9 Best Chrome Extensions You Need to Install Right Now

Chrome extensions give you tons of flexiblity and extra power with Chrome. You can use them for fun stuff, like changing every instance of the word ‘encryption’ to ‘magic’, or to help you scoop up a bargain.

But extensions typically fall into two groups: the ones everyone already knows about — Pocket, Honey — and the ones no-one actually needs. This list is different. These are the extensions you need, but don’t know about.

1: BuiltWith

BuiltWith tells you how the website you’re visiting was built. What technologies were used to create it, and what is it running right now. No more dropping into dev tools and leaning on CMD-F to figure it all out for yourself.

How does it work?

BuiltWith opens from the extensions bar and displays over the web page you’re visiting. You’ll see data on traffic to that site, which websites are connected to it, and detailed information on which technologies the site uses to deliver content and monitor users.

BuiltWith in action

Here’s ours, in case you were wondering.

What’s the catch?

BuiltWith doesn’t work on intranets, and it doesn’t do your behind-the-scenes digging for you. So if there’s no team page and no named site owner, you have to go find them yourself. There is also a tight usage limit on the free plan.

BuiltWith Pricing

The free version is free forever and includes all the functionality we’ve discussed. However, you get just 5 detailed lookups on a free plan. Pricing is opaque, and presented differently depending on how you approach the main site. There’s an Advanced plan that’s $144 a year, and which gives you unlimited detailed lookups; if this is useful for your business, say in sales prospecting, that’s just $12 a month. There’s also a set of three business-oriented plans:

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Advanced features like lists of websites by keyword, cross-referenced with the technology used, website spend and other metrics, take a handy tool and turn it into a sales-prospecting powerhouse for B2B tech sales. Which is probably why they don’t come cheap.

Get the BuiltWith Chrome extension for your browser.

2: OneTab

Having a ton of Chrome tabs open sucks up memory because Chrome treats each open tab as its own little program. This slows your browsing to an absolute crawl. Plus, once you reach the stage of ‘Tablerone’ where you can’t even see which tabs are which anymore, the whole process becomes unusable.

You could open a new window. Or you could OneTab everything.

How does it work?

OneTab opens from the extensions bar. When you open it, it turns all your open tabs into a list on a web page.

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You can open the tab you want in a new tab by clicking on it, and you can turn a session’s open tabs into a separate web page which you can then share with others, bookmark, or drop the link into whatever you’re working on so you can easily find it all when you come back to it. Individual tabs can be deleted and they can be dragged and dropped to reorder the list.

Meantime, all those open tabs aren’t sucking up RAM and CPU.

What’s the catch?

Some users say that if they’re obliged to force-quit Chrome, they lose all their saved tabs. With 1,963 tabs saved (not all from today!) we’ve never had that problem, and normally you can just reopen the extension and find all your saved tabs waiting for you.

It’s worth remembering that while your tabs are saved, their metadata — including associated browsing history — isn’t. When you reopen them, the back button won’t take you anywhere.

OneTab Pricing

OneTab is free. Get OneTab for your Chrome browser.

3: Start.me

New tab extensions for Chrome are really common. You can get comics, inspirational quotes, beautiful scenery, sports and news, anything you want. What’s cool about Start.me is that you can turn it into your own personal dashboard. If you find you’re always going to the same tools, just drag them into Start.me. You can have a list of links and favicons:

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Or you can embed web pages right into your Start.me new tab page. Put tools in by category, workflow stage, client, or any other structure that suits you.

How does it work?

It’s this simple:

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Pick up the URL of the tool or site you want to add, click the little + symbol at the top of the list you want to add it to, and fill in the fields. If you just add the URL, most sites will autopopulate the other fields. All you have to do is click ‘Add.’

What’s the catch?

Start.me shows a single banner ad at the bottom of the page. It slows Chrome’s new tab down and you have to be signed in and have the extension installed which easy to forget until you open Chrome on a new machine and wonder where all your work stuff’s gone!

Pricing

Start.me is free forever for the basic functionality. If you want it to automatically check if any of your links are broken, archive pages, give you better support, and not show ads, you need Pro which is $20 a year.

Get the Start.me Chrome extension for your browser.

4: Ghostery

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Ghostery is an anti-tracking, ad-blocking software that blocks attempts to track you as you browse. If you’d like a faster browsing experience or you just want to open a cleaner, less cluttered web page without ads, Ghostery will get the job done for you.

How does it work?

Without doing any more setup than installing the extension, Ghostery sits in your extensions bar and fields modified requests, trackers, and ads, leaving you with faster load times and less clutter.

