Add-ons

Sideloading add-ons

You may want to send a user your add-on’s XPI file by some means other than a web download, such as an email distribution of a beta version for user testing. In this case, there are two practical options for installing the add-on:

  • Using Install Add-on From File in the Add-on manager.
  • Adding the file to one of the standard extension folders.

No automatic updates will be performed for add-ons installed using these methods. You will have to deliver a new XPI file to your user for each update. However, automatic compatibility checks are still performed.

Preparing your add-on

Regardless of the sideloading method used, you must prepare the add-on as follows:

  1. Ensure the add-on includes an ID, by adding the following to its manifest.json file, replacing your-add-on-name@your-domain.com with a suitable ID for your add-on:
    "applications": {
      "gecko": {
        "id": "your-add-on-name@your-domain.com"
      }
    }
    
    An email address style ID is recommended.
  2. Sign the add-on in addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Depending on how you want to make your add-on available, you can use either the unlisted (if you are distributing the add-on exclusively) or listed options. For more details, see Signing and distributing your add-on.

Using Install Add-on From File

To use Install Add-on From File in Add-on manager, send the user the signed add-on with the following instructions:

  1. Save the add-on file to a suitable location on your computer.
  2. In Firefox, open the Firefox menu Firefox browser menu button and click Add-ons.
  3. From the settings cog, open Install Add-on From File:
    Add-on Manager utilities cog
  4. Browse to and open the file from the location where it was saved.
  5. When prompted click Add:
    Message asking user to confirm the installation of the add-on
  6. The add-on will now appear in the add-on manager’s list of installed add-ons and be ready to use:
    After installation the add-on is listed in the add-on manager

Installation using the standard extension folders

This method of add-on installation involves copying the add-on into one of the standard extension folders on the user's computer. Once copied, the next time Firefox launches the add-on will be installed. By default, the user will be asked to approve the installation, and if the user approves, the add-on will be installed and automatically loaded for subsequent launches. If the user has more than one Firefox profile, the approval and installation will occur on the next launch of each profile. For details on controlling whether the user is prompted to approve the installation, see  Controlling automatic installation.

Rename your XPI file

To use this method, your XPI file must be named using the add-on or application ID, as set in Preparing your add-on. The signed add-on file you downloaded from AMO will be named something like borderify-1.0-an+fx.xpi (see Signing and distributing your add-on for more details), change this to, for example, borderify@example.com.xpi.

If you are developing an add-on for Firefox you can use an extension proxy file to install an add-on without copying the files over to the standard extensions folders.

Add the add-on XPI file to a standard extensions folder.

In what follows {ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384} is the application ID of Firefox.  

The standard installation of Firefox disables the automatic installation of add-ons from these locations (see Controlling automatic installation). As a result, the process for each of the methods described below is as follows:

  • Copy the renamed XPI file to the extensions folder for Windows, OSX, or Linux as appropriate. Note that, depending on the desktop OS and its settings, the user may need administrator permission to complete this action.
  • Close and restart Firefox.
  • Depending on the OS and version of Firefox one of the the following will happen:
    • The install will happen silently, and the user will need to open add-on manager and enable the add-on:
      An add-on is installed but disabled
      To enable the add-on, the user will need to click Enable.
    • An interstitial message will be displayed:
      An interstitial warning about the installation of the add-on
      To install the add-on, the user will need to check Allow this installation and click Continue.
  • The add-on is now installed.

For more details on the interstitial and silent installs, see Controlling automatic installation.

To uninstall the add-on, close Firefox and remove the add-on from the location where it was added.

Windows

To install the add-on for a user of the computer, copy the XPI file to:

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Extensions{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}\

If this folder does not exist, create it. You can also identify the current user’s path with the %appdata% system variable.

Note: To install an add-on for all users of a Windows computer, see Installation using the Windows registry.

OSX

To install an add-on for use by all Firefox profiles and all users, copy the XPI file to the global extension folder located in Library. If this folder doesn't exist, you will need to create it.

/Library/Application Support/Mozilla/Extensions/{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}/

To install an add-on for a specific user, copy the XPI file to the user's local Library:

~/Library/Application Support/Mozilla/Extensions/{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}/

Linux

To install an add-on for use by all users, copy the XPI file to:

/usr/lib/Mozilla/extensions/{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}/

Or...

/usr/lib64/Mozilla/extensions/{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}/

Or...

/usr/share/Mozilla/extensions/{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}/

To install an add-on for a specific user, copy the XPI file to:

~/.Mozilla/extensions/{ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}/

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: rebloor
 Last updated by: rebloor,