Preventing Firefox from ‘fixing’ your URLs

Published March 4th, 2008

In the office where I work, we have a number of in-house development and utility servers, some of which use truncated domains: for example, our Trac installation is reachable by using just the domain http://trac/, so in fact you can just type ‘trac’ into the address bar. Quick to type and easy to remember.

However, if for some reason the server fails to respond in a timely manner, Firefox tries to be clever: it thinks “Ah, the user is just being lazy, I can help!” and it automagically prepends ‘www.’ and adds ‘.com’ to the end of the URL. The result? I end up redirected to some random site thinking “Crap, what’s happened to our Trac server?” until the penny drops.

This annoys me, and every time I install a new version of Firefox I have to remember to disable the behaviour. Except I always forget which configuration directive is responsible. So for my future peace of mind, here it is:

  • In the address bar, type about:config
  • Filter for fixup
  • Make sure that browser.fixup.alternate.enabled is set to false

And there you have it.

For more information about this and all Firefox’s many other, exciting about:config entries, check out this Mozillazine FAQ.

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