Click Whatruns and discover the secrets of your competition

whatruns
Whatruns screenshot (2019)

With the browser extension Whatruns, you can click to discover what makes a site run. Which platform do they use, serverside or clientside? Do they use a CDN? Google Analytics (hint: always!)? A necessary tool for any developer or anyone interested in knowing more about the Web.

Features

  • As always with an extension from the Chrome Web Store, the installation is a breeze.
  • Use it on any site, including Whatruns.
  • Do you blog yourself? See the themes and plugins your competitors rely on!
  • Useful for competitor analysis, sales intelligence, and website profiling.

Benefits Whatruns

The major benefits of this Chrome Extension are easy to divine: you get to pop the hood and take a peek at the machinery. Now you see just what technology your prospective new client or the company relies upon, so you can prepare yourself for that important first contact. Or the job interview. You know just where to invest your time and effort. And if you want to learn from their success: this is a quick and dirty way to stay ahead of the game.

Drawbacks

The information you get isn’t always easy to interpret, especially for someone without a background in coding. And for a real coder, there are a lot more informative ways to get to the heart of a strangers website: Devtools, for example. And also, if you really want to learn about alternatives to the products Whatruns discovers: don’t rely too much on their categories or background information. It seems arbitrary at best. You’re better of checking Alexa or the discover section of start.me.

Alternatives

There aren’t many alternatives to Whatruns, but the Chrome Web Store does mention Snovio web technology checker. With no more than 4000 installations, they can’t really compete with Whatruns, though. They clock over 175.000 installations. This inspires trust.

Final verdict

So there you have it: again an extension we propose to anyone who wants to get a quick look at the Internet that’s hidden in plain sight. Whatruns will astonish you, and help you become a better coder, if you’re so inclined. At the very least it will help you see through the CSS and visual spectacles, to get at the bottom or heart of things.

Use Speed Test by Ookla to know your bandwidth

Speed test ookla
Speed test ookla

There’s nothing more annoying while traveling or working in your favorite coffee shop, than coming across a slow internet connection. What’s causing the delay? With this extension from the Chrome Web Store, you don’t have to guess anymore: one click, and you see precisely the speed of your connection.

Features

  • Runs in a pop-up once you click it.
  • You don’t have to wait for it, after clicking, it runs in the background.
  • Use it with or without an account.
  • Information about Ping, Upload, and Download speeds.
  • Bonus: see how fast the website loads.

Benefits Speed Test Ookla

With a separate website and an entire suite of apps for all devices, this extension is more than just a speed test designed by one lone programmer. Based in Seattle Washington, acquired by Ziff Davis in 2014, it once offered a stripped-down version of a paid, premium service. Now programmed in HTML5, it’s the industry leader, as far as we’re concerned.

They’ve served over 21 billion speed tests to date, which is no small feat.

Drawbacks

The website this extension leads to, speedtest.net, is filled with obtrusive banners, which doesn’t inspire trust. Still, they might keep the service free of charge, which is a beautiful thing. In the extension itself, you’re not bothered with any of this, so we can live with it.

Alternatives

Some of the other options we’ve looked into are:

  • Speed Test by BridgeTroll (no update since 2017).
  • Easy Speed Test App by Wonderfull Ideas (you get a New Tab instead of a simple test extension; it doesn’t do anything when you click the icon).
  • Speed Test Internet by www.bandwidthtester.info (it’s mostly a bookmark to a webpage. It delivers results that seem unreliable).

You can find more alternatives, not just in the field of extensions, here: https://www.producthunt.com/alternatives/html5-speedtest-by-ookla.

Final verdict

When it comes to knowing more about the internet speeds you’re experiencing, there’s no real competitor. Ookla offers a free, reliable, and fast impression of everything you want to know. The company behind it seems legit and built for the future. You couldn’t go wrong here.

Full Page Screen Capture, click and save anything

Full Page Screen Capture
Full Page Screen Capture

We’ve been looking for this screen capture extension a long time. In the Chrome Web Store there are several different options. We have tried them all, but only this one really worked for us. Of course, you can use the Snipping tool (Windows) or the built-in utility tool (Mac), but for an entire web page, you really need this one.

Features

  • Fast and simple: one click to capture a full web page.
  • Privacy minded: not too many permissions asked.
  • You get a Pacman animation during the process.
  • Multiple formats, but not too many.
  • Many users & positive reviews.

Benefits Full Page Screen Capture

What we look for when installing a new extension, is simplicity and speed. This extension delivers both, also for large webpages with complex floating headers or iframes. When you right-click the icon you get some options, for example about the download location, the image format, and page size of the PDF. You’ll find some additional information about the permissions here too, but you can even ignore these options.

It’s a free extension that gets regularly updated by Peter Coles, a software engineer, based in NYC. Over 3.4 million users trust him with this extension, which they do for good reason. In his blog, he comes across as a sympathetic guy with a sense of humor. He’d hate to be this guy, for example. And he likes cute puppies.

Drawbacks

We haven’t experienced any bugs, even though we’ve used this extension extensively. When you download the page you’ve captured, you get a default name, including date and time of the screen capture. This is useful if you’re just interested in saving the page. If you prefer another name or structure, you have to do this manually for every page.

