Firefox: Add the favicon back to the urlbar

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 4, 2012
Firefox, Firefox add-ons, Image

With Firefox 14 came a change to the browser's address bar that many Firefox users did not agree with. Mozilla removed the favicon from the browser's address bar to block malicious sites from making favicons look like secure connection icons. Another reason for the move was that Mozilla felt that displaying favicons both in the address bar and in the browser tab was redundant.

The move was highly controversial, and if you look through the comments on the page that is linked above, you will notice that many Firefox users are fed up with Mozilla's drive to change the user interface of the browser regularly.  They feel that the browser lacks consistency in this regard, and that Mozilla is making too many changes to the browser core.

Site Favicon in Urlbar is a Firefox add-on that restores favicons into the browser's address bar. Once you have installed the add-on in the browser you will notice that favicons are displayed again in the urlbar next to the security icon.

firefox with favicons

But that's not the only feature that the restartless add-on is making available. If you want, you can modify the default icon for sites that do not have a favicon, or hide the globe icon or security padlock icon in the browser. While I would not recommend removing the padlock icon, I can't really see a reason to not remove the globe icon from the address bar, especially since you can now click on the favicon instead to get the same information popup.

That's still not all it offers though. If you want, you can highlight all secure connections further in the address bar. The add-on distinguishes between verified identities, domains and unknown identities here, and will paint the background in different colors.

highlight secure connections

Add-ons come once again to the rescue of the browser and it is likely that this add-on will be fairly popular once it makes the rounds.


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  1. Threshold said on August 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Yes Martin I did and it still didn’t work so I installed it from the developer site.

    The funny thing is that the install icon is green for a millisecond while the page load and if i am quick enough it warns me that the addon is not for my browser but lets me install it.


  2. jasray said on August 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Conflicts with Favicon Picker 2; if Favicon is installed, Site Favicon will make browser show dotted square; uninstall Favicon Picker 2 and the square box will show the page favicon as it should. An either/or choice.

  3. jasray said on August 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Found–No favicon at all when installed; conflict with Favicon Picker 2. Once Favicon Picker 2 is uninstalled, then site favicons began appearing.

  4. PixelWizard said on August 6, 2012 at 3:02 am


    When I referred to the WOT add-on I was mistaken. I actually have the LinkExtend add-on, which includes WOT and several similar rating services among its options for calculating a site risk rating.

    Leaving the LinkExtend toolbar disabled, all I see is its nice – small – toolbar button: a color coded icon with a dropdown for more detail if needed. Further detail never does seem necessary.!

  5. PixelWizard said on August 6, 2012 at 2:32 am

    As some may conclude from the variety of comments here, the purpose of the site identity box/button/icon system seems to have gotten obliterated by how complicated it became.

    I don’t see what good it does me to know some of those mysterious details, when mostly I have no substitutes to choose from anyway; I either will or won’t open any given message in Gmail; I either will or won’t visit a particular Cnet page… regardless of who owns the domain or what identity it has or whatever the proper terminology of the week may be.

    How naive of me to have ever thought that if I’m on an ‘https’ page, that makes it relatively safe. For years and years, that was the only distinction I was paying attention to.

    Sorry BobbyPhoenix, neither your nor anyone else’s explanation of the whole shebang makes enough sense to my aging brain. So I am choosing to disable that entire site identity button – the colors, the globe icon, the possible lock and un-lock symbol, blah blah blah.

    Meanwhile I still have the WOT add-on and Avast’s WebRep feature giving some type of very user friendly (i.e., simplified) guidance about sites – plus Avast (or whatever similar program others may have) will intervene if I attempt to visit a truly nasty page.

    This is how I disabled my confusion: a script installed in Scriptish (or the same script can go into Greasemonkey). It’s labeled for Firefox 14 but is working perfectly in 15.0beta3. The script can be user edited if desired to display less or more blank space – the default was 4 pixels – to the left of the URL text in the now-cleaned-up URL box.

    It’s here

    Happy surfing.

  6. jasray said on August 6, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Hmmm, now I don’t any favicons in tabs or in the URL bar–just a square dotted box. Removal doesn’t fix. Anyone have an idea where the setting might be in about:config?

