Essential Chrome Extensions for IT Technicians

Chrome Extensions for SysadminsThe web is everywhere and there’s unlikely to be an IT technician anywhere in the world that doesn’t rely on it for many things, from research to marketing, communicating to accounting and much more. The primary means of navigating the web is of course the humble browser, an essential application which has progressed somewhat since the early days of Mosaic to the all singing, all dancing power tools of today.

A key feature of the modern browser is of course ability to extend it through the addition of an ever growing array of plugins, extensions, add-ons or whatever they are called by the browser you prefer to use. In this article I cover some of the most useful Chrome extensions for IT technicians…

Elastic Wolf (also here) – if you use AWS services on a regular basis you will find this plugin very useful as it allows you to manage your resources easily through a simple interface and also quickly switch between multiple AWS accounts.

VNC Viewer – from the makers of RealVNC (ie. the company that invented VNC technology) comes this excellent plugin with which you can access and control a remote computer (many platforms are supported) as if you were sat in front of it. Amazingly you can do all this through the browser, all that is required is that that the target computer has VNC installed.

RDP – when you need to remotely access a Windows machine, RDP comes in handy and this plugin implements RDP through your browser. You can run it on Linux, Mac, Windows etc and you can even have multiple connections open in parallel.

SSH – at first glance this sounds a bit dodgy, using SSH through a browser, however it is actually not dodgy at all and this particular extension was developed by Google themselves and of course is Native Client meaning it is sandboxed code running natively on your machine.

Mosh – this is an interesting project which I only discovered recently and you can read more about it here. Basically it makes SSH connections over unstable networks, such as wifi or mobile (the name actually derives from MObile SHell), much more stable and less laggy. It’s a drop in replacement for SSH itself and works really nicely although does require installation on the server side as well.

Shodan – a great utility which provide all sorts of info about a hosted site including what ports are open on the server which a site is hosted on when you visit it.

Is it Cached? – need to know if all your CDN and caching mechanisms are actually working when people visit the site? This plugin will let you know what is cached and what the http headers show.

IPvFoo – when you visit a site this plugin will show the server IP address, along with a summary of IPv4, IPv6, and HTTPS information across all page elements, scanned in real-time from the data stream.

FlashBlock – Not strictly speaking a sysadmin plugin, this one makes life easier for everyone by blocking all those annoying flash apps on a page which could otherwise cause mayhem in the browser.

If you use Opera and miss all those fancy Chrome extension you’re in luck! You can install Chrome extensions in Opera with this.

Hopefully you will find these browser plugins for sysadmins useful but stay tuned for part two which will cover Firefox add-ons for IT technicians!

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