Firefox: Add HTTP Back To Address Bar

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 28, 2011
Updated • Mar 9, 2015

Mozilla recently made a few changes to the Firefox web browser that I personally do not like that much.

One of the things that the developers changed recently is the way website urls are displayed in the address bar.

HTTP websites no longer show up with the protocol http:// in front. Another change is that the core domain name is the only part of the domain name that is highlighted in the address bar. The subdomain, e.g. www. or directories are shown in a lighter gray tone.

Other protocols are showing up by default. If you visit https sites for instance you see the https protocol in the address bar. This makes sense as it acts as it helps the user identify that the connection is to a secure site.

Lets take a look at the way urls are displayed in the Firefox address bar.

firefox new address bar

As you can see, there is no http protocol in front, and the www part of the address is shown in lighter colors.

Disable URL Trimming in Firefox

browser urlbar trimurls

To modify this display, enter about:config in the Firefox address bar and hit the enter key afterwards.

First time users need to click the "I'll be careful, I promise! link" on the warning page before they can modify the settings.

Filter for the term browser.urlbar.trimURLs and double-click it on in the results listing. This sets it from True to False. The changes should be visible right away. Setting the parameter to False disables url trimming in Firefox so that the http protocol is shown on all tabs again.

Note that this affects only the protocol that is used to connect to the website but not the formatting.

Disable URL Formatting in Firefox

browser urlbar formatting enabled

To get rid of the light gray coloring of part of the domain name so that the full domain name is displayed in the same color, you need to enter browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled into the filter bar.

Double-click the parameter again to set it to false. This disables the url formatting so that the url is displayed in one color.

The change is visible right away. The url formatting should look like this one from now on (like it did in previous versions of Firefox were the feature was not used by default).

firefox address bar

You can reverse the effect by completing the same steps again. Basically, set both parameters to true and you have reversed the effect.

Firefox: Add HTTP Back To Address Bar
Article Name
Firefox: Add HTTP Back To Address Bar
Find out how to add http back to Firefox and change the url formatting so that the domain name is displayed in a single color again.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Ashok Sardana said on April 25, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Please let me know the mistake in my AD to let me rectify.

  2. FelixTheCat said on February 1, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Good tips are always welcome, thank you.

  3. Elljay said on December 31, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you SO much Martin! This LITTLE thing has bothered me BIG time for so long.
    I love those little hacks!

  4. محمد said on April 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Thanks Ghack :)

  5. Slelnecker said on February 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks! This was making it hard to do localhost development ’cause I couldn’t just hit reload to view changes.

  6. Andy R said on January 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    The lack of this causes many problems when devfeloping web applications – you forget to check whether you are on https.

    Why this had to be hidden I don’t know – was it really such a burden to the user to see http? Especially when they didn’t even need to type it to get it as default.

    This “hide anything remotely technical from the average user so it doesn’t scare them” is a bad attitude – encourages ignorance and discourages curiosity,

  7. Wil C. Fry said on November 26, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Thank you for this. I’ve often been frustrating when trying to create links because copying/pasting often doesn’t pick up the hidden “http://” (though it sometimes did, for some reason).

    Now, when creating links, I’m assured that I’m copying the actual URL.

    Another non-brilliant move by Mozilla.

  8. Herrin said on August 28, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Excellent thanks. When you’re developing a site over SSL or are a bit of a control freak you need the complete address!

    I think Firefox are kind of chasing Chrome too much as this came out soon after The big G removed it. I don’t like it and thanks for helping bring it back!

  9. bhl said on July 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I wonder how we can return the favicon to the address bar?

    Great fix, thanks.

  10. Anonymous said on July 19, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Mozilla are really pissing me off with all the small changes all the time. EVERY TIME I see an update, I don’t want it, because I don’t want to discover what annoying thing they did this time. And sometimes it’s not even reversible. :-(

  11. Zirneklitis said on July 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Thank You for very useful tip !!!

  12. Zoffix Znet said on July 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you!

    Not showing http:// part is the dumbest thing ever, and it seems Opera are the only ones who actually managed to do it correctly.

