How to Change the URL Address Bar Search on Firefox

By Aaron Parson

Mozilla Firefox includes a feature that redirects incorrect URL addresses to a Google "browse by name" search to help the user find the correct page. If you prefer a regular Google search or another search engine entirely, you can edit Firefox's configuration to search elsewhere. Though this setting requires altering Firefox's "config" page, it requires no special knowledge of coding, only a search string copied from your search engine of choice.

Step 1

Browse to the search engine website you want to use for Firefox's address bar.

Step 2

Perform any search using the site's search bar. The searched text does not matter.

Step 3

Click in the address bar and locate where in the address your search query appears. Delete the searched text and replace it with "%s" without quotes.

Step 4

Select the entire address and press "Ctrl + C" to copy it.

Step 5

Type "about:config" into the address bar and press "Enter."

Step 6

Click "I'll be careful, I promise!" if a warning page appears.

Step 7

Type "keyword" into the "Filter" bar and press "Enter."

Step 8

Double-click on "keyword.URL." Press "Ctrl + V" to paste the search string you copied earlier.

Step 9

Press "OK" to set the new search action. Close the page.

Tips & Warnings

  • To disable the address bar search feature, double-click "keyword.enabled" on the "about:config" screen. The line will turn bold and read "false."
  • Reset the search behavior by returning to the "about:config" screen, right-clicking on "keyword.URL" and clicking "Reset."
  • A similar feature, "domain guessing," attempts to fill out incomplete URLs instead of performing a search. Enable or disable this feature by typing "fixup" in the "about:config" filter bar and double-clicking on "browser.fixup.alternate.enabled."