My ISP is by-passing Firefox's Location bar search

User Help for Mozilla Firefox
Posts: 5
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 10:34 pm

Post Posted April 27th, 2010, 11:22 pm

Hi All,

I just got back from 10 days abroad and noticed my Firefox at home was acting oddly. My preferred way to go to many websites is simply to type their name into the location bar, and then let Google's "I'm feeling lucky" feature take me to the actual site. I realize this might not be the most conventional way to do it (sure, I could have bookmarks etc.), but it's they way I like to do it.. I also use KDE's Alt-F2 launcher to start programs.

Today I noticed that this great feature of Firefox (combined with Google of course) has stopped working, and has instead been replaced with an add-laden search result from another website. For example, typing in just "slashdot" into the location bar used to get me to the Slashdot website, but now I end up with this instead (full size version):


I've confirmed that my keyword.URL setting is still pointed at Google, so this must be happening at the traffic level, I would imagine either by use of a web proxy or something to do with DNS lookup, which makes we wonder if this new 'feature' my ISP (Netvigator by PCCW in Hong Kong) has introduced is also affecting my privacy?

Is there anyway to get Firefox working the way it used to again? For me using that feature was my main way of visiting websites, and it's really annoying that I can't do that any more. In addition, the search provider my ISP is forcing on me does not seem to know about many websites, I would rather be receiving result from Google when the word typed does not have an obvious site match, not from

As a last though, if other ISPs start doing this too, will it have any affect on the deal Mozilla has with Google, as this effectively replaces that feature in Firefox, so the traffic does not go though Google anymore.

Any help or advise would be much appreciated.

Posts: 3912
Joined: July 30th, 2009, 2:42 am

Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 6:00 am

Try these solutions to reset you search engine.

Type about:config into your address bar and hit enter.

In the Filter field type “” without the quotes.

Click on it, Reset.

Then, in about:config Filter field enter “keyword.URL” without the quotes.

Make sure the preference keyword.URL is set to the site you want to use.

Or, right-click on the URL, hold down the Ctrl key while you click on keyword.URL, select reset to go back to the original settings.


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 8:13 am

Try changing your DNS servers to google's publicly available ones. and


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 8:18 am

Virgin in the UK were doing it to me.. They had an opt out link though (hidden at the bottom of the page).


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 8:22 am

"Try changing your DNS servers to google's publicly available ones. and" and, according to Google (


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 8:42 am

Netvigator's nameservers have started returning IP addresses in the range - instead of NXDOMAIN.

I suggest blocking these four IP addresses in your firewall.


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 9:55 am

I use keywords in the address bar like you do. I think it is the way a web browser "aught" to behave myself. Safari, IE. ( I haven't used Opera in years) Bug me with the we can't find this page or all we did was add .com to the end. I personally think its safer this way for the typical user when typing in popular keywords. Lots of fishing education websites will teach you that if your worried about a website being safe Google for it and verify it against the top hits which are normally not fishing websites. Not sure fire, but it helps my mom out and Firefox is just allowing us to do that more directly.

A few ISPs in the US have done this. Suddenlink in Northern Louisiana (USA) does this to my parents, but they usually have an opt out link. If they don't just switch name servers to everydns, google, or one of the many public name-servers available. Hope this and the few other responses help.


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 11:56 am

ignitus wrote:I personally think its safer this way for the typical user when typing in popular keywords.
It's not.


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 12:09 pm

If you want, you can hit Ctrl-Enter and most browsers will automatically add the "http://www." to the beginning and ".com" to the end of your location bar entry. In Firefox and possibly others, shift-enter adds ".net" instead, and ctrl-shift-enter adds ".org". Handy.


Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Yes definitely a DNS-based attack on your sanity.
Your browser does not search first, it DNS-es first, and your ISP DNS is now giving a search response to all unknown DNS queries. A Piece of Search, from the looks of it. I use OpenDNS, and it does this as well, though it appears to use Yahoo or Google for its results (the subcontracted results look identical from those two so I can't really tell.)

Max Taxi

Post Posted April 28th, 2010, 8:49 pm

It's seems they are only do that to home user, I've tested it using business navigator, typing slashdot in location bar in firefox under windows, it redirect me to

Posts: 5
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 10:34 pm

Post Posted April 29th, 2010, 12:15 am

I can confirm that too, at the office everything is still normal, at home it's not, I guess businesses might kick up a fuss if they noticed, but most home users wouldn't even know anything had changed.

I really hope they add an 'opt-out' feature, its pretty annoying, and sadly in HK there is no real choice on ISPs, I used to be on a smaller one but they got sold to PCCW!

I like the idea of using a different DNS server, and from what I gather, that would fix the problem.

Blocking those specific IP addresses (as suggested by SpaceHunt) is also a good idea, will try when I get home and see if Firefox's behaviour goes back to normal.

Thanks for all the suggestions.


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Joined: October 19th, 2007, 10:19 am

Post Posted April 29th, 2010, 10:20 pm

Here's a slashdot article on the subject, there might be some bright ideas
Last edited by FatJohn on May 7th, 2010, 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.


Post Posted April 30th, 2010, 12:04 am

Call up PCCW on +852 1000 and ask to opt out, they can do that on an account basis. So I suppose not altogether that bad.

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Joined: April 27th, 2010, 10:34 pm

Post Posted May 2nd, 2010, 1:28 am

I called them yesterday, and they promised to fix 'the problem' within 15 mins. Was on hold for over 45 mins :-(

As of 24 hours later, the problem still persists. Going to try the other solutions in this thread now.

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