How to add custom search engines to your web browser

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 10, 2016
Internet, Search

The following guide walks you through the steps of adding custom search engines to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Vivaldi, Opera, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer.

The guide covers the major browsers on Windows and may apply to browsers that share code as well (think Pale Moon or Waterfox).

All web browsers ship with a default search engine that is used for searches, and a number of search engines that you may switch to directly from within the interface.

While the default search engine a browser ships with may be the one that you want to use, chance is there that this is not the case.

For instance, you may not want to use Yahoo Search, Bing or Google Search for privacy reasons, and prefer or instead because of that.

How to add custom search engines to your web browser

The browsers are sorted alphabetically.

Google Chrome

chrome default search engine

Google Chrome picks up any search engine that it comes across while you are browsing the Internet.

This means that you don't really need to add new search engines manually to the browser as most may have gotten picked up automatically.

You can still add custom search engines that Chrome did not pick up though.

  1. Open chrome://settings/searchEngines in the browser.
  2. Chrome displays two groups of search engines: the default search settings, all engines that Chrome ships with or were added by you as default search engines, and the other search engines.
  3. You can make any search engine the default by moving the mouse over the entry, and selecting the "make default" option.

If the search engine is not listed, scroll down on the Search Engines settings page until you come to the end. There you find fields to add a custom search engine to the browser. Add a name, specify a keyword (optional), and the search URL.

Internet Explorer

search provider

Internet Explorer uses a complicated system to add search engines to the browser.

  1. Tap on the Alt-Key, and select Tools > Manage Add-ons from the menu bar.
  2. Switch to "Search Providers" in the window that opens.
  3. Click on the "find more search providers" link near the bottom of the page.
  4. Browse the available search engines listed on the page, and click on the "add" button next to the search engine that you want to add to Internet Explorer.
  5. Reload the manage add-ons window in Internet Explorer to refresh the search provider listing.
  6. To make the new search provider the default, select it and click on "set as default" afterwards.

Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge search engine

You can add any search engine to Microsoft Edge that uses the OpenSearch technology. To do so, visit the website of the search engine and wait for the page to fully load.

  1. Select the menu icon in Edge's interface afterwards (the three dots), and from the context menu Settings.
  2. Scroll down until you find "Advanced Settings" and click on the entry.
  3. Scroll down again until you find the search preferences there. Click on "change search engine".
  4. Select the search engine that you want to make the default, and click on "set as default" afterwards to do so.

Mozilla Firefox

firefox add custom search engine

You may add many search engines that you come across while browsing the Internet via Firefox's search bar. This requires that it is displayed on the other hand, and it won't work with all search engines you may come across.

Firefox indicates that you may add a search engine to the browser with a green plus icon in the search bar.

Click on the icon and select "add name of search engine" to add it to Firefox. This adds the search engine to Firefox, but does not make it the default.

If you want to make it the default, select "change search settings" from the menu, or load about:preferences#search directly in the address bar of the browser.

firefox search

There you may select one of the available search engines as the default one.

Opera Browser

While Opera is based on Chromium code just like Google Chrome, it uses a different system to add custom search engines.

The browser does not pick up search engines automatically, but you may add custom search engines to Opera manually.

opera create search engine

Right-click on any search form on websites and select the "create search engine" option of the context menu.

Simply click on "create" in the window that opens to add the search engine. You may change the name or keyword if you prefer them to be different though.

If you want to change the default search engine, you need to load opera://settings/searchEngines in the browser's address bar to do so. Please note that the selection is limited to the search engines that Opera ships with.

Vivaldi Browser

vivaldi add search engine

Vivaldi offers two main options to add search engines. The first is probably more comfortable, as you interact with the search field in the browser's interface to add a custom search engine.

Simply visit the website that you want to add to Vivaldi. This can be a search engine but also any other site with search functionality -- Ghacks for instance.

Right-click on the search field of the site when you are on the site, and select "add as search engine" from the context menu.

vivaldi add search

This opens a small overlay on the site to customize the search engine. You can click on "add" right away if you don't want to customize it, but may add a "suggest url" and a nickname to the search engine on top of that.

The suggest URL is used to display suggestions while you type, and the nickname allows you to run searches on the search engine when you start the query with the nickname. The latter is useful if you don't make the search engine the default of the browser.

The second option that Vivaldi offers is to add search engines on the browser's search settings page. Load vivaldi://settings/search/ in Vivaldi to open the search settings.

There you find listed all known search engines that are currently available in Vivaldi. A click on "add new search engine" opens the same dialog window that you get when you add search engines directly on websites. The only difference is that all fields are empty which means that you need to add the custom search url manually to add it.

How to add custom search engines to your web browser
Article Name
How to add custom search engines to your web browser
The guide provides you with information on adding custom search engines to Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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