Fix Firefox searching for local hostnames immediately - gHacks Tech News

Fix Firefox searching for local hostnames immediately

Mozilla changed the way the Firefox browser handles single word queries that are typed in the browser's address bar recently.

Firefox attempted to load a local host when you entered something like 867-5309 in the address bar of the browser previously.

The change redirects most entries that you type to the default search engine while doing a look-up in the background.

The reason for this change is that it speeds up searches for single-word queries significantly. Firefox users who don't work in a local Intranet with hostnames benefit from this as they don't have to prepend ? to the queries anymore to run a search for the term they have entered.

The disadvantage is that users who work with local hostnames may run into issues when trying to load those in the browser as they are redirected to searches.

Mozilla implemented a whitelist option in the browser. It works by displaying prompts on the screen when a lookup was successful for a hostname allowing the user to whitelist it so that it is opened instead of the search from then on out.

It is furthermore possible to add whitelist entries directly in about:config using the preference browser.fixup.domainwhitelist.name with name being the name of the local hostname. This needs to be repeated for every hostname that you want to whitelist.

firefox local queries

There are other things that you can do to make this more comfortable. If you work in an environment with a lot of hostnames then you may find the single whitelist approach time consuming as you cannot whitelist a bunch of names directly.

One option that you have is to add http:// in front of the query. This indicates to the browser that you want to access a domain and not run a search.

The second option that is currently available is to set keyword.enabled to false.

  1. Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful if the warning message comes up.
  3. Search for keyword.enabled and double-click the entry.
  4. Restart Firefox.

This returns the browser to the pre-change behavior. It will do look-ups for single-word queries that you enter into the address bar.

Mozilla is working on another solution. It is testing the preference browser.fixup.dns_first_for_single_words currently which, when set to true, will look up first before it runs searches.

This is not implemented yet in Firefox but will be in the near future.

Now You: Did you notice the change? What's your take on it?

Summary
Fix Firefox searching for local hostnames immediately
Article Name
Fix Firefox searching for local hostnames immediately
Description
The guide provides you with information on how to make Firefox look up hostnames first before running searches for terms in the browser.
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Comments

  1. Graham said on November 27, 2014 at 11:43 am
    Reply

    In my opinion Firefox is unusable with this bug. I use this extension to fix it:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/urlbar-search-fix/

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm
      Reply

      Thanks for the link!

  2. Latz said on November 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm
    Reply

    I noticed the change and find it quite annoying to have to type seven extra characters to access my local server correctly. I have never used to address field to do searches so the new behavior of Firefox is nothing but annoying.

  3. gdf said on November 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm
    Reply

    I noticed the change and find it quite annoying to have to type seven extra characters to access my local server correctly. I have never used to address field to do searches so the new behavior of Firefox is nothing but annoying.

  4. Patrick said on July 6, 2015 at 10:08 am
    Reply

    I noticed the change today when I tested our Firefox ESR packaging upgrade from 31.3 to 38.0.1. This is really a “no go” for Firefox ESR especially when it is meant to be implemented in companies and not for personal use.

  5. Mike Perkins said on September 13, 2016 at 7:31 pm
    Reply

    Quite so. This is one of the most irritating changes I have seen recently. Being surrounded by a room full of servers named after jewels, I do not want to be taken to a jewelry store each time instead. In fact, the whole idea of doing a search instead is bad. What’s wrong with a 404?

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