How to Use Firefox Privacy & Security Preferences

Configure security and permission settings in the Firefox web browser

Firefox browser logo

Sean Martell / Wikimedia Commons

Mozilla Firefox gives you the ability to set security and permissions for all websites as well as for individual websites you visit. These settings include the ability to block content while you browse; use cookies, save your passwords, and auto-fill forms; set permissions for location and camera use; limit the extent to which Firefox can collect information about you; and how to handle dangerous content.

Firefox Privacy & Security

To find the privacy and security settings, open the Firefox browser, go to the address bar, type about:preferences#privacy, and press Enter. In Privacy & Security, you’ll see four major sections.

Learn to use "About" commands in Firefox on Lifewire.

Browser Privacy

In this section, you tell Firefox at what level to protect against potentially dangerous content. Choose Standard (the default settings), Strict, or Custom (choose what you want to block and to what extent). Here, you also determine whether you want Firefox to track your browsing history (the sites you visit), store cookies, save passwords, and auto-fill forms on the sites you visit.

The Browser Privacy section of Firefox Privacy & Security

Permissions

Configure general settings for location tracking, camera and microphone use, and whether and how you receive notifications.

The Permissions section of Firefox Privacy & Security

Firefox Data Collection and Use

This section specifically tells Firefox how to handle your sensitive and private information. Access Mozilla’s Privacy Notice to decide whether to send technical information and crash reports (which Firefox generates when the browser suddenly quits on a website) to Mozilla and allow Firefox to recommend extensions to improve your browsing experience.

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

Security

In the Security section, configure how Firefox handles potentially dangerous or deceptive content on the websites you visit, such as downloads and uncommon software. You can also configure what Firefox should do if the server running a website you’re visiting requests your personal certificate.

Each setting in these areas has a corresponding button that you click to add exceptions or further fine-tune your security. For example, click Settings beside Camera to tell Firefox what to do if a website asks to access your camera. Or, click Exceptions beside Ask to save logins and passwords for websites to create a list of websites that aren’t allowed to save your username and password.

Learn how to secure Firefox on Lifewire.

The Security section of Firefox Privacy & Security

Firefox Control Center

If you want to use different settings on a particular website, go to the Firefox Control Center comes. To find the Control Center, go to any website and select the "i" in a circle icon before the URL in the address bar. When you click that icon on any web page, a menu opens with specific controls for that page.

Control Center icon and window

Connection Security

On each website you visit, the Firefox address bar shows a padlock icon that indicates whether the site is secure. If you want more information about the site’s security, select the Control Center icon. Select the arrow next to Connection to access the Site Security window and view the website’s owner and which certification authority issued and verified the site’s certificate.

Site Security and padlock icon

Content Blocking

If you configured content blocking in Privacy & Security, then when you click the Control Center icon on a website, you’ll see whether the site has the ability to track you or contains content that Firefox has blocked. If you want to change the Content Blocking settings for this site, select Custom (the gear icon).

Content Blocking in Control Center

Permissions

If you want to set special permissions for the website you’re on, Permissions is the place to do it. To adjust the settings, select the gear icon beside Permissions. This displays the Permissions section of Privacy & Security, where you can make site-specific choices for your location, camera, and pop-up windows.

Permissions in Control Center

Surf Safely

The Firefox browser is your key to the World Wide Web. By configuring security and privacy settings in Privacy & Security and making site-specific changes in Control Center, you can surf the Web in safety.