How To: Force Firefox 7 (and higher) to show HTTP:// in URLs

Firefox 7 was released a few days ago. Among other changes, one of the “improvements” made in Firefox 7 is that Firefox no longer shows the HTTP:// part of a URL when visiting a website, e.g. if going to http://dottech.org, Firefox will show dottech.org in the URL/address bar:

(This behavior does not occur when visiting an HTTPS website, i.e. Firefox still shows HTTPS:// in the URL/address bar when visiting a website that uses HTTPS; so you don’t have to worry about not knowing when you are on a secure site and when you are not.)

Call me a creature of habit, but I find the lack of HTTP:// in my URL/address bar to be very, very annoying. True for all practical purposes I can think of there is no reason to show HTTP://, but it just annoys the heck out of me to not see it there. So I figured out how to force Firefox to show HTTP:// in all URLs and am here to tell you how you can do it, too.

It really is very simple:

  • Open Firefox.
  • Type in about:config in the URL/address bar and tap Enter on your keyboard:

  • At the next page click on the I’ll be careful, I promise! button:

  • At the next page, type browser.urlbar.trimURLs into the “Filter” box:

  • You should now see the browser.urlbar.trimURLs setting. Double click on it (you can also right click and then select “Toggle”):

  • After you have double clicked on the browser.urlbar.trimURLs setting, make sure the “Value” is “false”:

That is it. Once browser.urlbar.trimURLs has been set to “false” Firefox will start showing HTTP:// for all URLs in the URL/address bar.You can close the tab/window you had about:config opened it — it automatically “saves” so there is no need to click any save button.

Old habits die hard.

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63 comments

  1. hobo

    Thanks for the tip, Ive just changed back to using Windows after battling with Apple’s horrible OSX for 4 years. The new version of FF v22 has removed the “http://” . Great to have it back as I do a lot of address bar url copying…cheers

  2. Where is the HTTP

    Yes, why in the H*LL does FF not show the http? even worse, it does not copy when you are attempting to copy paste. In fact, I have noticed in FF10 this to be iconsistently copying (sometimes the unseen http:// gets copied with the www url and sometimes not. Everyone who does development uses Firefox and this is one stupid freaking aspect. Put it back, please.

  3. ddarkocean

    Thanks what a stupid thing for fire fox to do. >:( glad that’s gone.
    Now how about a page to turn off the stupid forum auto fill drop list thing? Sometimes I make typos and having that thing put in the wrong password/member name on sites is another annoyance! Please email me if you have a tip page for that thank you. – vaporlight@netscape.net

  4. Josh

    I copy a lot of URLs out of my address bar using click and drag (saving CTRL-C/V or other such clipboard disrupting methods) to Wiki markup all the time and the loss of HTTP:// meant I had to hand add it back in or the markup wouldn’t render it as an external link correctly.

    Like all such ‘advances’ in software programs, I have no problem with them trying different things, adding features, or trying to clean up the presentation. I just wish they’d leave us the option to return certain ‘features’ to their original functionality more often…and I mean a simple switch in the options, not something you have to dig online for.

  5. Anak

    I updated to FF 9.0.1, and then went to check the “browser.urlbar.trimURLs” setting and it was already set to “false”.
    I am thinking it is a profile carryover from when I changed it in version 8.

  6. 47oldtimer

    Hi to all
    Remember http is a name/pocedure/protocol to carry bytes/datas. If there is no protocol mentioned, how should someone know it is using the correct one. So http is neccessary in front of the rest …

  7. Anak

    @Dee: Dee it is, really very simple.

    Scroll back up to; “It is really very Simple”, and start there.

    One suggestion, open a new tab before you start.
    Then follow the instructions to open the “about:config”

    Once it opens after you promise to be carefull, Copy/paste – browser.urlbar.trimURLs – into the “Filter” box.

    That way you can go back to the first tab in order to follow the instructions.

    Anak

    p.s. I do not know how this will turn out. I added some clarification

  8. Flossie

    Thanks for this tip. To me removing the http:// is a security issue, the FF developers have just given phishers another mechanism to attack in order to fool people into thinking they are somewhere they aren’t. I want to be certain that the URL i’m seeing is the complete URL, with the trimming function switched on, I can’t be certain of this.

  9. Ellen

    THANK YOU!!! This change in Firefox was driving me NUTS! I am a webmaster who works with a few content management systems that don’t play nicely together (yet!), so I regularly have to copy-and-paste direct URL’s from one system to the other. After this most recent update, sometimes the http:// would magically be there when I pasted, sometimes not… DROVE ME NUTS, I tell you! Thank you thank you thank you!

  10. CimmerianX

    All software companies are ‘dumbing down’ software for mass appeal and ease of use. Understood. And if it helps people get into tech, then I’m all for it.

    But Goddammit if I want to see it there, then I should be able to see it there and nobody should be calling me an idiot for wanting it there either.

    And for the record, I want a goddam status bar. I want a goddam menu bar. If I want to waste a little space at the top to separate the title from the menu from the tabs from the nav buttons, that’s my config. You don’t want it there… good for you. But I like my workflow and I shouldn’t have to change it because some hipset marketing person thinks it’s better.

