How to download full versions of the Firefox web browser

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 8, 2012
Updated • Aug 10, 2015

Mozilla is currently preparing a web installer for the Firefox web browser that will be offered to interested users on the browser's main download pages instead of the full version download of the browser. The intention here is to make things simpler for interested users as they do not have to make sure anymore to pick the right version of the browser for download. The web installer ensures that users always download the latest version of the browser to their system. When 64-bit versions of Firefox become generally available, the installer will also ensure that the correct version is installed on the system.

A web installer has disadvantages, like requiring an Internet connection during installation, which may be a problematic thing when you want to install Firefox on a system without permanent or slow Internet connection.

If you open the Firefox Beta download page right now, you will notice that Mozilla is offering the web installer here on the main download page. Firefox Beta Stub Installer.exe has a size of 217 Kilobytes right now. It may come as a surprise that the first screen that you see when you run the installer highlights that it is the Nightly Setup and not a Beta installer.

firefox full version download

firefox web installer

It feels kinda strange that the web installer has only been made available for the beta version, and not the Nightly or Aurora versions of the browser prior to that. That, and the fact that the installer spawns a Nightly setup is a strong indicator that Mozilla may have messed up here.

Update: A quick test reveals that this is indeed the beta installer, and that Mozilla failed to replace Nightly with Beta in the installer. It is not recommended to run the installer on a system where a Nightly version of Firefox is installed on, as it may downgrade that version to Firefox Beta during installation.

Firefox full version downloads

The question remains how you can download full versions of Firefox instead if you prefer that. Mozilla has stated that they won't replace the full version download with web installers, so that both web installers and offline installers will be offered on the website.

As it stands now, and remember that this can change in the future, you have got two options to download full versions of Firefox instead of the web installer.

Your first option is the Systems & Languages link displayed underneath the download button on the Firefox download page.

firefox system languages

A click opens a list of all localized Firefox versions for all supported operating systems. These link to the full versions of the web browser and not the web installer.

The second option is the Mozilla archive website where you can download full versions of Firefox as well. The link leads to stable downloads of Firefox. If you want beta, aurora or nightly downloads, navigate to the appropriate directory on the ftp server.

Update 2: Web installers and full offline installers for Firefox's Nightly version are available here.


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  1. Scott said on October 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    The direct-download links I posted always point to the current versions (you can also tell by the URLs themselves; they’re very generic, with no version numbers or dates).

  2. Richard Steven Hack said on October 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Seriously irritating. Hopefully they will make the full version download EASILY FOUND on their Web page. Google does NOT do this and it’s a royal PITA to get the full install version of Chrome. I had to search for a Google forum page that lists the full download links.

    PC tech support people need FULL downloads, not Web installers.

    For some reason, developers get dumber as their software gets older…

    1. Scott said on October 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      I agree – full downloads are essential for computer techs. If it’s of any use to anyone, here’s a partial list I have of current links to the full versions of common downloads. Where it says “list,” it’s a page that has a list of full/manual downloads. If it says “direct,” it’s a direct-download link (the download will start immediately):

      Adobe Reader Full Downloads (list)

      Adobe Flash (IE) Full Download (direct)

      Adobe Flash (Other) Full Download (direct)

      Adobe Shockwave (Slim) Full Download (direct)

      Java (All) Full Download (list)

      Java (Chrome) Full Download (list)

      CCLeaner (Portable) Full Download (direct):

      CCLeaner (Slim) Full Download (direct):

      Revo Uninstaller (Portable) Full Download (direct)

      Revo Uninstaller (Regular) Full Download (direct)

      1. Ken Saunders said on October 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm

        That is a nice list to have. When I work on computers for others for either updating or fresh OS installs, I have to go to each site first, load the download page, then download the product, this would save me some time. I wonder though, does it always point to the latest (release) versions?

        Martin, if you do ever get your own software site going (you’d have my support) as once mentioned, something like this would be great to have.

        As far as this article overall, I’ve used the zip version of Nightly for years (from the ftp servers) and the same for Aurora since it’s been available so that I have access to the omni.ja that contains all of the CSS, JS, XUL and other files (to work on add-ons and for exploring), and so that I don’t have to bother with installing them. They run like portable apps.

        Mozilla will always have the full versions of their products available somewhere.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm

        Scott, great list, thanks for posting.

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