I switched to Mozilla Firefox from Internet Explorer in 2006, and never looked back since then. I just love this browser – nothing (yet) could even come close, as far as customization and the wide range of available extensions are concerned. If you’re currently working on an SEO campaign for your business, this browser should definitely be a part of your tool box.
In my future posts, I’ll be writing about the different Firefox extensions that you can use to enhance Firefox’s capabilities for any SEO project. For now, let’s focus on how to create multiple profiles in Firefox.
Why create multiple Firefox profiles?
I can think of a number of reasons, but the most obvious are:
- view different (personalized and generic) search results of a keyword search simultaneously
- compare site statistics using different extensions.
- run two Gmail or Google accounts at the same time.
- have separate browsers for business, professional, or personal use.
If you’re like me, with a teenager at home who occasionally uses your PC, a separate Firefox profile for the kid might be a good idea. My daughter thinks it’s cool that she has her own Firefox profile, complete with her own choice of extensions and bookmarks.
How to create multiple Firefox profiles:
1. Access the Firefox profile manager by clicking on the start button and opening the Run window. Type in firefox.exe -ProfileManager and hit OK.
2. Once you have the Firefox profile manager open, you now have the option to create profiles or rename existing profiles.
3. Just follow the system prompts to name your profile and select the folder where it will be created. You’re done!
You can create as many Firefox profiles as you want or need, but you can use only two profiles simultaneously.
Now, here’s the tricky part. Once you have one profile already running, you won’t be able to open any of the other profiles. When you try to access the browser through your desktop icon or start menu, Firefox will just serve another window of the same profile.
How do you run two Firefox profiles at the same time?
Easy. Just create a special icon for your default or main profile.
Here’s a nifty trick I learned from David Burke at VisualFuture.com. Essentially, you just have to create a firefoxSEO.bat file (or whatever the exact name of the profile you’re creating an icon for) to access your default profile. You can change the icon for that .bat file through its properties and select from existing Windows icons or create a new one. Read David Burke’s tutorial now.
Now that you’ve created the icon for your main profile, you can easily run that Firefox profile alongside any of the others you’ve created earlier.
When you have several profiles in Firefox with different sets of extensions and bookmarks, it tends to get confusing and tedious to manually create backups for all those different profiles. What happens when you have to deal with something like a computer crash and have to reformat your hard drive? How do you recover and restore your profiles?
Using FEBE to backup your profile
There are several ways to backup your profile information. My preferred way is through an extension called FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) by developer Chuck Baker. It’s a most useful extension in my experience, helping me avoid long hours of toil, searching for my preferred addons and bookmarks. I’ve had two computer crashes in the last 12 months and each time, I was saved from the hassle of doing everything all over again by FEBE.
I’m strongly recommending this extension, especially if you don’t have any sort of backup system for your Firefox profile(s). Just make sure to include FEBE as an extension in each profile you want to save.
Are you using other extensions to backup your Firefox profiles? Feel free to share your own suggestions, tips, or recommended tools below.