What’s the difference between Add-ons, Plug-ins, and Extensions?


Add-ons, Plug-ins, and ExtensionsAdd-ons

At the basic level, you add specific properties to a particular program, and sometimes the add-in itself may work for more than one program at a time.On the opposite of auxiliary functions (Plug-ins), which work like features added to programs, add-ins (add-ons) only adds modification options to the interface, the simplest example is the toolbar, which is very important for browsers, and today, plugins (add-ons) are essential Particularly in the field of games.Although the term add-on can be a bit confusing, it is common today to be called anything that can be included in a browser or program, and therefore, this can be a visual format (theme), a language pack, or even an auxiliary function (plug-in), or an extension (extension).


Simply put, a third-party library, which is connected (plug) to the browser, is included in the webpage using a tag <embed> </embed>, or tag <object>, and the plug-in component affects only a specific page where it is placed

Common plug-in examples include the following:

  • Macromedia Flash
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Apple Quicktime
  • Adobe Reader (includes an additional component with the rest of the application).

Some plug-ins respond to a MIME type, and they can then replace (or work in the context of) the webpage, such as Adobe Reader, which allows you to view PDFs in your Web browser, and other plug-ins that enable you to play certain types of video or media on a Web page, and E. The plug-in component affects only one Web page, not others.In Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari, these components are usually called NPAPI plugins, because they are written using NPAPI, either in Safari, using Webkit Plugin, and in Internet Explorer, through an ActiveX control.

What Plug-ins can’t do?

  • Does not automatically manipulate the content of each downloaded Web page, that is, you must deal with the MIME type, or be included in the webpage.
  • You cannot create toolbars
  • Cannot affect browser menus
  • You cannot collect information, access, or identify tabs or other pages on the same browser (the same browsing session).

All of these previous matters are the specialty of the accessories (Extensions).


Add-ons, Plug-ins, and Extensions

The supplement is an additional feature designed to improve browser functionality, and extensions typically use XUL and CSS for the user interface and JavaScript for certain types of dynamic actions.In general, the extension includes code that aims to extend the current capabilities of the underlying program, which is therefore like a list of commands that are accepted by the program.At the basic level, extensions affect the browser itself, not just the one Web page, as it will affect all pages of course.They can be written in different languages by the browser; in Firefox, they can be written in C++ or JavaScript, and Internet Explorer writes as special ActiveX controls called Browser Helper Objects or BHOs.Extensions (Extensions) can contain auxiliary functions (plug-ins), but the reverse is incorrect.For example, one common way to install an extension (Extension) in Firefox is to use an. xpi file, which may contain an internal NPAPI component (NPAPI plugin), but it is, of course, a supplement (Extension).This extension will not work on other Web browsers, although NPAPI plugin itself may work well on Chrome and safari if it is installed in another way.It is clear here that the auxiliary function (plug-in) does not include any attachments (Extensions), depending on the nature of its programmatic configuration.


The accessories (extensions) differ from the auxiliary functions (Plug-ins), and most programs and browsers will direct the user towards using the extensions.On the other hand, the auxiliary functions (Plug-ins) are designed for further customization and should be used only when the end user is requested, in short, the auxiliary function (plug-in) is a complete program in itself, while the accessories (extensions) do not look like this.Add-ins (add-ons) can mean anything that adds more features to a program, and concerning browsers, there is no difference between the add-in (add-on) and the extension (extension), both of which are one concept that is used differently with non-typical features of and browser functions.


  1. add-ons vs Extensions vs PlugIns, from location: add-ons.org, read it on 8-1-2019
  2. Browser Plugins Extensions – The difference, from colonelpanic.net, read it on 8-1-2019



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