Fix Bad Firefox URL Suggestions

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Firefox URL suggestions are usually very helpful and a real time-saver. But I’ve been rather annoyed for quite a while at some of the suggestions that Firefox proposes while auto-filling the URL bar. There is one case in particular that never made sense to me.

Not quite fixup

This is going to be a bit of a corner case for most folks, so I’ll do my best to describe the situation. There is a feature called “url fixup” that tries to add a prefix of “www.” and/or “.com” to what’s been typed in to try and resolve a real site. But what about when the user starts typing www? Should the autofill suggestion be a site that’s been typed in before, but appended to the www? No.

I visit two URLs frequently and a third URL never because it returns NXDOMAIN. Because they’re work-related, I can’t give the actual hostnames so the ones used here are fake, but the order and arrangement will be the same. Let’s say the first two URLs are www.s___.com and s___.c___.com. The third URL that I never use is www.s___.c___.com. Firefox appropriately suggests s___.c___.com when I start typing “s…” in the URL bar. However, when I start typing “www.s…”, it very unhelpfully suggests www.s___.c___.com instead of www.s___.com.

Turning knobs

For a long time I tried playing with all the wrong options in about:config, related to fixup, urlbar, and others. Finally I came across a Mozilla Support page that had the right options to adjust. Although it doesn’t turn off the bad behavior, it does re-prioritize the list of suggestions to favor history and bookmarks. The keyword to use in about:config is frecency. Not sure where they came up with that word, but I’m guessing it’s a portmanteau of frequency and recency.

Anyway, I added 2000 to places.frecency.bookmarkVisitBonus, places.frecency.unvisitedBookmarkBonus and places.frecency.unvisitedTypedBonus. Like magic, www.s___.com is now the first suggestion!

Fix Bad Firefox URL Suggestions is original content from Devolve.

Author: Charlie Herron

Denizen of Portland, Maine; tech jack; lover / hater / whatever; philosophical dabbler.http://twitter.com/realgeek