FAQ

  • What version of Firefox does Flagfox support?
    Flagfox 5.1 supports a minimum of Firefox 24+ or SeaMonkey 2.21+, however Firefox 38+ is highly recommended. (old version support table is below)
  • Where do I see Flagfox after I installed it?
    Flagfox shows a flag icon in your address/location bar. (see here if you can’t find that)
  • Does Flagfox send any information to any servers during normal browsing?
    No. Flagfox uses a built-in database to look up flags. For other features, read this.
  • Does Flagfox work behind a proxy?
    Not really. Some features are available but Flagfox won’t be able to show a flag if you don’t have local DNS. I’ve got a whole separate Proxy/DNS Issue FAQ with more info.
  • What if I don’t like the TLD mismatch notification?
    Turn it off using the “Don’t show this again” checkbox. It’s just help for new users.
  • Why does the flag turn British when I click on it?
    The server that hosts Geotool, the default click action, is hosted in England.
  • What’s with the updates Firefox wants to download for Flagfox?
    Flagfox uses an internal IP location database to look up flags for servers. Each month, a new version of Flagfox is released with an updated database. (i.e. map of the Internet)
  • Does Flagfox support IPv6?
    Yes! Flagfox contains both IPv4 & IPv6 databases, which are updated monthly.
  • Flagfox has a middle-click function, but I don’t have a middle button.
    You can use ctrl+click instead of middle-click wherever needed in Flagfox.
  • How do I change my Flagfox options?
    Right-click on the flag icon and select the “Options” menu item.
  • Can I change the size of the flag icon in version 5+?
    You can tinker with the size via the “extensions.flagfox.maxflagwidth” pref via about:config. Not all sizes work well, and some flags are quite squished if you go smaller. (more info)
  • How many Flagfox developers are there?
    One. There is also one Geotool developer that also hosts the support forum. (more info)

Detailed questions and answers

Usage questions and information:

Common requests:

Mozilla Add-ons site questions:

Technical/development questions:

Usage questions and information:

The location/flag shown for a site is wrong!

Maybe, but probably not. Sites can be hosted anywhere, they can have domains of any nationality, and can have multiple cache servers sending out the same site from different locations. Flagfox looks up the actual location of the server you’re connected to using the IP address Firefox is using and a database maintained by Maxmind, which may or may not be where you’d expect it to be. (read this for more info and correction request procedure)

Why do Flagfox and Geotool disagree on the location sometimes?

Cache servers; see the previous question. When you click the Flagfox icon it sends Geotool the host and IP to lookup. This is the IP of the server that the site sent you to, however Geotool is hosted in a different location from you so if you tell it to lookup the same domain it may be sent to a different (closer) server at a different IP. Thus, a Geotool lookup via Flagfox tells you where the server you’re connecting to is and a Geotool lookup via the Geotool search field or search plugin tells you where the server Geotool is connecting to is. The only way around this is to lookup on Geotool using an IP address rather than a domain, as a single domain can redirect to multiple IP addresses.

Why do I get a TLD mismatch info bar every time I go to Google?

Non-American users are redirected to their locale-specific version of Google. Google has an FAQ for this here.

Does Flagfox send any information to any servers?

Not during normal browsing, no. Flagfox uses an internal database of IP address locations and does not send anything anywhere during normal browsing. If you use one of the lookup features, such as Geotool or whois, then that server will be sent the necessary info (e.g. IP address or domain name) that one time to do the lookup. There are some other extensions that have some features similar to Flagfox and they do, however, send all of your browsing habits to their server to provide their information. Flagfox respects users’ privacy and makes a point to not do that. (see the Flagfox privacy policy)

Some of the actions’ pages have ads.

Each action is its own site; we certainly don’t run them all, just Geotool. A few have ads but nothing drastic, and if you’re using Firefox and any addons then why on Earth would you not be using Adblock Plus? If any action starts doing something evil please report it to us and we’ll consider kicking them out, but otherwise just use ABP or at least just don’t use any actions you don’t approve of.

How is Flagfox useful besides its lookups and educational value?

Not only does the flag imply the server’s location, but also what laws may apply and what the native language may be. For example, if I see a site indicated to be in China I know that it may be under some form of government censorship. This is also potentially useful in trying to figure out who’s laws may apply to various P2P-related websites.

Can Flagfox help with security/anti-phishing?

