How to Turn On HTTPS-Only Mode in Mozilla Firefox

Firefox logo on a purple background

Mozilla Firefox’s HTTPS mode provides additional online privacy and security. When enabled, Firefox will try to load only encrypted HTTPS websites. If only HTTP is available, Firefox will not load the unencrypted website without prompting you.

Why is HTTPS important?

the secure HTTPS protocol is the fundamental method for maintaining privacy and security on the web. It sets up an encrypted connection between your browser and the web server that prevents third parties from listening to or tampering with the data sent between you and the site you are browsing.

Unfortunately, not all sites support HTTPS, and some that do may fall back to unencrypted HTTP versions of a site if you visit them through an HTTP link (such as instead. from https: // – note the missing “s” in the address).

From Mozilla Firefox version 83, which was released on November 16, 2020, you can enable HTTPS mode only. Firefox will automatically attempt to load the HTTPS version of a website even if you visit the site through a link to an unencrypted HTTP address. If any of them aren’t available, you’ll need to provide explicit permission before Firefox loads an HTTP page. Here’s how to activate this option.

RELATED: What is HTTPS and why should I care?

How to enable HTTPS only mode in Firefox

First, open Firefox and click on the hamburger button (three horizontal lines) in any Firefox window. From the menu that appears, select “Options” on Windows and Linux or “Preferences” on a Mac.

Point: If you are not running Firefox version 83 or higher, you will need to update Firefox to use the HTTPS Mode function only. To manually check for updates, click the Firefox menu, then select Help> About Firefox. Then click on the “Update Firefox” button.

RELATED: How to update Mozilla Firefox

In the “Options” or “Preferences” tab, click on “Privacy and Security” in the sidebar menu.

On the “Browser privacy” preferences page, scroll down and find the “HTTPS mode only” section. Click the radio button next to “Enable HTTPS only mode in all windows” to select it. (You also have the choice to enable HTTPS only mode in private windows only, so select it instead if you prefer.)

After that, close the Options tab and the change will take effect immediately. If you visit a website through an unencrypted HTTP link that supports HTTPS, you will automatically be redirected to the encrypted HTTPS version of the site.

What happens if a site doesn’t support HTTPS?

If you visit a site with HTTPS-only mode enabled and the site does not support HTTPS, you will see an error page similar to this one.

With HTTPS only mode enabled in Firefox, you will see this error message if you visit a non-HTTPS website.

Also, if you visit a site that is only partially HTTPS secure, that is, it pulls unencrypted material into the secure page, it may not display correctly in HTTPS only mode. activated.

Either way, Mozilla has provided a quick way to temporarily turn off HTTPS-only mode. To do this, click on the lock icon next to the website address in the URL bar.

In Firefox, click the lock icon next to the website address.

In the menu that appears, click the drop-down menu under “HTTPS Only Mode” and choose “Temporarily Disable” to temporarily disable HTTPS only mode.

Otherwise, if you want to permanently disable HTTPS-only mode for that particular site, select “Disabled” from the list. Firefox will remember these settings individually for each website.

After that, you will be able to view the site as usual. If the site is upgraded to fully support HTTPS, you can re-enable HTTPS-only mode for the site by using the same menu option hidden under the web address lock icon. Good navigation!

Web browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are encourage websites to abandon HTTP for more secure HTTPS connections. It’s likely that Firefox’s HTTPS mode will one day become the default option, improving online privacy and security, and further encouraging website owners to switch to HTTPS.

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