Firefox only: SiteLauncher makes it easy to access your favorite websites via hotkeys

SiteLauncher is a magnificent add-on for Firefox which not only gives you ease of use and marvelous simplicity, but also delivers free milk and cookies whenever its sensors detect that you’re getting hungry. Hey, one can always hope, right?

SiteLauncher allows you to easily visit your favorite websites in Firefox via hotkeys. You simply press Ctrl + Space (this can be changed) to open the SiteLauncher window…


…and then press the hotkey for the website you want to visit (i.e. from the above example, pressing “d” would open dotTech [.org]). Of course the websites you have set to work with SiteLauncher are fully user-defined so you can put whatever websites you want on there.

I’ve used SiteLauncher for a few months now and have found it to be a very invaluable tool. Not only does it allow you to get rid of that pesky Bookmarks toolbar in Firefox, but it gives you access to all of your favorite and most visited sites at the tap of a couple keys. Here are the full features as per the developer:

  • Create super quick keyboard shortcuts to URLs and bookmarklets you need access to often.
  • Instant visual feedback from the Launcher panel means no need to actually memorize anything but the one hotkey.
  • Just about any character key can be associated with a site, you’re not limited to a-z and 0-9.
  • Highly customizable appearance – change colors, sizes, transparency, etc.
  • Make use of shortcuts with visual feedback, using the Launcher hotkey; or without, using the Direct-to-Site hotkey.
  • Arrange and group related shortcuts to have them appear together in a visually meaningful way.
  • Set the Launcher to open sites in current or new tab
  • Optionally set the Launcher to appear on startup instead of a regular homepage

Impressive feature list, no? I can’t find anything wrong with this program, really. Its a very useful addition to a very useful browser.

You may download SiteLauncher from the following links:

Version Reviewed: v1.5.0, Released May 17, 2009

Supported OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

SiteLauncher Homepage [direct download]

[This article has been contributed to dotTech [.org] by Kinetix with minor edits from Ashraf.]

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  • J.L.

    It doesn’t even support Firefox 5. ShortcutKey2URL is a much better option nowadays.

  • Lawrie Cherniack

    This sounds great, but Firefox 6 (beta) as of today says that Site Launcher is not compatible with Firefox 6. Hoping it will become compatible when Firefox 6 is formally launched.

    Nice to have Ashraf back in full force!

  • Peter

    At first look I loved the SiteLauncher. But I have discovered that having SiteLauncer installed meant that I couldn’t type “@”. Or any other character that requires a [AltGr] click. Maybe it’s because I have a Danish keyboard layout, I don’t know. After uninstalling the problem went away.

  • Kraal FictionWriter

    Kinetix: A bookmark TOOLBAR? The only toolbar I have permanently active is TabGroups’. I have that Firefox menu thingy, the address bar, and the tabs themselves too. But I close any other toolbar I’m not currently using. (Including StumbleUpon)

    And bookmarks? I use the handy sidebar I can open on command and close when I want. The one that opens with a little button. I’m not a big fan of toolbars myself. They take up too much screen space.

    Sometimes the keyboard is just inconvenient. Unless I’m typing, I usually have one hand on the mouse anyway, so why not use it? Some key combos are difficult with one hand…(Ctrl-Alt-Del anyone? Not that /that/ particular one plays much a role with this add on…)

    SiteLauncher is as temporary as my bookmark side bar is. Open, click, close. Or, to streamline it more, I usually keep it open while I’m clicking through several links to pages I check a few things on, then close. The ones that don’t merit a dedicated Tab group.

    I will admit, though, that SiteLauncher looks better than the bookmark side bar. ;D

  • @David Roper: Haha, don’t worry about it. And don’t diss on Ashraf, or he’ll come get you! :P

  • David Roper

    Kinetix, please forgive me for not giving you the credit for finding this Gem.

    Who is this Ashraf character, anyway? ;-)

  • J. L.


    Thanks for article, Kinetix, I’ll try it out.
    Getting real tired of clicking the bookmarks toolbar accidently when using Tab Mix Plus.
    Gives me more screen space as well.

    Update: Works great!
    Thanks again.

  • @David Roper: “This is the best utility since sliced bread.” That’s what I was thinking when I first used it, and sliced bread isn’t even a utility! :P

  • David Roper

    OMG! Stop the presses. This is the best utility since sliced bread. I have been playing with it for the last hour and changing the keys to suit myself and my shortcuts and I can report this is all absolute heaven.

    No footprints on my desktop now. I have about 14 keys assigned so far.

    Highlight the key assignment in the default set not desired by you.

    Press delete to get rid of it. Easy.

    Easiest to go to the desired URL and then press CTL-Shft-S to add it.

    Thanks, Ashraf for this real Gem. love it.

  • David Roper

    This may free my shortcuts from my desktop folders idea which I am using now and still have 26 shortcuts as quick as two or three keystrokes and we all know that’s quicker than any rodent movements and clicks.

    Thanks, Ashraf.

  • giovanni

    Hi Ashraf!!

    What about EXECUTOR, a FREE program launcher powered by hot keys and keywords both customizable to an impressive degree??

    Unlike SiteLauncher it can also be used with IE 8 or Opera.

  • @Kraal FictionWriter: I like SiteLauncher because it allows me to get rid of the Firefox Bookmarks toolbar and free up room for others, such as StumbleUpon and Google Toolbar. ;) I also enjoy not having to use the mouse and just hitting a quick key combination and having a website open instantly. It’s just convenient.

  • Kraal FictionWriter

    Very neat idea. I wouldn’t use it anyway.

    First, my bookmarks are organized for quick access of the sites I use the most anyway. Two clicks of the mouse and I’m there. Compared to three keyboard buttons. (Aw…don’t bring moving the mouse into this! It’s negligent…)

    Second, I ALSO use the address bar, which has a couple of my most used sites I’ve typed in by hand. Again, two clicks.

    In Firefox, clicking with the wheel automatically opens a link into a new tab.

    I like bookmarks either way. I know that this add on is meant for most used sites, but imagine when you start to have over twenty sites you want to bookmark (or hotkey). Or 50. I use StumbleUpon. Thumb-upping a site bookmarks it into the bookmarks for me. And I tend to book mark most sites I think I would like to use or visit again sometime.

    Granted, I could use the add on for a few sites, especially ones I visit all the time. But why add yet another menu/path to get to those sites when I already use my bookmarks? And efficiently at that?

    All that said, I’m sure a lot of people will find this useful, and decide that it works great for them. Good find. =)

    Not to mention I also use the add on TabGroups, and make liberal use of it. I love TabGroups, especially as I can ‘save’ a group of sites and hibernate them for later use. Such as comparing or research. Check it out, it’s like temporary bookmarking!