Alternatives

We don’t really see an alternative to this extension. The only one that seems to come close, is Fireshot, with over 25.000 installments, but for us, this extension just offers too much functionality. Who would want to make a PDF, and then annotate it in the same extension?

Another way to save webpages is through Evernote, who offers a complete Web clipper functionality too. There are also other options, like historio.us out there, but usually, you have to pay to get the full functionality.

Final verdict

There is no real alternative to this browser extension. It’s proof that one coder with a passion for helping out can make a difference. You can see this also on his website: mrcoles.com. Highly recommended!

Use SafeInCloud for your password collection

Screenshot SafeInCloud
Screenshot SafeInCloud

The problem with Internet security is that it’s a giant, opaque, frightening world of possible hurt. And costly too. Where do you start to protect yourself? What are your best options? In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with SafeInCloud, a browser extension that makes your password management easy and secure. And it’s almost free to use too.

Features

  • Free Windows and Mac apps for your computer.
  • Modestly priced versions for Android and iPhone.
  • No expensive subscriptions.
  • Save your passwords in your own cloud: the developer has no access to your data.

Benefits SafeInCloud

What we like about SafeInCloud isn’t just the price. If you were interested in nothing but saving a bit of money, you could rely on the save password function that’s built into any modern browser. And since many websites rely on an automated system of password retrieval, you could even decide to enter random passwords for every site, without bothering to remember them. A new password is requested almost without delay.

Still, with over 150 passwords in my SafeInCloud database, I see a clear advantage for trusting this data to a third-party app. What if you use more than one computer? What if you want to make sure you can use these passwords outside one single browser or on one device? The biggest benefits SafeInCloud offers is just this: save your passwords where no-one can access them but you. Fully integrated with important browsers and platforms. Safety couldn’t be cheaper.

Drawbacks

The programming of SafeInCloud seems robust and reliable. The extension makes it easy to find and save passwords for the sites you prefer to visit, but it still needs the program to function properly. Sometimes the dialogues aren’t completely understandable. If you lose your password, you lose access to all passwords: that’s a pain, but it just might happen. It happened to us. And then it takes some effort te re-install everything.

Alternatives

Besides the already mentioned built-in password functions in browsers, that aren’t safe at all, apparently, there are several paid options. Lastpass is a freemium solution, with an attractive family tier, so everyone will be safe and secured. If you want to understand what their free plan has to offer, you have to try it yourself, on their website is not much information. It’s clearly geared towards the premium plan. Dashlane is another contender for the prize, but it’s limited to 50 passwords, which makes it just about useless without forking out $ 36 annually.

You can find more alternatives on this site.

Final verdict

So, there you have it: in the almost completely free arena of reliable password managers, we really see no alternative. SafeInCloud might not feel as slick and user-friendly as it’s competitors, but it’s the next best thing. And it’s based on your own cloud, which is pretty much unique.

Write better texts with Grammarly

With Grammarly, your writing will improve dramatically. This browser extension grabs any information you type in your browser, checks it to an extensive database, and signals any segment in need of attention. Spelling, punctuation, grammar, it all gets a pass – or not, which is a good thing.

Features

  • Grammarly runs on many different platforms, not just in a browser. There are native apps for desktops and handheld devices (iPhone and Android).
  • Checks Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation, but also conciseness, and readability.
  • Premium features include a plagiarism checker, vocabulary enhancements, and more.
You can find more information on their premium page.

Benefits Grammarly

If you write in American, Canadian, or British English, this is the extension to install immediately. Also, if you write for the web and want to avoid the most obvious errors, you need to install this program. You’ll want to consider this, especially if you’re a lonesome blogger without a big editing team to assess your work. With Grammarly, you get some useful pointers with any text. It’s a genuinely fantastic program, especially with the premium features in place.

It integrates well with many browsers, but also with Microsoft Words, which is still the go-to solution for many writers. You install a small program, and then you get to use the same functionality of the extension, but natively in your word processor. Life couldn’t be better written down.

Drawbacks

The English language doesn’t always adhere to simple black-and-white rules, unfortunately. There are many grey areas where a writer has to opportunity to demonstrate her sense of style, her literary sensibility. With Grammarly, you get an absolute harmonization which might make your writing less erroneous, but maybe also less appealing. The punctuation favors a particular convention, even though an added comma might make a difference. You always get to accept or dismiss the suggestion the system gives you, of course. Still, I wonder if, in a few years, we might discover the Grammarly-effect in the shortlist of the next Man Booker Prize.

Alternatives

  • Prowritingaid (a complete suite of writing tools).
  • Whitesmoke (besides Grammar and Style checks, they also offer a translator).
  • Ginger (a complete grammar checker, including a learning center to make you a better writer).
You can find more alternatives to Grammarly on Hostingsprout.

Final verdict

There seem to be a few massive players on the market, that offer more intelligent feedback than the Spelling Checker you’ll find in the usual word processors. Moreover, since we write evermore online (Google Docs or WordPress), we need just the help that Grammarly offers. The price is quite steep, though (around $11), but still, we wouldn’t dare to write this blog post without it.