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 customize what search engine Firefox used?

  • The user asking this question was last seen here Apr 5 '11 at 7:31... Can we say this his an "hit and run" question? :-/ – climenole Dec 17 '14 at 12:31

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

| improve this answer | |
  • 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
  • 6
    THIS SOLUTION NO LONGER WORKS IN FIREFOX – Ashildr Dec 2 '13 at 12:50
  • Whatever you select using the dropdown menu to the left inside the search text box, such as "DuckDuckGo" becomes the default in the address bar and in about:home page. Internally it changes browser.search.defaultenginename and browser.search.selectedEngine. – maxpolk Nov 4 '14 at 2:33

Starting with version 34.0.5, this can be changed by going to Options Search

(source: mozilla.net)

It can also be changed programmatically, although this is more difficult. The search engine setting is now kept in the Profile Folder, in a file called search-metadata.json. Example

  "[global]": {
    "current": "Google",
    "hash": "fGiy1O53LgQtereW/4qUSlwFfagTNKGghURIbAFw8wY="

The hash can be created by using this example Bash script

disclaimer="By modifying this file, I agree that I am doing so only within \
Firefox itself, using official, user-driven search engine selection processes, \
and in a way which does not circumvent user consent. I acknowledge that any \
attempt to change this file from outside of Firefox is a malicious act, and \
will be responded to accordingly."
printf "$profile$provider$disclaimer" | openssl sha256 -binary | base64

This change was discussed at Bugzilla and can be found in the source code.

| improve this answer | |

The option of Keyword.Url, as of FF23, has been removed.

The address bar (1) and the search bar (2) share the same settings. So, if the search bar is set to Yahoo, then so it will be when you search (see screen below)

enter image description here

To add a new provider to the list which affects both the 'awesome bar' (now called location bar I think) and the search bar, choose the engine from the search box drop down arrow (beside the Purple Y for Yahoo! (near to the number 2))

However, as it currently stands, it looks like the Keyword.Url parameter has been removed. There is nothing which replaces it (in the same area).

I found a plugin https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/keywordurl-hack/ (instruction on setting up



This is speculation but I believe this functionality was removed to prevent search hijacking.

There is also additional search options with the latest Firefox, if you right click in any (most/some) search boxes, even the one at the top of this SU page, you can "Add keyword to this site". This will then let you choose the search engine from the 'location bar' (pictured as 1) and add your search phrase by typing in the bookmark name you gave.

And here is the reasons fully behind the decision https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=873734

| improve this answer | |

I had this problem when the default search UI changed in the latest version of firefox. When I changed the default search in the search bar, the search from the address bar also changed.

For instance, this... Firefox - change default search engine

Results in this... Firefox - search from Awesome Bar

However if you want to choose which engine to use each time, then you should go with the solution from @harrymc

I hope this helps.

Search bar

| improve this answer | |

In Firefox 34 the search UI has been changed, but one can still use keyword search in the address bar, even though the "Edit Keyword" option has disappeared from the "Manage Search Engine List" dialog.

One can, for example, open up http://www.bing.com/ and right-click the search-field to get :

enter image description here

Choose "Add a Keyword for this Search...", which will get this dialog :

enter image description here

Enter "bing" as the keyword. Now you can write in the address bar :

enter image description here

And get this :

enter image description here

For Google, one can use the same mechanism and maybe define the search keyword as "g" for brevity.

If you wish to delete such a keyword, this can be done from the Bookmarks menu.

| improve this answer | |

I have confirmed this works on FireFox 34.0.5 on OS X. This is the latest stable release at the time of posting this answer.

In the default menu layout, there is a search box to the right of the address bar. On the left side of this search bar, is the logo of the current default search engine. To choose a new default search engine, click the logo, then select a new default search engine from the drop-down menu. The default search provider is then used for all searches made from the address bar.

New search engines can be added from the Mozilla Addons site, By clicking the 'Add "[Site Name]"' option in the menu (compatible sites only), and by using the method described in @harrymc's answer.

| improve this answer | |

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