Ubuntu: How can I use two firefox profiles?


I run Ubuntu 14.04 and want to use one installation of Firefox with two different profiles for the same logged in Ubuntu user.

How can I set this up, so that I may easily launch both profiles from the Unity launcher?


How to set up different Firefox profiles for the same Ubuntu user and the same Firefox installation

Excerpt of the command-line options from man firefox:

-ProfileManager     Start the profilemanager. Use this to choose the profile you would like to     run firefox with. You will need to also use -no-remote if there is already     a running firefox instance.    -P profile     Start firefox with the profile named profile. Will start the profile     manager if a valid profile name is not specified. You will need to also     use -no-remote if there is already a running firefox instance.  

So you just need to start Firefox with one of those parameters by either using a terminal, the Alt+F2 HUD, from the launcher icon's context menu after editing its configuration file, which I will describe below.

Set up a new profile:

  • Launch Firefox's ProfileManager from the terminal or with Alt+F2:

    firefox -ProfileManager  

    Firefox ProfileManager main window

  • Rename your current profile default to profile1 (or whatever you like, you don't even have to rename it, but I will do in this guide for clarification - you just have to replace profile1 with your exact name wherever it occurs!) by clicking on Rename Profile....

  • Create a new profile with the wizard by clicking on Create Profile.... It will show you an info window first, read it and click Next. The second window will ask you to enter a name for the profile, enter profile2 here (or replace it wherever it occurs in this guide with exactly what you entered instead). I would recommend you not to change the folder where the profile will be stored in, unless you have a good reason to do so. Click Finish.

    Firefox ProfileManager Create Profile wizard

  • Exit the ProfileManager.

Set up your launcher icon to access those profiles from the context menu:

  • Copy the original launcher file (which is owned by root, used system-wide and will get replaced with the next update) to your home folder:

    cp /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop  
  • Edit the copy e.g. with either Gedit (GUI) or Nano (terminal):

    gedit ~/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop  nano ~/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop  
  • Search for the line:


    and add new context menu action identifiers like this (example names, but only used within the file, you won't see them anywhere else):

  • Insert the code snippet below at the end of the file, you may vary the Name= value and add as many translations as you want (example for German [de] is given). The Exec=firefox -P ... lines have to contain the exact (case-sensitive) name of the profiles you created in the profile manager! Also the last word in the lines [Desktop Action ...] has to exactly match the keys you added to the Actions= line above.

    [Desktop Action Profile1]  Name=Run Firefox with profile 1  Name[de]=Firefox mit Profil 1 starten  Exec=firefox -P profile1  OnlyShowIn=Unity;    [Desktop Action Profile2]  Name=Run Firefox with profile 2  Name[de]=Firefox mit Profil 2 starten  Exec=firefox -P profile2  OnlyShowIn=Unity;    [Desktop Action ProfileManager]  Name=Open Firefox profile manager  Name[de]=Firefox Profilmanager öffnen  Exec=firefox -ProfileManager  OnlyShowIn=Unity;  
  • Now if you want to specify a permanent default profile for when you left-click the launcher icon (otherwise the profile you last used through the ProfileManager with the respective checkbox ticked gets launched), you also have to edit the main Exec= line. It's the topmost and should look like this:

    Exec=firefox %u  

    Edit it to look like the one below, maybe replacing profile1 with the correct default profile name you wish.

    Exec=firefox -P profile1 %u  
  • You have to reboot (maybe logging out and back in is also enough?) before the system realizes that you want to override the system-wide firefox.desktop file and use your personal and customized one. Or you can use the command

    desktop-file-install --dir=~/.local/share/applications ~/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop  

    to re-initiate the launcher file. After that, enjoy your multiple profiles!


I will add this in case you want 2 firefoxes. The end result will be a normal firefox and one installed in /opt/. Both can be started at the same time and are totally separated from each other.

  • Download the source file for a version of firefox. Possibly from here.
  • Go to a terminal and execute (I assume you have 1(!) downloaded tar file; change the "*" to the actual version if you have 2) and will start a 2nd instance of firefox from a terminal:

    cd /opt/ && sudo tar xjf ~/Downloads/firefox-*.tar.bz2  cd firefox  ./firefox  
  • Closing the terminal will also close firefox.

  • Create a new launcher. See How can I create launchers on my desktop? on how to do that. Or copy the normal firefox launcher (see /usr/share/applications) to a new name and edit it to start this version. If you change the icon you also get a different icon on the launcher.


Run firefox -P or firefox -ProfileManager.

You may then create, select, and manage your profile(s).

ff profile

See also How to create a new Firefox profile on Windows? (kb.mozillazine.org).

I could not find a similar page for Linux, but the options and screens are nearly the same.

To create an icon, create a desktop file as described in How to get my custom .desktop file into the unity launcher? (askubuntu.com)

Use firefox -P YOURPROFILENAME to start Firefox with the given profile.

You may find more info about Firefox's command-line parameters by reading its manpage (type man firefox in terminal).


Same as above, and if interested in learning why one should/could have several profiles, the following link has some additional information:

Multiple Firefox Profiles

Starting Profile Manager in Linux

If Firefox is already included in your Linux distribution or if you have installed Firefox with the package manager of your Linux distribution:

"At the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit. In Terminal run: firefox --ProfileManager

If the Profile Manager window does not open, Firefox may have been running in the background, even though it was not visible. Close all instances of Firefox or restart the computer and then try again."


You can open a new private window in Firefox (much like Chrome's incognito window) and use it simultaneously with normal browser with different accounts.


In a terminal type

firefox -no-remote -ProfileManager  

and create a new profile. Then start the desire profile with

firefox -P profilename  


The easiest way to manage profiles in firefox is installing the multifox addon.

URL: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multifox/

It works like profiles in Chrome but more smooth and better.
You can open up different tabs of the same site with different logged in users.

See attached:
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Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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