Why do I have to click to activate plugins?

Revision Information
  • Revision id: 141707
  • Created:
  • Creator: AliceWyman
  • Comment: removed reference to Plugin Check page, which is being removed. See https://support.mozilla.org/forums/knowledge-base-articles/712532
  • Reviewed: Yes
  • Reviewed:
  • Reviewed by: AliceWyman
  • Is approved? Yes
  • Is current revision? No
  • Ready for localization: Yes
  • Readied for localization:
  • Readied for localization by: AliceWyman
Revision Source
Revision Content

Support ended for all NPAPI plugins, except for Adobe Flash, in Firefox version 52. See this compatibility document and this article for details.

In the past, to protect you from plugins that have stability or security issues, Firefox could only turn off the problematic plugin. Now Firefox can prevent the plugin from running automatically (which prevents many issues) and then let you choose to run or update the plugin. Here's how it works.

Note: This article describes what to do when a plugin has been blocked by Mozilla from running automatically because of stability or security issues. Most plugins still need to be activated even though they are up to date because Firefox now sets plugins to "Ask to Activate" in the Add-ons Manager by default (Adobe Flash is the exception). For more information, see this blog post.

How click to activate works

  1. When Firefox blocks a plugin you'll see a message similar to this:
    Click to play 1 new
  2. You can then choose to run the plugin or update it (if an update is available).
    • 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 address bar to reload the page and try again.) However, the next time you visit the site or any other that uses that plugin you will see this message again.
    Click to play 2 new
    • If "Check for updates..." is available and you click it...
    Click to play 3 new
    • You will be taken to the Mozilla Plugin Check page where you will be shown links to update out-of-date plugins.

When is it OK to activate instead of updating a plugin?

Updating a plugin is always the safest thing to do but, sometimes, it may not be possible. For example, you may not be allowed to update a computer at work or school. 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 vulnerable 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.

How to always activate a plugin for a trusted website

If you are unable to update a plugin and you are using a trusted site, you can set that plugin to automatically run whenever using that site:

  1. Click the red plugin icon in the address bar and a message window will open.
  2. In the message panel, click Allow and Remember.

Now, whenever you visit this site, the plugin will automatically run and you won't get the "Click to activate" message.