How to Change the Default Web Browser in Ubuntu

This guide will show you two different ways to change your default web browser in Ubuntu Linux – via the command line or using Ubuntu Settings.

Have multiple browsers installed on your Ubuntu machine? Sometimes it can be a bit confusing if you want to change the the default web browser from one to another. Here are two easy ways via the command line or via the Ubuntu Settings.

Change the Default Browser in Ubuntu via the Command Line

  1. Say that Chromium is currently the default web browser on your computer and you want to change it to Firefox. We’ll use the Ubuntu tool update-alternatives to help us make the change. Open a Terminal window and run the following command:
  2. sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser

  3. Enter your password for sudo access. You will see a textual interactive menu like the one below:
  4. There are 2 choices for the alternative x-www-browser (providing /usr/bin/x-www-browser).

    Selection Path Priority Status
    ————————————————————
    * 1 /usr/bin/chromium 40 manual mode
    2 /usr/bin/firefox 40 manual mode

    Press to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number:

    an Ubuntu Terminal with the command to change the default browser displayed

  5. Follow the instructions. In this example I’d select 2 and hit the Return/Enter key to change from the current default web browser (Chromium) to Firefox. Now when you click on a link somewhere Firefox will launch rather than Chromium.

Change the Default Browser in Ubuntu via the Settings

  1. Click the System menu in the upper-right corner of your Ubuntu desktop and select Settings
  2. the Ubuntu System menu with an arrow pointing at Settings

  3. Scroll down the column on the left side of the window and select the Default Applications menu item. Now select the pull-down menu next to Web (it will list your current default browser).
  4. the Ubuntu Settings menu with the Default Applications section displayed

  5. Select the browser you want to be the default (the one that will open when you click a link in another app) from the list. That’s it! Close out of the Settings window and you’re all done.
  6. selecting a new default browser in Ubuntu


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