    And I’m surprised people point out the possible confusion of http and https, when with https you get giant bar saying so, right before the location bar. I also recall location bar’s color changing, not sure if I disabled that or it is simply gone.

    Thanks again for the fix. I wish the same option was available in Chrome.

  13. jeremy said on June 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    As a web developer using XAMPP, this is ridiculously useful because, for example, if I’m trying to access localhost/sitedirectory/file.php and I need to add something to the URL, say, localhost/stiedirectory/file.php?a=2 and hit enter it would register it was a google search. But with http added back on it doesn’t. Saving me some headaches, this is.

  14. Shervin said on May 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Thanks a lot.

  15. marjolein katsma said on May 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for this – one of the first things I stumbled over after “upgrading” (really?) to the latest and greatest. I absolutely hate not to be able to *see* the whole (i.e., real) URL, *including* protocol. Now I can – but I still think it’s a really bad decision on the part of Firefox to hide this – it ‘teaches’ people that a ‘URL’ starts with ‘www’. It doesn’t – and leads to lots of broken links!

    Now I need to figure out how to get rid of the extra ‘Tab Groups’ entry on the tabs dropdown menu – I don’t use (let alone want) tab groups, and I don’t want that menu item get in the way of the list of tabs… any idea?

  16. Andrew_C said on March 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    By not displaying the protocol they are actually going against best practice as outlined in the relevant RFC’s and standards . if Mozilla consider best practice as canged, which happens, they should submit an RFC to the IETF. They have not.

  17. Jamie Kitson said on March 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    What I want to know is what site you were browsing that was so terrible it had to be blurred?

  18. Anonymous said on March 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Man, I finally looked it up ofter months of PITA, many thanks.

  19. JS said on January 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks for providing instructions. Talk about a dumb couple of features.

  20. concerned_citizen said on December 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks, the http not displaying bugged me as well. It was certainly an annoying change since I went out of my way to discover a solution to change it back.

  21. Magnus said on December 8, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Thank you very much.
    I would be better if they asked before changing the looks of the browser…

  22. Tim Monfries said on December 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

    i found the removal of the http prefix particularly annoying when dragging & dropping urls between apps. Thanks for the fix!

  23. BobbyPhoenix said on December 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I really don’t see the big deal. If you don’t see HTTPS: then you know it’s HTTP:. And for those who say links don’t copy as links you’re wrong. It’s something with your settings if it doesn’t work. It works fine for me. I use it all the time. I just did it with this site. It shows “” in my browser, BUT when I right click, and copy then paste, I get this “”. Clearly the “http:” copies.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Have you tried dragging and dropping Bobby? If not, try it.

      1. BobbyPhoenix said on December 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

        Ah yes I see now. Hm I never did that before. I always just copied it. Touche’

  24. Ray said on December 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    This Firefox change has been realy hacking me off , thanks for the information, I am now back to where I want to be. This worked a treat.

  25. rudhal said on November 23, 2011 at 10:53 am

    but what is the use of the http:// even if site open fines without it,,

    1. Brian said on November 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      The main problem that has already been mentioned here is that if you copy and paste a URL from your address bar, it will NOT be a clickable link in just about every IM client, Word processor, email, or anything else.

      Additionally, it is extremely inconsistent to have “ftp://” and “https://” but not have “http://”.

  26. Joeh said on November 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Very good ! This was bugging me to no end. As part of my job, I cut and paste a lot of URLs, that little adjustment Firefox did was slowing me way down having to type in http:// each and every time into other forms.

  27. CT said on November 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you – this has solved a very irritating quirk simply and easily.

  28. Sean said on October 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks a ton Martin! The missing “http” really bothered me.

  29. Gwynston said on October 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    (Sorry to reply to myself AGAIN…)

    Manage to track down that my issue is an open bug in Firefox:

  30. Gwynston said on October 10, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    (Sorry to reply to myself…)

    What I’m describing was changed for this reason:

    Someone towards the end of that comment list complained for a similar reason to me, but the discussion was seemingly stopped before conclusion.

