How to Login to Paragon 4 MLS with Firefox

Monday, September 15th, 2008
Last Updated:
Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

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If you are a real estate agent or maintain the computers for a real estate company, you are probably pretty familiar with the FNIS MLS online product: Paragon 4 MLS.

Being a technology consultant, I recommend to my customers that they stop using Internet Explorer and jump onto the band wagon of Mozilla Firefox. Not only does Firefox have thousands of addons to choose from, it also helps prevent spyware and malware from ever reaching your computer.

Most likely, you have reached this page because you have either switched over to Firefox, or you would like to switch to Firefox but haven't quite jumped the hurdle of getting Paragon MLS to work with Firefox.

Though I do not know the exact coding language of Paragon, I am guessing it is primarily an .asp back-end with some sort of Active-X control. Since Active-X is proprietary to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, you can't use Firefox for these types of websites. Regardless, Paragon look kinda goofy in Firefox...

Since the wonderful programmers at Fidelity MLS Solutions have agreed to only support Paragon for Internet Explorer, this makes it pretty much impossible to use Firefox for logging into Paragon... Or is it impossible...?

I recently helped a friend with a client, who is a real estate agent for the Wichita area. I had heard that Paragon wasn't too friendly to Firefox, but I didn't have any real experience with it until a couple of weeks ago at about 4:00am in the morning. My first thought was to make IE highly secure, add the local MLS site as a trusted site and create a shortcut straight to Paragon, instructing the client to use IE only for Paragon. But then it hit me...

Since Firefox allows a host of addons, one of my favorite (but not often used) addons is a rather small but power addon called: IE Tab. Once this addon is installed, it let's a person open just about any website they wish, into a new tab that is actually rendered by IE. So, you have a new Firefox tab that is actually calling on Internet Explorer to view the page! Believe it or not, it works like a charm for Paragon!

So, here are the steps for getting Paragon to work in Firefox:
Note: (This is assuming you already have Firefox installed)

1. Open firefox and go to the IE Tab page located at:

2. Click on the Add to Firefox button to install the addon. (It will bring up a new box, count down from 3...2...1 then display install. Just click 'install' once it is highlighted and press Restart Firefox when it is done)

3. Installing the addon is the easy part. Setting IE Tab to automatically open the Paragon site is a little trickier, but not too difficult. Go ahead and open your Paragon MLS webpage. (It should look really weird at this point)

4. Click on Tools then click on IE Tab Options.

Image: Paragon IE Tab Options Example

5. You should see in the box next to "URL", the link to your MLS page. If the link is not the correct link, type it in and make sure it has the trailing '/'. For example, the local MLS site for Wichita is: If everything is correct, click Add, then OK.

6. Refresh the page to your Paragon MLS site and you should see the "Blue e" next to the website address at the top and your page should look just like it does in Internet Explorer. If it does you did everything right!

Well, this concludes the tutorial on How to Login to Paragon using Firefox! I hope it helps! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how it goes :)

Update 2008-11-26: I ran across this website which also explains how to login to Paragon 4 or other IE only websites.

Update 2009-02-06: Somewhere around the beginning of February 2009, Fnismls made some backend changes to the site which seems to be preventing "popup windows" from opening by using the Firefox + IE Tabs method such as adding a contact. An error pops up saying something about the Microsoft C++ Runtime Library's aren't working. I don't remember what the exact error was and I didn't have time to come up with a "fix" for the problem either. One of the things I did try to fix it, was by updating the Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Runtime to the 2008 version. This didn't help. My ultimate solution was to go back to using the true IE. If you are getting an error using IE saying something about the "connection manager is already open" download the fnismls system checker, run it on your computer, reboot and everything should work fine using IE.

Update 2009-10-27: I recently worked with my client and checked to see if anything had changed with Paragon on the IE Tab. For the most part, it works like a charm, however, anytime she goes into her contacts (I forget exactly where) She ends up with: Runtime Error! Program c:\program files\mozilla\firefox.exe
This application has requested the runtime to terminate it in an unusual way. Please contact the applications support team for more information.
Then Firefox dies a harsh and painful death...

I haven't had a chance to look into it but I'm hoping it has to do with installing some runtime libraries of some sort. I'm pretty sure she was on Firefox 3.5 too... If I find a fix, I'll post it :)

Rant time:
I realize that it is kind of costly at this point for FNIS MLS to re-do the Paragon system and move it toward a more "universal" system, but I mean come on... When will "big" companies realize that IE is no longer the powerhouse? FNIS MLS is FORCING you to buy and use a Windows based computer because they are either too lazy or don't want to spend the money to upgrade their system to one that is universal among all browsers. It's almost like your real estate board telling you: "If you want to have a license to show, research or sell a house, you MUST buy and use a Ford Pinto". Who knows, maybe they are updating the Paragon system to get away from being proprietary to IE... I highly doubt it though... (ok, I'm off my soapbox)

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Apparently realtors are excluding everyone who does not use Microsoft Windows! BAD MOVE!

I run Ubuntu 11.04 and have been converting family and friends to use Linux in place of the unstable and insecure Microsoft Windows platform. I am NOT alone in this.