Flagfox can be used as a warning as to when a server isn’t where it should be. If you end up at a site claiming to be an American bank, and it shows as Nigerian, then you may want to think twice. However, I should also point out the common misconception that Flagfox is a “security” extension, as while it can be somewhat useful for this sort of thing, scam sites can be in America just as easily as somewhere else. Flagfox should be considered a useful addition to your security kit and not a security verification by itself.

Why are the default actions’ names and templates immutable?

It greatly lowers the complexity that normal users come into contact with and makes configuring each one simpler, as it doesn’t have to show the complexity needed for custom actions. This way the defaults are also always there and users can turn them off/on as needed, but if they can’t be edited/deleted then I don’t need to have a “restore default actions” button or anything like that. It also allows me to provide updates to them easily and allows for easier localization.

If you do want to change one of the default actions, you can select any action and “clone” it by using the drop down menu for the add button (click the little down arrow to its right). A new action will open up that’s based on the selected one, which you can then customize to your needs. You can then disable the default or use both if you want.

Those are just to load the favicons it shows for each action. The icons should be cached by Firefox for subsequent usage. You can disable showing these icons in the Flagfox options if you want to.

Common requests:

Will you make a version for Mobile Firefox?

A version of Flagfox for Firefox for Android is in the works which I hope to make the time to finish eventually.

Will you make a version for Internet Explorer?

No. I’d have to rewrite everything from scratch and I don’t use IE. (and I rarely use Windows, for that matter)

Will you make a version for Google Chrome?

Probably not. I don’t use Google Chrome, and would generally recommend people avoid using the browser put out by a for-profit gigantic Internet controlling monopoly that integrates its own services into its browser in a way reminiscent of pre-legal-settlement Microsoft. Rewriting Flagfox for Google Chrome would be a very work intensive thing to do. If lots of users want this and contribute towards Flagfox development, I could consider this, but right now it’s not on the table.

Will you add a feature to show the IP in the statusbar?

No. Public IP addresses by themselves provide no useful information. They’re just numbers and need to be looked up in something else to have value. For the instances where you actually do need to see the IP, Flagfox has it listed in the flag’s tooltip. (hover the cursor over the icon) If you need to use the IP for something else, there’s a “Copy IP” feature in the context menu.

What about Geotool features? What about adding things like the local time to Flagfox?

Flagfox does simple local lookups and Geotool has more advanced information. Maps, local times, city/state names, etc. are shown there because they require larger databases and more detailed lookups. Features along these lines are not likely to be added to Flagfox.

Will you add or change an IP listing or region listing in the database?

Flagfox and Geotool just use the Maxmind database; we do not maintain it. You can of course contact Maxmind to request changes and we will subsequently include any updates they make in future versions. For more information, read this.

One of the flags is old. Will you update it?

Sure, assuming the region is already included and the flag update is not in heavy dispute. As of Flagfox 5.0+ I have written a system to allow me to programmatically check for flag updates and include them in each monthly Flagfox update. If the current flag shown on Wikipedia for the country/territory in question does not match what Flagfox/Geotool uses, rest assured that it will be on my todo list already. For more information, read the section on this here.

Politically disputed flags

My policy has always been that I will not wade into political disputes. The flag I will show for your country/territory is the one Wikipedia uses. Convince their experts and I will go along with their decision, as I am not qualified to decide what is the “correct” flag to use for every country/territory on the planet. Read this for more information.

Mozilla Add-ons site questions:

I get an error when I try to download or update Flagfox!

Firefox handles addon installation and updating; Mozilla Add-ons (AMO) handles hosting. I don’t have much control over these things and sometimes they may have problems. If you’re having a problem, please read this for help. As a last resort, you can also download any version from the FTP server.

Why isn’t a fix listed in the forums in Flagfox yet?

The process of making a new version is as follows:

  1. I make changes to Flagfox
  2. I package a new version with these code changes and upload it to Mozilla Add-ons (AMO)
  3. An AMO editor reviews the new version and approves it for public consumption
  4. The AMO page is updated and the new release is available for download and update

If I mentioned I fixed a problem in a thread on the support forum or elsewhere, you’ll need to wait for me to upload it for you to get it. If I’ve uploaded a new version it will take a while to show on the all versions page, however it won’t be on the front Flagfox AMO page until it gets editor approval. This is actually rather fast for Flagfox, but it’s not immediate, and it can vary depending on how busy the editors are. You can download any uploaded version here, including those pending approval as well as development versions.