  7. Threshold said on August 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Martin the addon is greyed out and it doesn’t let me install it saying it’s not available for Firefox 13.

    Apart that I am on 16 this is the first time that I am blocked to install an addon.
    They will tell you it’s not compatible but not block installation.

    Anybody else experienced this?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      The add-on is available for Firefox 14 and higher. Feels strange that your Firefox 16 version is identified as Firefox 13. Have you tried right-clicking, saving and installing manually?

  8. ódio said on August 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    for what the “unknownIdentity Background” refers? I put it on Red and my Gmais is on Red color.

    1. BobbyPhoenix said on August 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      Unknown Identity means it does not know who runs the site. If you click on the padlock when you first get to your inbox you will see the domain (, but it is run by “unknown” (my color is yellow as I set to identify domains by yellow). This is the known domain, but identity is unknown. Then if you click on an email, and click on the Gmail icon you will see it shows nothing is known (this is red for me as I set unknown to be red like you). This is the way Gmail works. Even if you use HTTPS: all the time like me. Now if you try say PayPal, it will show as green for me, and if I click on the padlock, it says domain as, and run by Paypal, Inc. I’m not 100% sure, but I think you will only see green, and identified with both domain and name on secure financial sites like your bank, credit cards, or Paypal.

      1. ódio said on August 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

        thanks for the reply!
        crazy thing, now its Blue (verifiedDomain)

  9. Marius said on August 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    To tell you the truth,I don’t really cared that much about the favicon anyway!And I still don’t care!

  10. Leslie said on August 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    What I really cannot stand is that I am having to install addons just to get back what I consider to be my mandatory minimum requirements.

    Is there a fork anywhere that looks like Firefox 3.x yet is uptodate in terms of performance/security ?

  11. BobbyPhoenix said on August 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Sorry I stand corrected. I thought I had the check for hide globe. It wasn’t. Now it is, and it’s gone. Thanks for asking. If not I wouldn’t have given it a second look. I really like this add-on. Not just for the icon, but the ability to choose your own colors for safety. :-)

  12. BobbyPhoenix said on August 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    The globe stays with 15b3 too. I just wanted to try it really, so it’s not a big deal for me since it is kind of overkill anyway. I mean you still have the icon in the tab itself, so duplicating it in the address bar isn’t needed. At least for me.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      I do not see the globe at all in Nightly after deactivating it. Can you provide me with the url of a site where you still see it displayed?

      1. Tom said on August 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

        No such problems with Gmail here, either.

      2. PixelWizard said on August 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm

        Sorry, I immediately removed the add-on. BTW this is Fx 15.0beta3.

        But here is at least the Gmail scenario: access Gmail inbox (no URL globe). Right-click on a Gmail ‘folder’ to open it in a new tab (URL globe shows).

        There were some (not all) other, non-Gmail sites with UR: globes showing too – but as I said, I removed the add-on and am not willing to retry it.

        I tried disabling/re-enabling the relevant option, restarting the browser, etc. Failed.

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm

        Tried Gmail and the globe did not show, very strange.

  13. OSS said on August 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Works pretty fine and the globe icon does get hidden properly. Tested with the latest firefox install (14.1):

  14. PixelWizard said on August 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Would be an admirable add-on except the ‘Hide Globe icon’ option malfunctions.

    Despite the option being checked, the globe still appears for some tabs and not others; in one case the two tabs are pages from the same site (Gmail)!

    Sigh. Getting rid of that globe was the #1 reason I wanted to use this.

  15. bastik said on August 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I guess I remained silent for quite some time here…

    Why didn’t the FF devs gave the choice to the users? The https:// doesn’t look as secure as it did before. For me that’s bad. At least I hope people did not felt too secure after all.

    I have to look twice to see if it’s https:// or not.

  16. kalmly said on August 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Takes a ton of add-ons – I admit there are many really good ones – to make FF a decent browser. Makes me appreciate Opera that much more.

    1. Paul said on August 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      The customization is what makes Firefox best choice for experienced to professional users. For users with basic knowledge of computers and casual users (like you) there is a ton of other browsers available.

      1. anony said on August 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

        Spoken like a true ignorance mass. Guess you’ve tried Opera for like 5 minutes and deem it not worthy cos it doesn’t behave like FF that you gotten so used to.

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