Not that that's a fundamental change, but it's a nice usability bump

True, but that for me is a feature (I almost always want new tabs to open in the same container; for instance, when reviewing a Github PR and clicking through to see context).

But from a privacy UX perspective, both Chrome and Firefox accommodate this use case gracefully.

It sounds like you already know this, but for anyone else reading, tabs inherit the container of the tab that opened them (aside from special cases like Facebook Container, which trigger based on the domain).

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