Multi-Account Containers is a Firefox add-on by Mozilla designed to help users define and separate their browsing sessions into distinct contexts called “Containers.” This feature was first introduced in Firefox Nightly and then went on to be a Test Pilot experiment before being released as an add-on for all Firefox users.
Containers provide immense privacy and security benefits since each context has its own dedicated storage area for cookies, localStorage, and caches, and this data is not shared with other Containers. This helps to prevent a lot of the tracking that happens today.
It also helps you organise your browsing sessions in a visual manner. For example, you could keep your work-related activities in one Container and personal accounts in another.
An added benefit is that since Container data are isolated from each other, you no longer need to use multiple web browsers to sign into different accounts on the same service. This can easily be done by opening a different Container context for each account.
This feature also helps users access services without being tracked incessantly. For example, you could sign into Gmail in one Container and search Google or YouTube in another where you are not signed into your Google account which prevents your searches from being linked to your Google account.
Using Containers: the basics
To get Multi-Account Containers in Firefox, head over to the add-on page and click the “Add to Firefox” button to install it.
Once installed, a new icon will be added to your browser toolbar. Clicking the icon will walk you through an overview of what Containers are and how they work before presenting you with four default Container contexts to get you started: Personal, Work, Banking and Shopping.
Clicking on any one of them will open a new Container tab which is color coded so you will be able to see the different Containers at a glance.
Container tabs just work as you might expect, except that site preferences, cookies and other data are not shared with any other Containers as mentioned previously.
Several more ways to create Container tabs are listed below.
In the menu bar go to “File -> New Container tab” and select the desired container tab.
Press and hold the new tab button
If you press and hold the “+” button on the new tab page, then click the Container you want from the popup that appears.
Open links in new Container tabs
By default, if you open a link in a new tab, it will open in the same container as its parent tab.
If you want to open a link in a different Container tab, simply right-click the link and select “Open link in New Container Tab,” then choose the desired Container from the list.
Always open sites in a specific container
A very useful feature of Multi-Account Containers is the ability to always open a website in a specific container. To do so, right-click inside the Container tab, highlight Firefox Multi-Account Containers, then click “Always open in this container.”
A confirmation prompt is loaded the next time you open the website. Check the “Remember my decision for this website” checkbox to confirm this operation.
Subsequently, the website will always be opened in the specified container even if you enter the URL in any of the other containers or even the default container.
Create custom Container contexts
You can easily create additional containers by clicking the Containers icon on the browser toolbar, then click the “+” icon on the bottom of the popup. Enter a name for the container, followed by the color and an icon, and then click “OK.”
Containers are one of the most innovative features in browsers that happen to be unique to Firefox. While this article has demonstrated some of its main features, there are many more ways in which Containers can be used, and other add-ons will also be able to take advantage of the new APIs to do more interesting things with container contexts.
Give Firefox Multi-Account Containers a try and let us know your take in the comments section below.