How to download the full Firefox browser and not the Stub net installer

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 13, 2013
Updated • Apr 1, 2015

Mozilla has been testing so called stub installers for some time now. What this means basically is that you download a setup for the browser that is less than 300 Kilobyte in size. This is far less than the usual 22 or so Megabytes that users need to download.

There are a couple of limitations though that need to be mentioned. First, stub installers are only provided for Windows. If you download the Mac or Linux version, you get the full version download right away.

While you download 300 Kilobytes initially, Firefox needs to download the rest during installation, which means that an Internet connection is required to install the web browser this way.

The net downloader is only offered on the main Firefox download page. If you visit it and click on Windows, you download Firefox Setup Stub 22.0.exe (or whichever the current version is of the browser).

firefox net installer

Firefox offline installer

The main problem with this installer is that you need an Internet connection to install it on a PC. While that should not be an issue most of the time, it may be problematic sometimes.

To download the full installer that was offered on this page before, click on Systems & Languages below the big Windows download button, or visit this page directly.

Here you find a listing of all localized versions of the web browser for all supported desktop operating systems. Simply scroll down until you find your language listed here and click on the download button in the Windows column to download the offline installer.

You can use it to install Firefox on systems without Internet connection, or for distribution purposes if you want to install it on multiple systems. With the web installer, you would have to download the browser multiple times (for each system once) which may waste a lot of bandwidth and time.

download full version firefox
Firefox offline version

You can alternatively download the latest full version of the web browser from the official ftp server, or download sites such as Softpedia or Major Geeks.


You are probably wondering why Mozilla implemented the change. This is a good question and there are a couple of answers for that. One comes from statistics that Mozilla published in 2007. According to those statistics, only 57% of Firefox users installed the browser, which means that 43% either did not download the browser fully, did not install it at all, or experienced issues during installation.

It is very likely that this is less of an issue today where more and more users got access to faster Internet connections.

The second improvement is that the web installer will always download the latest version of the web browser. If you are downloading an offline installer, you may need to update the browser manually, which involves downloading data again, after installation.

Closing Words

You have options to download the web installer or the full installer. The only thing that may change for you is that you need to open a different page to download the offline installer. (via Sören)

How to download the full Firefox browser and not the Stub net installer
Article Name
How to download the full Firefox browser and not the Stub net installer
Find out how to download the full offline installer of the Firefox web browser and not the net installer from the Mozilla website.

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  1. Anonymous said on November 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    excellent – exactly what I needed!

  2. Backup said on November 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    After the STUB downloads the file which directory does it store?

  3. Anonymous said on November 3, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    “According to those statistics, only 57% of Firefox users installed the browser” – TRUE

    “which means that 43% either did not download the browser fully, did not install it at all, or experienced issues during installation.” Well, no, it doesn’t imply that at all. It COULD mean that 43% of firefox users had someone else install it for them. I’m responsible for a few dozen myself, and I’m not even a professional.

  4. pbr said on March 31, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    As of Firefox 37.0, the page linked in the “Firefox offline installer” section of this article offers only the stub.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 1, 2015 at 8:16 am

      It still works for me. When I click on download links I get the full installer.

      1. Anonymous said on April 1, 2015 at 10:17 am

        It’s already fixed, “it was an unintended consequence of some recent refactoring” – Bugzilla #1149620. ;)

  5. MoGoogleZILLA said on December 10, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Most users will benefit from it – HOW?

    Most users have NO problem installing software as simple as a web browser.

    If GoogleZilla wasn’t releasing a new version every five days or whatever ridiculous level it’s gotten to now, then they’d not be forcing users to be so ‘affected’ by not having the latest version – just upgrade the damn thing in-situ.

    Ah right, they couldn’t code that universally, so want the stub to do it for them, as they’re lazy…?

    I mean if they have time to break things that used to work for NO improvement regardless of what one is smoking before reviewing it – then they have time to get integrity of basic function and security of DESIGN sorted.

    I guess too many ignorant, noob ‘designers’ (visual, not technical people) thought they’d get in on the act?

  6. pd said on November 10, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I’m a 10 year loyal Firefox user. I run Aurora at home despite it’s frequent bugs like blowing a time-crafted session away randomly every so often upon updating.

