How to Change the Default Firefox Address Bar Search Engine

When you accidentally try to search from the address bar in Firefox it may default to an unexpected search engine. I unfortunately do this all the time, instead of using the built in search from at the top right of Firefox’s interface. It may come as a surprise to you that when you perform a search via the address bar, accidental or not, the search provider is not the same as the one you have selected in your search bar.

No, the answer lies in the cleverly hidden Firefox configuration settings. which you can access by typing about:config into your address bar:

Changing the default Address Bar Search Engine

After you have typed about:config hit ENTER, your screen should look something like the image above. You now need to find and change the setting for keyword.URL, an easy way to do this is to type some, or all, of the words into the filter box. This can also be seen in the image above. Now you should see a filtered list of config settings, now double-click on the entry titled keyword.URL

Now you can enter the default search engine that you prefer. For best functionality you should use your favored providers special search URL – this varies from engine to engine. For ease of use we have provided some common ones below:

  1. DuckDuckGo: http://duckduckgo.com/?q=
  2. Bing: http://www.bing.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q
  3. Yahoo: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=
  4. Ask: http://www.ask.com/web?q=
  5. Google: http://www.google.com/search?&q=

We recommend trying a default engine other than Google. Google’s search results have become really bad in recent years. They are riddled with spam, and crappy content farms like eHow. Google refuses to put real people on the job, continuing to rely only on their algorithmic approach. Something we are very critical of. Give DuckDuckGo a go for a day – It’s a good alternative :)

2 Comments

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  1. Thank you, I’ve just done this and set my default to Bing.

  2. Great! Bing is my preferred search engine these days, too.

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