All you get when you hit the "download now" button on the Mozilla website to download a copy of the Firefox web browser is a so-called stub or net installer.
The stub installer has advantages and disadvantages over full or offline Firefox installers. Unlike the offline installer, which always installs the version of Firefox that you downloaded, stub installers query Mozilla during installation so that the latest version of Firefox is downloaded and installed. In other words, users will get the latest version of Firefox when they run the installer and they may re-use it.
The main downside is that setup requires an active Internet connection, and that the latest version of Firefox is downloaded and installed. While users want the latest version usually, older versions may sometimes be required, for instance when the latest version causes issues on a system.
You can use full Firefox downloads 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.
You have two official options to download offline versions of the Firefox web browser to your system. You can download offline versions of Firefox from the Mozilla website or from the archive server. Both let you download a full copy of Firefox for all supported operating systems, architectures, and languages.
The core difference between the two options is that you can download any version of Firefox from the FTP server but only the latest version from the website.
So, if you always wanted to check out Firefox 0.10, Firefox 4.0, or Firefox 25.0, now is your chance to do so (if you do, please do so in a locked down environment as these browsers may contain security vulnerabilities that were fixed in later versions).
Note: Mozilla changed the design of download pages recently. While you can still use the links provided below to download offline installers for all supported operating systems, you now have to make up to three selections before you can do so.
Use the following links to open the Firefox offline installer download pages on the Mozilla website:
Downloads for Android are also provided:
All download pages use the same layout. Select the browser edition that you want to download, e.g. Beta or ESR, then the installer (Windows 32-bit and 64-bit, Linux 32-bit and 64-bit, Mac OS X, or Windows MSI 32-bit or 64-bit), and then the language. Hit the download now button to start the download of the full Firefox installer to the local system.
You access the Mozilla FTP server via HTTP right now using the following URL:
This opens a directory with links to all Firefox releases starting with Firefox 0.10 to the very latest (stable, beta and release candidate) releases. You can use the directory to download the latest release version of Firefox to your system but also any previous stable release of the web browser.
A click on a directory displays the supported operating systems on the next screen. The following options are usually provided (not that some may options may only be available for select versions and not all the time).
A click on one of the operating system directory links opens all localized versions of Firefox for the selected Firefox version and operating system. Mozilla uses language and country codes to list available versions.
The codes en-us, pt-BR, and hu, for example, refer to English-United States, Portuguese Brazil, and Hungarian. While a country's domain extension is used usually by Mozilla, it is not the case all the time.
The final page lists the download link and the size of the download.
Tip: You can modify the URL of the download page easily to jump directly to specific releases. The URL structure is https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/60.0/win64/en-US/.
Simply change the following directories:
While you can download full versions of the Firefox web browser from third-party download portals as well, there is no need to do so unless you want to download a portable version of Firefox.
Mozilla pushes the stub installer on its website and it may be the better solution for most users interested in downloading the web browser and for Mozilla. Users who prefer to download the full version of Firefox instead can do so as well and as long as the option is provided, there is nothing wrong with offering a stub downloaded by default.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.