    What I can’t stand is that I’m having trouble installing Windows 7 on a new PC. I’m sitting here stuck with IE8 and trying to like I’ve done dozens of times over the years. I tried the stub and it just crawls and crawls. The net speed here is not great. I’m getting 13 K doing the manual download but as per f..king usual, the ***unnecessary*** changes Mozilla makes, whilst seemingly making VERY FEW innovative new changes, SCREW ME AROUND! The piece of crap stub installer has no reference to how fast/slow the download is running. No reference to how to abort it and get the full installer. It’s just a joke!

    Mozilla make it so freaking hard to be one of their users! If Chrome wasn’t a piece of junk, I’d have to switch out of sheer desperation. The last thing I want to is handover the web to the Google/Microsoft oligopoly but if Mozilla doesn’t pull their fingers out, stop spending so many recources on a 3rd world mobile OS, and do something about their DESKTOP browser performance, they’re going to lose the influence that makes them relevant.

    1. ro said on February 24, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      I completely agree with you.

      I agree with you, FF is killing itself. Offline installers are always better than online installers.

      Personally I stopped updating at ff 38 because later versions make my old PC slow. FF eats more and more resources, more processor and more ram and more all.

      If you use a modern pc or laptop with at least 16 G of RAM you will not notice this, so most of the time the browser will run properly.

      I had to go palemoon and Sr ware iron (Latest version do not support windows xp) and these are great browsers
      and not just resource eaters.

  7. Bigalow said on April 14, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Hi Martin,

    Well here it is April 2014 and this info is STILL helpful; I could not get FF to install on here regardless what I tried
    but thankfully I found this info and now I’m back to good ol FF or perhaps that should be “MFF” (if ya know what I mean).

    Thank you again sir for taking time to share this info with us!!!!

  8. Grar said on July 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Is the built-in automatic update of Firefox downloads the stub version?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      It is not affected the automatic update feature, it behaves like before.

  9. Dave said on July 15, 2013 at 3:36 am

    I hate this. I do not want to suffer because some users cannot install a web browser…

  10. Doc said on July 14, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I just download Firefox Portable from or use the PortableApps Menu to download it…I’ve survived a dozen or more upgrades/system crashes by putting PortableApps versions of my favorite tools on a D: partition.

  11. smaragdus said on July 14, 2013 at 2:03 am

    All versions ever published:

    I never touch web installers. If an app is offered only as a web- installer I never install it.

    The most secure way to install any app is to disconnect from the internet first.

  12. xetal said on July 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    correcting typing mistakes:
    for the first one, “great tip” is use a anonyoums access. >> for the first one, “great tip” is use a anonymous access.

  13. xetal said on July 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    well, if downloading a open source file is a great tip … i have nothing to mention more :P expect two links:
    for the first one, “great tip” is use a anonyoums access. if you don’t know what that means … well for username use something that contains @ sign (of course you may use your real email address) for password “anonymous” without quotes
    for the second one, “great tip”, … hmm … use browser??? :P

  14. Nebulus said on July 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I don’t like web installers at all, so I’ll stick to downloading the offline version.

  15. Sleeping said on July 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    It seems a good idea to me. Most users will benefit from it and the others will easily find the offline installer, even though I think it should be easier to find.

    PS: full installers icons seem very nice to me :)

  16. Karl J. Gephart said on July 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I had to laugh, Martin! I was mumbling before I scrolled past your second image, “But why would someone necessarily want to do that?” And then I read “Why? You are probably wondering why…” LOL!

  17. Robert Palmar said on July 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Great tip. I avoid web installers as a rule.
    I usually can find any installer on FileHippo.

  18. Richard Steven Hack said on July 13, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    What I hate is when companies utterly HIDE the offline installer. PC techs need offline installers, as do people with unreliable Internet. Google Chrome and Adobe Flash are the worst offenders, along with Skype.

    Frankly they do it for one reason – to make their bandwidth cheaper. If only half the people who download actually install it, obviously that’s cheaper than having everyone download the full product.

    If they want to make sure you get the latest version, then any installer – full or online – can double-check for that. It’s not necessary to have an installer stub for that.

    But in any case, HIDING the offline installer is irritating and unnecessary.

    1. Anonymous said on July 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      They don’t save bandwidth as the stub still downloads the full installer.

      The reason they do this: to force the installation of the most recent version of the app.

      If you can’t find the offline installer, run the stub in Sandboxie and look to the temp folder there. Every stub I have run into just downloads the full installer package and then runs it. Copy the download before it gets deleted (on the first “next” button, copy the file from temp) and voila, problem solved.

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