I have even spoken with Microsoft Technicians who've converted hundreds of friends and family to Linux systems.

First of all, this is a pretty cool trick. I am an agent who did not know about this.

Second thing is that I have been a user of the Paragon System since the days of Paragon 2. I find it hard to believe that everyone likes to think of Paragon as a website. Paragon is a web application. It does so much more than just display pictures and text. The complexity of the system is astounding. Back in the early 2000s the technology used to create Paragon was only available in one browser (and until recently, that has not changed much). I can't imagine telling everyone that they would have to buy a Mac (which isn't even close to being universal) or force them to install additional software. Being the tech guy for the office too; what a support nightmare.

Which brings me to my other rant. Why do people continue to rag on software developers for not supporting multiple browsers? Why don't you all yell at Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, etc. for not adhering to the true idea of the internet and browsers; which was the passing of information across the world. FNIS and other companies are just reacting to a poor decision by browser developers to fight with each other. In my mind, they made the right decision for the crummy circumstances.

And FNIS has been working hard to rewrite the application in a new more universal language. But it is hard to do so without loosing functionality.

*** END RANT ***

You make an excellent point and I would like to agree that Paragon is a web application as opposed to a "website", but the vast majority of folks who will ever visit Paragon, don't know the difference between a Website or a Web Application. To them, it's all the same, not to mention the internet population as a whole doesn't have a clue on what's what... Most people aren't going to know the difference between Java or Flash, php, asp or html, nor do they care. You throw out the term "png" to them and they'll look at you funny. They just want their "website" to work and in my case of supporting real estate individuals, I want the Paragon "website" to work on a browser other than IE. It is inferior, despite the recent upgrades, insecure, slow and my clients tend to call me less when they don't use IE as their primary browser...

I have to disagree that the only browser that could have supported an application like Paragon, was IE. Even back in 2000, Java was a staple of the internet and a platform independent solution that could have done everything that IE has done. Maybe not everything as well, maybe some things better, but I just don't agree that MS was the absolute and only answer to writing a web application such as Paragon. MSJVM has been around since I believe IE4 which means IE has natively supported java (or atleast their idea of java) since 2000 (or before). I'm not saying that Java is "the platform to use", I'm just making the point that it could have been a viable solution.

I will also have to agree that I shouldn't be so harsh towards the developers. The developers are there to code what they are told. Rather, I should actually be putting the blame at the project coordinators and upper management. They failed to plan for the future which was to create a platform that would extend beyond the mediums of 2000. I will interject here though and give them the benefit of the doubt in saying that M$ held a very tight hold in market share not only on their OS, but the IE market as well. (Even though their business practices between windows 95 and 2000 were pretty evident that they wouldn't remain a powerhouse forever...) It wasn't until the last few years that their IE market hold dropped below 90%. I will also say that no one could have foreseen the future of the internet back in 2000. Though the internet and web standards were pretty well established by 2000, the internet as a whole was still in it's infancy. IMHO, I still believe the internet is in it's infancy compared to what several companies (Microsoft, Google, Adobe & others) are pushing for the internet to become, but on the same token, it has come a long ways from what it was back in 2000.

I just think that the project coordinators of Paragon should have seen this coming (and they probably did) which leads to the stubbornness of upper management who more than likely only looked at the immediate monetary gain of the platform and not the long term gain.

Many companies in general have failed to look forward and now they are paying dearly for it.

I'm not trying to top your Rant, I'm just trying to provide some good content for debate :)

The reason Paragon isn't supported on multiple browsers has nothing to do with technological limitations and everything to do with the fact that the National Board of Realtors is a monopoly. If Paragon had to compete with any other system, it would work in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, and any other modern browser you could come up with. As a web developer, that is a huge part of my job, and all you have to do is look around at the web and see the plethora of web applications that are cross-browser compatible to see that it's standard practice to ensure this compatibility. Paragon is not that complex; not nearly as much as applications like Google Docs or Facebook, and they've been cross-browser compatible from the very beginning (early 2000s). It shouldn't be that hard for a national organization with huge amounts of money coming in from member dues to come up with something that runs entirely inside a browser without any extra plugins and without compromising browser-compatibility.

Yes, it's annoying that browser developers don't stick rigidly to standards, but that's always been the case and professional web developers have always had to deal with this. Paragon's developers would do the same if they were forced to compete.

I have been using this following your tutorial and its been working fantastic. I have the newest version of firefox and i'm using paragon! maybe its the newest version of ie tab that made it work.


I was greatly inspired by your tutorial regarding Firefox/Paragon. Too bad its not working anymore. Of course, Paragon is working out a lot of bugs with the new release that affect IE, so if we get lucky maybe they will inadvertently fix the Firefox error. Paragon is about the only thing keeping me from switching to Ubuntu on my laptop, though I've been able to do just fine on another machine by running XP under VirtualBox. At one point, I was able to get Paragon to work on IE on Ubuntu. I installed IE6 on Ubuntu using IEs4Linux. After a couple of weeks it quit working correctly. Probably another Paragon upgrade.

I'd love to hear if anyone comes up with a solution. Thanks for offering your help to the Realtors!


Very good post, thanks a lot.