Click on the favicon in the extensions bar and you’ll see the control screen, which gives you details about the web page you’re on and offers you the option to whitelist or blacklist the site, pause Ghostery, and an optional detailed view that shows you exactly what it’s deflecting:

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What difference does it make? In our extremely unscientific test, featuring an incognito tab and Google stopwatch, opening the same Business Insider page looked like this:

  • Without Ghostery: 16 seconds to fully render
  • With Ghostery: 4 seconds to fully render

What’s the catch?

Ghostery blocks ReCaptcha! If you want to prove you’re not a robot, you might have to disable the extension, though the dev team says they’re working on it.

Pricing

Ghostery is free. Get the Ghostery Chrome extension.

5: Dark Reader

Dark Reader makes night-time versions of websites as you browse them, muting bright colors and adjusting contrast so they’re still easy to see. You can switch between dark and light modes, easily toggle the extension on and off, and manually control the brightness.

It’s open-source, doesn’t send your data anywhere or use ads, and you can whitelist sites that have their own dark modes like Reddit or Youtube.

How does it work?

Install it and it runs. It’s that simple.

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You can access the controls by clicking the favicon in the extensions bar.

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Sepia mode is particularly easy on the eyes.

What’s the catch?

It slows pages down. And when you flick between tabs, it can take a second or so for the content to reappear. It’s also possible to break the extension if you whitelist a site that conflicts with it somehow, though you can unbreak it just as easily by deleting cache in most cases.

Dark Reader Pricing

Dark Reader is free. Get the Dark Reader extension for Google Chrome.

6: MozBar

MozBar gives you basic SEO information which is enormously powerful for anyone doing online marketing. Turn it on and you’ll see Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Spam Score displayed at the top of the screen:

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You also have Page Analysis that pulls up SEO elements from the page and a bunch more technical SEO stuff. Highlight Links, which highlights links on the page and shows whether they’re internal or external, follow or no-follow and Page Optimization Score which is only available with a Premium Moz account.

There’s also the SERPs overlay. When MozBar is turned on, it overlays search results with the same basic SEO information you see when you visit a website.

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How does it work?

Click the MozBar favicon in the extensions bar, or use keyboard shortcuts:

  • CMD+Option+Ctrl+M for Mac users
  • Shift+Ctrl+Alt+M for Windows users

If you don’t have a Moz account, you’ll be prompted to create one — it’s free unless you decide to upgrade.

What’s the catch?

Moz’s more advanced premium features, that take it from a convenient extension to a serious, powerful SEO tool, are only available with a Moz Pro account.

Pricing

The free version is free forever, the premium version comes with a Moz Pro account. Pricing for those looks like this:
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Get MozBar for your Chrome browser.

7: Add to Trello

Add to Trello lets you add web pages to your Trello account as cards.

How does it work?

Once it’s installed and set up, just click the favicon and you’ll see the title of the website you’re on as a Trello card title, together with the list and board it’s being saved to:

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Open Trello and it’s there. What’s cool about this is, it lets you turn the entire internet into your to-do list; especially useful if you need something to earmark research or great content to emulate.

What’s the catch?

You can’t add due dates, and you can’t @ people in the extension; you have to do those things directly in Trello itself.

Add to Trello Pricing

Add to Trello is free. Get the Add to Trello extension for Chrome.

8: Extensity

By this far down the post, you must be wondering if managing all these extensions isn’t going to take up more time and effort than they could possibly save. Extensity lets you quickly enable and disable Chrome extensions from a list, and launch Chrome apps from the same list.

How does it work?

Click on the Extensity favicon in the Chrome bookmarks bar and you’ll see:

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To turn extensions on or off, just click them in the list. The gear icon gives you more advanced options.

You can also use profiles to quickly toggle between suites of enabled and disabled extensions.

Pricing

Extensity is free. Get Extensity for Chrome

9: Screencastify

Screencastify lets you quickly and easily create screencasts, capture, edit, and share video. You can embed your webcam into screencasts so you’re visible in the cast or fullscreen and share them.

How does it work?

Install and sign up. Sign up with Google and Screencastify will save every video you make to Google Drive automatically. You’ll also have to grant permissions to access your Google account in order for this to work.

What’s the catch?

The free version watermarks your videos, the premium version costs $24 per year. It works best for short videos around 10 minutes in length which is the length limit on the free version. And the editing suite isn’t as intuitive as it could be.

Screencastify Pricing

It’s freemium, with quite restrictive limits on the free version. If you do a lot of short-ish screencasts, though, it’s worth getting the Premium version at $24 per year.

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Get Screencastify for Chrome.