    I don’t know if it was taken any further?

  31. Gwynston said on October 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for this – works a treat!
    But there is one more thing that’s still annoying me. The auto-complete search results from previous URL history also seems to ignore the whole url.

    e.g. if I have these in my history of previously-visited URLs history:

    If then start typing the URL “” the autocomplete dropdown menu will include both of those above possible matches. Whereas the previous behaviour would have been only to match because I didn’t start off by typing “abc.”

    This is important for me when doing website testing because our internal test website is like but our live site is like and I often manually type URLs to test certain pages and I don’t want possible links to both sites being offered at the same time.

    So it seems the part of the URL that the new FF functionality deemed unimportant enough to color gray are omitted from the search filtering. I tried looking through the other browser.urlbar options but can’t see an obvious setting to change the behaviour.

  32. Mike said on October 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for this tip- the dropped ‘http’ drove me crazy when copying URLs and this fixed it. Thanks again for this!

  33. Ken said on October 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you Thank you Thank you… I aggregate 100 news articles a week into a paid subscription newsletter. The drag and drop did not pick up the http:// unless a remembered to drag the icon… Without it my links from the database fail and I was looking at many hours to hard code a check stop. I owe you a beer!

  34. computerhacker344 said on October 5, 2011 at 8:29 am

    For those asking why you would ever need this?

    Simple. For sharing URL’s, if I simply drag and drop the urls without http on it, they do not auto link and appear as just plain text, it’s a pain to have to append the http:// on it just to get it to hyper link.

    This change was stupid IMO and they need to leave it alone.

  35. Kurt said on October 5, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Martin: Thanks for the tip!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

      You are welcome.

  36. John said on October 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    REALLY like this tip: many thanks !

  37. Tom Smig said on October 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    First of all I did not get a warning page to click on anything. I was able to get the http to appear, but was unable to get rid of the gray formatting in the url bar.

  38. kees said on October 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm


  39. Peter said on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I agree, put the http back as a default in the next release mozilla + add the status bar back.

  40. TA said on September 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks for this tip!

    I appreciate all your tips, reviews and articles!

    Thank you!!!

  41. Jim M said on September 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you… this was butting me too. You never know what causes stuff like this with all the malware out there.

  42. Brian said on September 29, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Thanks a lot for this fix!

    Why did Mozilla even do this? Was it a copy-cat thing since Chrome and Opera did it?

    And why was I opted-in to this option? I hate when software developers think I shouldn’t be asked if I want to stop using features/options that have been standard FOR YEARS!

    HTTPS and FTP are still shown yes, and that makes it all the more reason to keep showing HTTP since it keeps consistency. All the sudden I’m am surfing some strange HTTP-less protocol….”Oh my goodness what happened my INTERNET?!!”

    And how about having a checkbox in the Options for crying out loud? I DON’T WANT TO GO INTO about:config!!!

    /stupid rant

  43. montuos said on September 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks once again for solving my problems for me before I’ve even noticed I have them! ;D

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      You are welcome ;)

    2. Crodol said on September 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Same here! Didn’t notice it…
      Actually I might give it a try as it is but it makes me feel safe to know I can change the behaviour anytime.

  44. kktkkr said on September 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I was looking around for the change until I suddenly realized I had Locationbar² installed. I had it configured to not hide any protocols, and that overrode the default formatting in Firefox.

  45. Anonymous said on September 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Do i understand it correctly that the Firefox add-on HTTPS Everywhere does the same ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      No, this extension forces sites to use the https protocol instead of the http protocol. This is just a visual change.

  46. BobbyPhoenix said on September 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    It’s not need, so they removed it. Like you said when you are on a secure site you see HTTPS, so you know if you don’t see HTTPS, then it’s only HTTP. Why would you need it displayed?

  47. Frank Burkhardt said on September 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This was annoying me also. Thanks for the quick fix.

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