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.

This article was first seen on ComTek's "TekBits" Technology News

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