Why do I have to click to activate plugins?

This article is no longer maintained, so its content might be out of date.

Support ended for all NPAPI plugins, except for Adobe Flash, in Firefox version 52. See this article for details.
End of Flash support: Like other browsers and Adobe, Firefox ended Flash support at the end of 2020. Please see End of support for Adobe Flash for more information.

To keep your browsing experience fast, reliable and secure, Firefox will not activate NPAPI plugins such as Adobe Flash by default. Instead, Firefox lets you choose whether or not to allow the plugin to run on a website.

How click to activate works

If Firefox blocks a plugin, rather than seeing content, you'll see a message prompting you to click to run the plugin, such as Adobe Flash.


On some sites, you'll see just a blank rectangle, and the plugin notification icon will appear toward the left end of the address bar.

Fx58AllowFlashOptionsFirefox 69 Plugin Activation Choices - FlashFx82AllowFlash

If you click the message or the notification icon to activate the plugin, Firefox will prompt you with these options:

  • Allow: Activates the plugin on the website, only for a single visit. To automatically activate the plugin for all future visits to that site, check the Remember this decision checkbox.
  • Don't Allow: Dismisses the notification prompt without activating the plugin.

If you click to activate and allow the plugin, the missing content will load normally. (If it doesn't, click the reload FxReloadButton button in the toolbar to reload the page and try again.)

When is it okay to activate a plugin?

In a situation like this, you can make a smart choice depending on your current task:

  • If you're using a trusted site like a special site for your work or school, you might feel safe enough to enable a plugin in order to view the site's content.
  • If you don't fully trust a site, for example, you arrived at the site by following a link, you probably do not want to activate the plugin.

Can I set a plugin to always activate?

Setting NPAPI plugins such as Adobe Flash to always activate is not recommended.

To set Firefox to always activate a plugin:
Click the menu button Fx89menuButton, click Add-ons and themes and select Plugins. Find the plugin and click the ellipsis (3-dot) icon, then select Always Activate from the drop-down menu. This will activate the plugin automatically and you will no longer get messages to run the plugin.

The setting to always activate the Adobe Flash plugin was removed in Firefox version 69.

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