    I configure my stations the way I want them….not the way other people think I should have them.

  11. Anak

    @Steve: You need a little faith.

    All FF is doing is hiding the prefix, if it is always there after you paste then that is not unpredictable behaviour.
    Once you get used to it, it will become your new comfort zone.

    I will agree that any new change can be dis-concerting at first, but the great thing about our species is that we can learn and adapt.

  12. Steve

    The most annoying part is that in the address bar, the http:// is missing, but then when I do a copy & paste, the http:// is magically back. That is unpredictable behavior and slows me down as I check every time if it actually copied it or not.

  13. Luc Laroy

    @Anak:

    Well, yeah, it all depends on the object you have to handle and what you want to do with it, isn’t it.
    The major problem with applications is that you need more than one of them and have to continuously switch between them as none of them can do everything you need.

    I found after some little experiments that Awesome is extremely limited for what i want to do
    (like no background behind your annotation so you need enough blank space for it, no font or text size editing, no real photo quality, cropping only part of the visible screen without scrolling …).
    I’ll just use it for the scrolling shot, but send it to my Faststone editor which has lots more features.

    Picpick has the same problem with the new Firefox as the other programs I previously mentioned…
    but otherwise does seem to have some possibilities.

    FWIW : if no editing is needed, I use Screenshot Pilot : it is tabbed , plus no need to save them first (if you don’t want), just make a series of shots and then copy/paste them directly into your PIM or text editor or whatever. Very handy !

    Man, am I glad that I still kept good old Firefox 3.something in its portable version and without auto-update. It pays now !
    I forgot to specify that last time, but there all screenshooters do still work like a charm.
    And there was a good cookie manager for it as well, that too is lost in this infamous ‘progress’.

  14. Anak

    @Luc Laroy: You are welcome!

    Between the two I mentioned. Picpick, and Awesome I have stayed with Awesome. I like how it eliminates the need to send it to an editor to add annotations.
    When done you can save it from there.

    No problem on the delay…..

    “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
    John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy” English singer & songwriter (1940 – 1980)

  15. Luc Laroy

    @Anak:
    Anak, thanks a huge lot !
    Did not try that Picpick yet and will now go and have a look at Techsmith, but the Awesome thing really is … awesome indeed.
    I used to have Faststone Capture, Easy Capture, Screenshot Pilot and Screenshot Captor at hand ; they all do more or less the same but not in such a flashy way. (Easy Capture does scroll, but never did in Firefox)

    Thanks again, and sorry for the delay (was off for a while).

  16. Anak

    @luc laroy:

    I just installed this as an add-on:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/awesome-screenshot-capture-/
    Version 2.3.3, Released September 2, 2011 543.7 KB, Works with Firefox 4.0b7 – 7.*.
    I believe the asterisk beside the 7 indicates that it is beta, but with my limited testing it seems to work okay for now.
    I have Win7 Home Premium x64, using FF 7.0.1 x32

    It installs a menu button to the upper right of my FF 7.0.1 Address/Search bar, and onto the right-click context menu for FF. It gives you three options;
    Capture Visible part
    Capture Full Page (without the need to scroll)
    Discover similar Sites
    And, a chance to set options for a .PNG or .JPG save of your capture, plus two settings for Hot-Keys.

    After you make your visible or full selection a new tab will open where you can make any customizations you would like. Crop, add text, change colors, along with six tools.

    When done (click on the button), you can save your screenshot either on the developers two sites or to your HDD. If you change your mind there is a back button at the top to save to the HDD or close the save window to save on-site.

    I also found this site to help with Snag-it:
    http://techsmith.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/523/~/scrolling-capture-feature-of-snagit-is-not-working.

    Anak

  17. charles

    @James:
    Listen James, I like the full address in the address bar. I’m sick of the continual drift in just about everything to assume that the user has no technical interest or an eye for detail and correctness. In other words just tarring everyone with the same broad brush of ignorance. What’s worse is people such as you who like to say that anyone who opposes such “progress” is a luddite. I think you’re the luddite. In any case how am I a luddite? I’m running the latest version of Firefox on a very modern six core machine I built myself. I’m a nerd and a geek and proud of it but not a luddite. Furthermore I thought the “P” in “PC” was for personal… If I want it that way I will. Also wasn’t the web about empowering the individual? If you had it your way it would be one size fits all dumbed down to suit the village idiot.

  18. luc laroy

    Thanks a lot for that info – learned something again.

    I noticed an other annoyance following that Firefox ‘upgrade’, and this one is really irritating :
    making scrolling screenshots has become just impossible …
    It’s not the screenshooter : I use different apps for that, and exactly since that moment none of them does it any longer in Firefox, whereas they all keep on working nicely while copying in other applications.

    Now in FF the full screen is auto-selected instead of letting me point at the part to copy.
    (the border of that selection is only visible for its bottom and sides, not the top).

    I looked in that about:config, but don’t seem to find something related.
    Maybe any suggestion ?

