How to Use Firefox Privacy & Security Preferences

Configure security and permission settings in the Firefox web browser

Mozilla Firefox gives you the option to customize security and permissions settings for all websites as well as for individual sites you visit. For example, you can block certain content, delete cookies, and limit the information Firefox collects. Learn how to manage permissions in Firefox and how to grant a site special permissions.

Information in this article applies to the desktop version of Firefox for all operating systems.

How to Access Firefox Privacy and Security Settings

Before you begin, be sure to update Firefox to the latest version so that you have access to the latest features. To find the privacy and security settings, enter about:preferences#privacy into the Firefox address bar. You'll arrive at the Privacy & Security screen, which is divided into four major sections.

About commands in Firefox provide shortcuts to various browser preferences and settings menus.

Firefox Browser Privacy

In this section, you can choose the level of protection you want against potentially dangerous content. Choose Standard, Strict, or Custom, which lets you choose what to block and to what extent. You can also choose how Firefox saves your browsing history, cookies, passwords, and auto-fill information.

To further customize the content-blocking settings, select Exceptions under the Logins and Passwords section to create a list of websites that aren’t allowed to save your username and password.

The Exceptions option in Firefox settings

Firefox Permissions

Under Permissions, you can turn off location tracking, block access to your microphone, and control how you receive notifications. Each item in this section can be modified to change the settings and add exceptions. For example, select Settings next to Camera to tell Firefox what to do if a website asks to access your camera.

You'll also see options to block certain content like pop-up windows and websites that try to automatically play audio or install add-ons. Select Exceptions next to each option to grant special permissions to specific sites.

Camera settings in Firefox

Firefox Data Collection and Use

This section tells Firefox how to handle sensitive and private information. Review Mozilla’s privacy notice to decide whether you want to send technical information and crash reports to Mozilla and allow Firefox to recommend extensions to improve your browsing experience.

The Firefox Data Collection and Use section of Firefox Privacy & Security

Firefox Security

In the final section, you can configure how Firefox handles potentially dangerous or deceptive content on the websites you visit. Firefox protects against phishing and other types of attacks with its Phishing and Malware Protection feature, which checks the pages you visit against a list of sites known to be malicious.

You can also choose how Firefox handles web certificates. A web server certificate is a guarantee that the owner of the site is legitimate. If a site prompts you for your personal certificate, the site may want to collect personal information from you or establish a secure connection with your browser (you can tell if the URL begins with https).

The Security section of Firefox Privacy & Security

There are many other steps you can take to secure Firefox, such as installing the HTTPS Everywhere add-on.

Firefox Control Center

To use different settings on a particular website, go to the Firefox Control Center. To find the Control Center, go to any website and select the shield to the left URL in the address bar to open a menu with specific controls for that page.

If you configured content blocking in the Privacy & Security settings, you’ll see whether the site has the ability to track you, or if it contains content that Firefox has blocked. To change these settings, select Protection Settings.

The shield button and Protection Settings in Firefox

Website Connection Security and Permissions

When a site is secure, a padlock icon appears in the address bar. If a site isn't secure (for example, the site owner's certificate has expired), you'll see an i icon instead of a padlock.

To find more information about a site’s security, select the padlock next to the URL in the address bar, then select the right arrow next to Connection secure. A new window will display the website's owner as well as the certification authority that issued and verified the site certificate. If you want to set special permissions for the website you’re on, select Permissions.

The security icon and connection details button in Firefox