I see some gibberish listed under “Included locales” or elsewhere.

Your OS, probably older Windows, isn’t properly installed/configured and can’t display certain Asian languages. You’ll also have problems on other sites. Read here.

Technical/development questions:

Application version support history table

Firefox Other Browser(s) Last supported Flagfox version
Firefox 38+ SeaMonkey 2.35+ Current Flagfox 5.1+
Firefox 24-37 SeaMonkey 2.21-2.34 Supported, but please update
Firefox 17-23 SeaMonkey 2.14-2.20 Flagfox 5.0.15 (2015-6-11)
Firefox 3.6-16.0 SeaMonkey 2.1-2.13 Flagfox 4.2.17 (2014-1-10)
Firefox 3.5 SeaMonkey 2.0 Flagfox 4.1.17 (2012-7-7)
Firefox 3.0 Flock 2.0-2.5 Flagfox 4.0.14 (2011-2-5)
Firefox 2.0 Flock 1.0 Flagfox 3.3.20 (2010-1-5)
Firefox 1.5 Flagfox 3.2.8 (2008-8-4)
Firefox 0.9-1.0 Flagfox 2.4.19 (2007-9-3)

It is dangerous to yourself and others to use an obsolete web browser. Setting the security risks aside, supporting old versions forever in an addon that has to run inside it is not viable.

Note that whilst Flagfox currently supports as far back as Firefox 24, usage of Firefox 38 or later is highly recommended for proper startup performance. (current Firefox is notably faster)

Download links:
  ▸ Firefox
  ▸ Firefox ESR (extended support release)
  ▸ Firefox development versions
  ▸ SeaMonkey (not recommended, but supported)

Old versions of Flagfox can be downloaded here, however the older the version, the more out-of-date the geolocation will be.

What are Flagfox’s system requirements?

Flagfox is not operating system or architecture dependent. As long as your supported browser runs on it then it’ll work fine. See above for application support.

Firefox 17+ does not support some very old versions of Windows and Mac OS X, specifically, Windows 2000, Windows XP RTM-SP2 (but XP SP3 is supported; update Windows!), and Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier. Flagfox could theoretically work in any non-official ports to these or any other platforms so long as it is based on a sufficiently recent version of Firefox.

What is Flagfox written in?

JavaScript, XUL, & CSS

How do I view the source?

XPI files are just glorified ZIPs. Open the Flagfox installer file in your favorite archive program and root around at your leisure.

What is Flagfox’s license?

Flagfox is free to use and open source. The only restriction is on redistribution of mods via official browser addon sites such as Mozilla Add-ons. Read here.

When/why was Flagfox created?

Flagfox started out as a good idea attempted by a few different people, but one that was abandoned long ago. (there have been multiple pieces of software to geolocate stuff with flags) At some point, for reasons I have forgotten, I wanted to install an addon to check the locations of websites and came across Flagfox 2. It was being maintained by a web developer (the current developer of Geotool), but the addon itself was bare-bones and had severe performance issues that prevented it from being practical for general use. My first thought was to see if I could just fix the issues… the actual result was me doing a complete rewrite of the concept. Together we tested Flagfox 3 and I managed to migrate the handful of existing users of various other versions over to my new addon. I have since rewritten Flagfox from scratch and added completely new features, including a wide array of site lookup actions and a custom action syntax to add more. (I literally just opened up new blank files and started typing for Flagfox 4) With Flagfox 5 I have now overhauled the look of the addon and added yet more new capabilities.

A very brief timeline of Flagfox history:

  • ~2004 – original “FlagFox” by Joseph Birr-Pixton
  • 2006 – new “Flagfox II” by Richard van der Leeden (with new addon ID)
  • 2007 – new “Flagfox 3.0” by David Garrett (first upload to AMO)
  • 2010 – Flagfox 4.0 major update by David Garrett
  • 2014 – Flagfox 5.0 major update by David Garrett

Who makes Flagfox/Geotool?

Dave Garrett does Flagfox.
Richard van der Leeden does Geotool and this server.

For the full list of translators and any other credits see the Flagfox about box. (Tools menu / Firefox menu button -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> right-click on Flagfox -> About)

For a little more detail on the people and places involved, read here.

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