Running Firefox with Different Profiles

This post tells nothing new but it’s something I must have tried a long time ago.

Firefox is the best browser I know…. but is not perfect. One of the major problems I experience with Firefox is that when you start installing some extensions and combine that with a lot of tabs opened at the same time, things stop being nice and you start feeling like you’re running the browser in your grandma’s computer.

Most of the extensions I use are for development purposes only, so one way to have a better browsing experience is to have separated profiles. A profile for normal browsing (email and blog reading, facebook, twitter, …) and another for development with all the nice extensions I use when working. Now you can get rid of your  development stuff by closing the browser instance that is using that profile and keep surfing the web with the lighter profile, or viceversa.

To create a new profile, close all running instances of firefox and start it again from the terminal with the following command:

[codesyntax lang=”bash”]


A wizard will let you give a name to your profile and (optional) change its location. Then you can choose a profile and start Firefox. Everytime you start Firefox, it will use the last selected profile, if you want to change that uncheck the “Don’t ask at startup” option in the wizard, now you will be asked to pick a profile before the browser starts.

Alternatively, you can create additional shortcuts to start different profiles. Here is how to do it in Fedora using a .desktop file:

The above code copies the system’s desktop file for Firefox, change the name of the application and the command to execute, and then saves the copy to .local/share/applications where will be read for your Desktop Environment (I tested it in GNOME Shell) and properly displayed.

For a Windows version of this process see