Visualize blue https sites in Firefox 3 in a better way

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 22, 2008
Updated • Jul 19, 2012

Firefox 3 introduced a new coloring scheme and design for secure websites. You might remember that Firefox 2 displayed a yellow url bar when the user was accessing a https site. This changed drastically in Firefox 3 which is now displaying blue, yellow and green colors in the favicon area on the left side of the url.

To give you a practical example: If you visit you notice a large green bar in the favicon area that is displaying the name of the owner of the website. A visit of on the other hand is displaying a smaller blue bar around the favicon. Both are secure websites but one is dominant while the other is barely visible.

This can be changed in Firefox 3 so that the url of the website is displayed in the favicon are as well. To do that type in about:config in the Firefox 3 location bar and filter for the term browser.identity.ssl_domain_display. You can change that term to the following values:

  • 0 - the default value.
  • 1 - the top level domain is also painted in blue. e.g.
  • 2 - all of the domain is painted in blue, e.g.

Firefox 3 includes extra UI to convey information about a site’s identity. When a site uses SSL to encrypt communications, the user can choose to have a portion of the site’s URL emphasized in the UI. This preference determines how much of the site’s domain to display to the left of the URL in the Location Bar.

I set mine to the value 2 so that the complete domain name is shown in the favicon area.

Update: These values are still valid, even in the latest Firefox versions. You can edit the value with a double-click on the parameter row.

The default values have changed though. The default value is now set to 1 instead of 0. A value of 1 shows the effective top level domain along with the second level domain.

Update 2: Mozilla recently changed the way secure sites are displayed in the Firefox browser. Included in the change was the removal of the browser.identity.ssl_domain_display parameter. It is no longer available and creating it manually won't have any effect no matter which value you set the parameter to.

An alternative, albeit slightly different in functionality, is Safe for Firefox which highlights secure sites in the browser as well.


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  1. -=Ben=- said on October 18, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Thanks Martin, you are the best

  2. Ameet said on June 23, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    stylish code:

    #urlbar[level] .autocomplete-textbox-container > * {
    background-color: #D0F2C4 !important;

    This one is for green.

  3. Kane said on June 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Does anyone know how to turn this into stylish code? Thanks

  4. Nosh said on June 22, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Nice tip. Thank you, Martin. :)

  5. Scott Walsh said on June 22, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I was curious about the differences between the blue & green, so I looked it up. If anyone else is curious:
    (paragraphs 4 & 5)

    Also, it looks like they use blue & green only; they stopped using yellow because IE7 uses yellow to indicate “…a suspected phishing website.”

    Additional info about the Site Identification Button:

  6. Transcontinental said on June 22, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Nice tip, logical, and security related. Thanks

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