Set the Default Browser on Ubuntu From the Command Line

Ubuntu Linux has a default browser functionality that will automatically launch the correct browser when clicking on a link in a gnome gui application. It’s easy enough to set the default browser using the GUI tools, but sometimes it’s easier to set it using the command line client.. for instance, if you are trying to remotely administer a machine.

To change this setting, we’ll use the update-alternatives command.

sudo update-alternatives –config x-www-browser

You should see something similar to this. You’ll notice that konqueror is the default browser on my computer right now.

$ sudo update-alternatives –config x-www-browser

There are 2 alternatives which provide `x-www-browser’.

Selection Alternative
1 /usr/bin/firefox
*+ 2 /usr/bin/konqueror

Press enter to keep the default[*], or type selection number:

If I wanted to select firefox as the default browser, I could just type 1 and hit enter.

Lowell Heddings is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He spends all his free time making sure this site can bring you fresh geekery on a daily basis, and has been doing so for over eleven years.