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How to make Duckduckgo the default address bar search engine in Firefox, Opera and Iron

A year and a half ago, I posted about how to configure Opera and Iron so that the omni-bar/awesome-bar uses Scroogle as the default search engine. Today Scroogle has been down for like 36 hours, so I guess it’s time to update this with another search engine. And in the process I’m adding instructions on how to configure the Firefox address bar search engine. I write this for Duckduckgo, but of course instructions are fairly similar for any alternative, except that you need to figure out the query URL (shouldn’t be too hard as most search engines use GET rather than POST).


In about:config, edit the keyword.URL setting: set its value to That’s all already (for the address bar). For the search bar, just install this add-on.

Iron (should be the same for Chome)

In Iron options got to Basics → Search → Manage search engines. Then add a new search engine as follow:

  • Name: DuckDuckGo/em> (you can choose another if you want)
  • Keyword: (you can choose another if you want)
  • URL:

Finally, click on “make default”. Also note that you can avoid the typing by just going to DuckDuckGo and then clicking on “Chrome” at the bottom of the page. Step 3 of their mini-guide has a script to automatically add DDG as a search engine (but you’ll still have to set it as default manually).

Opera 12.x (doesn’t seem to work on that terrible Opera 15)

For the detailed manual way, see my previously mentioned post about adding Scroogle. The easy way now: it should already be in your search engine list. Unroll your search engine bar, click Manage search engines, select duckduckgo and click edit. Unroll the detailed view and check use as default search engine.

If you don’t already have DDG (quite unlikely, but who knows…), it’s even easier, actually: go to DuckDuckGo, right click on their search box (not the Opera search box, the DDG website search box) and click Create Search. Enter d for keyword (you can choose any, but that’s the way DDG suggests, and that’s how it is on my default Opera installation), and check use as default search engine.

Voilà, all done 🙂

Posted in Chrome/Chromium/Vivaldi, Firefox, Opera, privacy.

17 Responses

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  1. denis says

    Thank you! спасибо!!!

  2. patheticcockroach says

    Wow, I’m impressed with my memories from my very distant Russian lessons: I did manage to read “spassiba” 😉

  3. aderojas says

    Thanks! This is the only way to force tourself to try a different serach engine 😉

  4. patheticcockroach says

    Well, for me it was rather a way not to accidentally send data to Google. I usually don’t use the awesome bar, most often when I do it’s by accident (mistyping a URL).

  5. Anonymous says

    this do not work on opera mini

  6. van dingaling says

    thanks. will recommend to everyone. sick and tired of gestapo-gogle

  7. Anonymous says

    Merci! =)

    BTW: I “found” a solution for Opera Mini … nearby 🙂

  8. NobodyImportant says

    Doesn’t work for Opera 21.0. If you add custom search engines there is no option to “set as default”. It seems both Firefox and Opera are trying to force you to use certain search engines and there is no workaround that I can find which is viable.

  9. NobodyImportant says

    Oh, forgot to mention (in detail) that this no longer works for firefox either. keyword.URL is deprecated in the newer versions of firefox. It does not work, neither does creating your own string value “keyword.URL”. There was an extension for firefox made that validated the custom creation of keyword.URL but it no longer works either. I’m not sure why but it seems like firefox and Opera are literally trying to force us to use their preferred search engines.

    • patheticcockroach says

      Yeah, Opera based on Chrome is totally screwed up… I still haven’t found out how to set DDG to default (like you, I’ve been able to add it, but same issue: no way to set it as default). I wasn’t aware of that keyword.URL thing in Firefox either, since I stopped using the awesome bar after having too many issues with it (I don’t really remember what exactly was the problem).

      Sad news indeed. Quite unexpectedly, Iron is the last of those 3 with the ongoing possibility to customize the default search engine… (at least as of version 33)

  10. Brian says

    I seen to be blocked from installing DuckDuckGo

    • patheticcockroach says

      Which browser? In the current Opera, I’m not sure it can be set as default anymore. I still use Opera 12.x.

  11. kenubekat says

    THANK YOU! I didn’t have the correct settings, especially for the URL. Once I used what you showed me I finally got the “make default” button to appear. Whew! so let’s see how DuckDuckGo does — I’m looking forward to it!

  12. LK says

    I’ve been searching for this solution seemingly forever and today I found your instructions. Thank you very much!!

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