Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I love the ability to just type something into Firefox's address bar and do a google search. But I was wondering if there was some way to customise what search engine it used?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

In FireFox, in your address bar type


and press Enter. Now look for an entry that's titled "keyword.URL", this is the config key that contains which search URL to use when you search through your address bar. If you double click the entry, you can change the value.

enter image description here

By default it should be set to google, which uses this query URL: http://www.google.com/search?&q= It's possible it's a bit different but it should be similar.

Some examples for search engines' query URLs:

Google: http://www.google.com/search?&q=
Yahoo: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=
Ask: http://www.ask.com/web?q=
Bing: http://www.bing.com/search?q=1

If you want an other search engine, and don't know the query URL, do the following:

  1. Go to your preferred search engine (E.g. Google)
  2. Perform a search with an easily recognisable keyword like "HELLOWORLD"
  3. In your address bar, there should be an URL containing your keyword. For Google it would be something like http://www.google.nl/search?q=HELLOWORLD&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:nl:official&client=firefox-a
  4. Now just delete everything after the "=" that's just before your chosen keyword. Your query URL for Google would be: http://www.google.nl/search?q=

    enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Simple and easy to follow. Thank you! I'd add, though, that some might be scared by the message they get right after they press 'Enter' after typing 'about:config' in the address bar. There's a warning saying that pressing 'Enter' might void the warranty. If one follows the above instructions exactly, nothing wrong can happen, so just press the 'I'll be careful, I promise!' button and enjoy using the browser at your own terms. –  user157366 Sep 10 '12 at 10:12
You might want to use 'https' instead of 'http' in these URLs. If you add 'https' the contents of your searches is encrypted, and all search providers support it! –  MichielB Sep 16 '12 at 18:47
On a related note, you can use the FireFox DictionarySearch add-on to set up a bunch of different searches that are accessible by selecting some text on a web page and right-clicking and selecting one of them from the menu that pops-up. I have a number of them for sites like Amazon, Netflix, and Wikipedia which I set-up using more-or-less the same technique described here for determining the URL to use. I highly recommend it. –  martineau Sep 16 '12 at 18:56
Before doing the above, to save switching between tabs, do this: CTRL + T which will give you a new tab, then drag this new tab outside of the browser window. Now you can do it side by side –  adolf garlic Mar 4 '13 at 10:07

protected by slhck Sep 16 '12 at 18:41

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.