Browser extensions are available for all major browsers. They add or improve functionality of the browser or websites you visit. Some extensions are made by the website's owners, while many others are made by the website's users. There's also extensions which work across the web and are created either by a website or a third-party developer.
All extensions aim to help users solve problems they're having on a single website or multiple websites. They range from productivity to fun extensions, meaning there's usually at least one extension for everyone out there. Even casual web users will typically have at least one extension installed.
Where to find extensions
Extensions are listed in each browser's official extension store. These stores show approved extensions which have to pass verification and comply with store policies. Some vendors have higher quality standards or better processes than others, meaning the quality of extensions in each store will vary. Even within a single store, there can be lower quality extensions which made it through the cracks. Overall, most extensions are high quality.
Determine extension quality
Low-quality extensions will often have 1 or 2 star ratings, typos in the name, or promise impossible things in the title or description. Use common sense and get help from a knowledgable friend or family member if in doubt or have difficulty identifying low-quality extensions. They can teach you how to find great extensions, and once you've learned there's no turning back on using high-quality extensions.
High-quality extensions will often have 3, 4, or 5 star ratings, clear names and descriptions, professional websites, and deliver on the promises they make.
Install browser extensions
Once you know where to find extensions (in the browser's official extension store), and know how to determine extension quality, you can install browser extensions. The extension stores make it easy to install extensions. Once you've found the extension you want to install, you can click an "Add" or "Install" button on the page. There typically is a confirmation prompt.
Some extensions will ask for specific permissions in the confirmation prompt which you should review carefully. Ensure the permissions are consistent with the extension's description and promised functionality. If you notice any discrepancy, don't install the extension. If all seems okay, install the extension.
Many extensions will open a new tab or a small window to help you get started using it. Others require you to press on the extension icon, or visit the website the extension promised to work on. For example, if an extension only works in
example.com, you may need to go to
example.com before the extension works.
Other ways to install extensions
Trustworthy websites (such as ours) will always link users to the browser's official extension store to install an extension. This is the expected way to send users from a marketing website to the extension store.
Beware of other ways to install extensions which are not from the browser's official extension store. If you try to install an extension directly from an untrusted website, the browser will typically prevent the installation. In any case, do not install software from untrusted websites. Websites can advertise extensions, but they should always link to the official extension store website.
Last updated on January 22, 2021