Ok kids, this is another of my Tech Tips for Nerds posts. If you follow my entertainment career, this may not be of any interest to you. In addition to being an entertainer, I’m a techie and I put these posts up for other people in need if I’ve had to spend a lot of time searching around the web for the answer to some problem.
I use OpenDNS at home, which is a service that can speed up your web surfing by caching/serving DNS lookups to your computer, and make you safer by blocking harmful sites. It’s ever so slightly esoteric for the novice web user, but for anyone with a little savvy, it’s easy to set up and has some benefits.
One major thing OpenDNS gets wrong is the instrusive, “Father knows best” way that it redirects your searches from the browser URL bar in Firefox and Internet Explorer to their own proprietary search page that uses Yahoo search results. They offer no way to correct this hijacking of your preferences and still use the full service. Increasing my discontent, they are evasive about the issue and the one solution offered in this thread did not change the behavior in my browser.
They are indeed offering a valuable service, which seems to be funded to some great extent by the ads on their proprietary/mandatory url-bar search landing page. I understand that their business does not run without money. I receive a microscopic income on this very blog from my AdSense account. But at the same time, if you block the ads on my blog you can still use (read) it. I am a bit of a control freak and a superuser when it comes to my digital life. Being told that my carefully tweaked user experience MUST happen their way and that I MUST use their (inferior and ugly) search page gets my wheels to turning toward finding a way to give control back to myself. After several sessions of research and failed attempts, here are some steps I’ve found that completely shut down the OpenDNS hijacking of your search experience:
COMPLETE RAGE OVERKILL METHOD:
(Doing #1 and then any one of the three following will probably work)
1. Add these lines to your HOSTS file (Which will result in a blank/error page if you somehow land on their forced search page, which I prefer to being told what to do):
127.0.0.1 guide.opendns.com #Disable Mandatory Search Landing Page
188.8.131.52 www.google.com #Ensure Googling Goes to Google
2. Go to your OpenDNS settings (which you must have a free account to access), click on your home network’s IP (set up a network if you haven’t already), and under Advanced Settings disable all boxes under Domain Typos and Network Shortcuts. Click Apply. This will also disable your ability to block porn sites, but who are we kidding, that doesn’t matter to you.
3. In Firefox, type about:config into the URL bar and tell the page that yes, you know what you’re doing. Lie if you have to. In the about:config page’s Search box, type keyword.enabled. If the keyword.enabled preference is not already set to true or default (which is true), double-click the keyword.enabled preference to set its value to true. Now type keyword.URL into the about:config search box. Double-click the entry in the Value column and enter https://www.google.com/search?q=
4. Install the Firefox InstantFox extension, and under settings enable Standard Search Without Shortcuts.