What Is Firefox?

By Tom Gresham

Firefox is a web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in California in 2003. Web browsers are software applications that Internet users employ to view pages online. Firefox consistently ranks as one of the two most-used browsers on the Internet, along with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to W3Schools.com, a technology website.

Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation was formed as a global community intent on transparency, innovation and opportunity on the Internet. Mozilla's products, including Firefox, are the result of collaboration between thousands of volunteers from around the world and Mozilla's small staff. Firefox is often also called "Mozilla Firefox." Before 2005, Mozilla's Web browser was simply called "Mozilla." The Mozilla Foundation owns the Mozilla Corporation, a subsidiary that directs the creation and distribution of Firefox and other Mozilla products.

Awesome Bar

The features of the Firefox browser include the "Awesome Bar," which is the Firefox term for the browser's location bar, the space where a website's address is displayed. The Firefox location bar shows possible sites for users to visit as they type characters into the space, basing results on a user's previous Internet history with Firefox. Users do not need to type in address terms. Simple words or phrases will yield site results that are likely matches.

Customization

Firefox particularly measures up well against other browsers in the area of customization, according to CNET.com. This customization allows Firefox users to personalize their browser settings. Users can move or hide buttons and icons on the browser interface that appears when online. They also can manage their bookmarks. For users who keep many websites open at a time, the Firefox browser has a number of options for managing multiple sites' tabs. This includes organizing favorite sites' tabs into tab groups and giving sites that users keep open perpetually a permanent spot on the browser above the location bar.

Security and Speed

Speed and security are two of the main factors users consider when choosing a browser. According to CNET.com, the Firefox browser operates at similar speeds to other top browsers, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. Firefox has a number of security features, including private browsing, which protects your browsing history; a do-not-track option, which alerts sites that you do not want your online behavior data accessed; and various protections for preventing cyber-attacks while online.