  19. XFox Prower

    I don’t find the lack of the ‘http://’ to be a bother. However, what follows is a glitch where the it won’t copy when you copy a url from history after typing a partial url. It will copy from an already loaded page.

  20. Squirrelly

    Thanks for the fix! I agree, not only is it annoying, but I feel it is just technically wrong, in order to try and make it simpler and dumb it down. And functionally, the copy & paste is a big one. Posting to sites, sending urls to people over IM, putting them in emails. People will have to constantly edit those, so that they’ll be correctly hyperlinked for the receiver, and not force them to have to manually copy and paste them to open it in a browser.

    Also I do tech support, and people 90%+ of the time seem to always type the address you tell them to into the search bar instead of the address bar. The only way I can get them to find the correct place is to tell them to “look for the line at the top starting with ‘http’, that’s your address bar.” That would be good no matter what browser they are using. Now I’ll have to tell them not to use Firefox until they fluent with all its features, know about protocols and how they work, and basically know enough not to need to call me for support in the first place. :-P I don’t want to imagine trying to walk a person that can’t find their address bar in the first place through doing this fix to find it.

    I really hope they change this to default to off, and let people who understand what it’s doing and where to find their address bar, and want this, to turn it on then.

  21. potato

    For those who has not discovered yet, the “http://” is still copied even if you don’t see it. In fact, Firefox will automatically do a couple of conversions to the text for you too. For example, if the URL you copied contains some non-ASCII (such as UTF-8) characters, Firefox will helps you encode your URL to %xx%xx formats, where xx are some hexidecimal codes.

    However, in order for all these “prefix with http://” and “automatic encode URL” magic to work, you have to select the whole URL. If you only selected part of the URL (such as the domain name only), it won’t work. That said, I believe this is a feature rather than a bug, for example you don’t want Firefox to add “http://” for you if you only selected the path name or the query string (second half of the URL).

  22. LPJ

    Thanks for the information.

    I understand the trend in web browsing to “dumb” it down for the masses, so Firefox is following Chrome’s lead and cutting out all the “geeky” stuff by default. In addition the immediately re-enabling the “http” per your info, I also brought back the status bar (staus bar 4 evar) when they took it out. It would drive me insane without having it there as it’s been for me since, well.. the 90′s.

  23. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @James: Who still types http://? I don’t. I don’t even type www anymore, unless a website won’t load without it. This is about seeing http:// in the URL once a page has loaded for 1) Habit purposes and 2) Makes it easier to copy + paste URLs.

    @throkr: You are welcome!

    @Jeanjean: I am not sure exactly what changes where made in FF7 but some it seems something significant was changed because my Roboform is acting up, too, even after updating to the latest v7.5.0.

    @Emrys: Yeah, I find this to be annoying in Chrome, too.

    @Seamus McSeamus: I suppose everyone has their own tastes; I am glad to hear your feedback on this issue.

    @Anak: You are welcome!

    @jayesstee: Off the top of my head? No, but I may look for some other ones to post about.

    @James: TBH this is the first time I have encountered that word, but from your usage it didn’t sound like something I want to be. :-P

    @lukas: Hmm? The solution is in this post on dotTech. :-P

    @Tony Tutone: Hmmm… are you using an unofficial portable version, like from PortableApps?

  24. James

    @jayestee – the definition of luddite as “any opponent of industrial change or innovation” has been around for decades. I certainly see software updates as a form of industrial change/innovation. Usually in this connotation it is used somewhat facetiously, as I was doing here, since the original Luddites were rather extreme in their views and actions.

  25. Anak

    The about:config can be very useful in a lot of instances to correct Firefox (ff) behavior.

    When I upgraded to ff 6. the History would not accumulate any sites that I had visited, and Recent history would not save sites for any of the individual sessions.
    I searched for history settings in about:config, and found the offending entry, and modified it to change the behaviour.

    Whether or not this new behaviour will affect my surfing remains to be seen. I do make sure to check for https when needed.

    Thank you Ashraf for a timely article!

    Anak

  26. Seamus McSeamus

    I have to say, the lack of http:// in the address bar doesn’t bother me. I know it’s still there even if I don’t see it. Still, nice tip on how to have Firefox show it for those who do want to see it.

  27. throkr

    It does not really disturb me but, thanks to your article, I know now how to do “the trick” … :-)
    Anyway, http is not needed for searches, so I already took the habit … (as James mentioned it above).

  28. James

    Well, that’s just silly. I absolutely love your site and all that you do, and it astounds me to see that in some instances, you are an absolute curmudgeonly luddite.

    I have zero problem with the http not being there, and do you know why? Because more than a year ago I stopped typing “http://” whenever I wanted to go directly to a site (that was not in one of my dozen speeddial tabs, that is), and that was so liberating! I felt stupid, in fact, that nobody had told me earlier that the “http://” was unnecessary because it was an antequated part of the web. I have never needed it since, so it was annoying *to me* that it was still there and I am so glad it is gone. Really, it takes all of about three times of typing in a URL without the “http://” for you to get used to it, and once you start that, not SEEING it will feel refreshing.