How to Change Default Search Engine on w3m Browser

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

How to Change Default Search Engine on w3m Browser

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

How to Change Default Search Engine on w3m Browser

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

If you're a fan of the command-line interface, you may have come across w3m - a text-based web browser that is perfect for browsing the internet without any graphical interface. However, by default, w3m comes with Google as its default search engine. If you'd like to change your default search engine on w3m, stay tuned as we guide you through the process step by step.

Understanding w3m Browser and Default Search Engines

What is w3m Browser?

W3m is a terminal web browser that has been around for over two decades. It was first released in 1995 and has since become a popular choice for users who prefer a minimalist browsing experience. One of the key advantages of using w3m is its ability to work in the commandline. This means that users can browse the web without the need for a graphical user interface (GUI).

Another advantage of using w3m browser is its speed. Since it is a text-based browser, it consumes less bandwidth and loads web pages faster than traditional browsers like Chrome or Firefox. This makes it an excellent choice for users who have slow internet connections or limited bandwidth.

Why Change the Default Search Engine?

Google is the default search engine on w3m browser. Although Google is a great search engine, some users prefer other options like Yahoo or Bing. Changing the default search engine on w3m is easy and can be done in a few simple steps.

One of the main reasons why users change their default search engine is to maintain their privacy. Google is known to collect data on its users, which can be used for targeted advertising. If you're concerned about your privacy, changing the default search engine to a privacy-oriented option like DuckDuckGo is a great way to stay anonymous when browsing the web.

Another reason why users change their default search engine is to improve their search results. Different search engines use different algorithms to rank search results. Some users may find that they get better results from a search engine like Bing or Yahoo compared to Google.

Overall, changing the default search engine on w3m browser is a simple process that can greatly improve your browsing experience. Whether you're looking to maintain your privacy or improve your search results, changing the default search engine can help you achieve your goals.

Preparing to Change the Default Search Engine

Changing the default search engine can help you personalize your browsing experience and make your searches more efficient. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to change your default search engine using the w3m browser.

Installing w3m Browser (if not already installed)

If you already have w3m installed on your computer, you can skip this section. Otherwise, to install w3m:

  1. Ubuntu/Debian: sudo apt-get install w3m

  2. Arch Linux: sudo pacman -S w3m

  3. Fedora: sudo dnf install w3m

  4. macOS: brew install w3m

Once you have installed w3m, you can open it by typing w3m in your terminal.

Identifying Your Preferred Search Engine

Before we can change the default search engine, we need to identify our preferred search engine. Some of the popular search engine options are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Choose the one you prefer and ensure you have its search URL.

Google is one of the most popular search engines, known for its accurate and comprehensive search results. Bing, on the other hand, is known for its beautiful interface and its integration with Microsoft products. Yahoo, a pioneer in the search engine industry, offers a variety of services in addition to search, such as email and news. Lastly, DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that does not track your searches or collect your personal information.

Once you have decided on your preferred search engine, you can find its search URL by performing a search and copying the URL from the address bar. For example, if you search for "best pizza in town" on Google, the URL in the address bar will be

Now that you have identified your preferred search engine and its search URL, you are ready to change the default search engine in w3m.

Changing the Default Search Engine in w3m Browser

Now that we have everything we need let's guide you through the process of changing your default search engine in w3m.

Accessing w3m Configuration Files

The w3m configuration file is located in your home directory and is named .w3m. You can access it using a text editor or terminal:

nano ~/.w3m/config

Modifying the Configuration File

Once we have access to the configuration file, search for the following two lines:



Replace the search URL in the SEARCH_ENGINE environment variable with your preferred search engine URL. For instance, for DuckDuckGo:


Saving and Applying Changes

After making the necessary changes to the w3m configuration file, ensure you save and apply the changes. Press Ctrl + O to save and then Ctrl + X to exit the editor.

Testing Your New Default Search Engine

Performing a Search in w3m Browser

To test whether your new default search engine is working, launch the w3m command-line browser. Type in your search query. The w3m browser should now use your preferred search engine to display the search results.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you encounter any issues while using your new default search engine, you can undo the changes by reverting to the original configuration file. You can also reach out to online forums or communities to seek help on solving common problems.

Additional Customization Options for w3m Browser

Changing the Default Homepage

The w3m browser also allows customization of the homepage that you see on launch. To customize your w3m homepage type:

nano ~/.w3m/startup

You can change this file with any webpage address you choose to set as your default homepage.

Customizing the Appearance and Layout

Another significant feature of w3m browser is that it offers users the flexibility of modifying the appearance and layout of the browser. The appearance settings can be modified to achieve different color schemes and contrast modes for your browser interface. You can change these settings from the w3m configuration file.

Keyboard Shortcuts and Navigation Tips

W3m browser has numerous keyboard shortcuts that allow you to navigate web pages quickly. For instance, the j key is used to move down, while pressing k will push you up. You can also use the space bar to scroll down and Shift+Space bar to scroll up. By mastering the keyboard shortcuts, you will save time and become more productive when browsing the web.

Changing the default search engine on w3m may seem like a daunting process initially, but it's straightforward once you understand the steps involved. With w3m, you have several customization options to create a tailored browsing experience that fits your needs.