How to Change Your Default Search Engine in FireFox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer

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Why would you change your default search engine? I always have to change it because my browser forces me to use the local version of Google (I am installing the browser from abroad) and thus I need to switch it to

Or, you might download a software update and miss that it changes your default search engine. Either way, it is a pretty easy fix! (You can also switch off the personalization of search results or change it to an alternative search engine.)

Change Default Search Engine in Firefox

In FireFox, you can search using both the search box and the address (URL) bar.

Change the default search engine of Firefox search bar:

Firefox search box doesn’t have the default search engine as we understand it. What you need to do is the following: just click the drop down arrow next to the search engine icon and select a search engine (you can see your current default search engine in bold). Firefox will remember your choice and use the selected search engine from now on (until you change it again).

Change Default Search Engine in Firefox

Create a new search plugin for your search box:

To create a new search engine for Firefox, follow these steps:

  • Copy and paste the Google search query URL string;
  • Use {searchTerms} as placeholder for your search term:
  • Go to and use the form (click “Show full instructions?option) to create a search plugin for your search box
  • Paste your search URL in the “URL” field and provide all the extra details (name, email, etc):

Customize Google with search plugins

Change the default search engine of FireFox address bar:

With FireFox, you can search simply by typing your search terms in the address bar (that’s where you see your current URL). In this case, the default search engine will be used to search.

  1. Open about:config in Firefox (if you doing it for the first time, you may have to promise you are going to be careful)
  2. Search for keyword.url from the filter box
  3. Double click on this entry. It will open a dialog where you can edit the ‘keyword.url’ string
  4. Change this string to whatever you want it to be:

Change the default search engine of FireFox address bar

Change Default Search Engine in Google Chrome

  1. Navigate: Settings (icon) -> Options and click “Manage” next to your “Default search engine“
  2. Select your preferred search engine from the list and click “Make Default” button.

Create your own search provider and make it the default one:

In the same dialog box, click “Add” button and then fill in the details:

  • Name: The name for your new (default) search engine
  • Keyword: Allows you to access it directly from the address bar (Smart Keywords in FireFox)
  • URL: Add the URL of a search result page here, and use the placeholder %s to show where the query should be

Change Default Search Engine in Google Chrome

Change Default Search Engine in Internet Explorer 8

If you are using Internet Explorer 8, your default search engine is likely to be Bing. Here’s how you can change that:

  1. In the search bar, there is a small arrow to the right of the search icon (magnifying glass)
  2. Click the arrow and then select “Manage Search Engines”
  3. Select the search provider you prefer
  4. Click on ‘Set as Default’ button

Alternatively, if you are doing this after a fresh installation:

  1. Click the arrow and then select “Search for other search engines”
  2. A page will be loaded that lists all available search engines
  3. Install any of them and, if you want it to be default, check “Make it a default search provider”

Default search engine in ie8

Create your own search provider and make it the default one:

You can also create your own search provider which is quite easy:

  1. Copy-paste the Google search query URL string
  2. Use TEST (capital letters) as placeholder for your search term:

Change Default Search Engine in Internet Explorer 8

Happy searching!


Image Credits:
All images in the article are screenshots taken by the author at the time of writing.
Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
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  • R Bromilow

    I like this post, it keeps things simple and informative. personally I like to use Firefox and Google as my browser and search engine choice. Sometimes I might use Chrome or IE for development purposes but I always prefer Google over other search engines.

  • Ray Fellers

    Good information. I tried to find the url for Google US search but could not. It is so aggravating to always have my search default based on IP location when I want to search the US results. I guess I'll have to stick with using a proxy until I can find the needed url.

  • Nick

    Thanks for sharing this informative information as this wasn't so necessary but good to know. thanks good one..

  • Waleed

    Good work

  • Steve Jobs

    For experts or SEO professionals, this is given information but for those people who are new to internet this is precious information. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing this for all those people who needs to know this.

  • hacking sites

    Good Information which is simple and informative,i like to use firefox as my default browser.

  • John Miller

    Easy way to change google chrome’s default search domain:
    1. Close google chrome
    2. For Windows 7 users go here: C:UsersuserAppDataLocalGoogleChromeUser Data. Pls Note that “user” is whatever profile name you are using.
    3. For Windows XP users go here: c:documents and settingslocal settingsapplication dataGoogleChromeUser Data.
    4. Look for a file called Local State. Open using notepad.
    5. Look for all instances of the domain you dont like e.g. Replace with what you want to use e.g Save file.
    6. Enjoy!

  • Cassidy Stockton

    Thank you thank you thank you!!

  • simon

    Thanks, that made it easy for me!

  • Bluey

    Thanks a bunch! I was having a lot of trouble with this. You really helped me out a lot.

  • sved29

    Update firefox changed my search engine in the address bar on I use google, thanks so much for your help =)

  • Nikki Sanchez

    Thanks so much 🙂

    I was tired of the results I would receive when I was trying to do a quick search and typed items in the address bar, true the search box is to the right, but I love options!

  • Yonas

    thanks a lot! It worked

  • Kirill

    Hello there, i have trouble in Firefox with Change this string to whatever you want it to be, if i change to anyway many results i have in, why?

  • Stephen A.

    Thanks, worked great for Firefox. I changed mine to for privacy, I hope people switch over so google can’t spy on us/sell our information anymore

  • walter s

    I have tried and tried it does not work for me. I do not want ask i want google any suggestions?

  • KiwiRob

    Bing is the only option given. ‘Find More Providers’ comes up with ‘No Results’. Cut & paste – as described above – has proved impossible. Help!!