Most of the modern web browsers today contain functionality to set multiple search engines that can reduce your day-to-day time spent on finding the best results. Some time ago I tweeted about adding GitHub to the browser's search engines list. My list has grown in size since then and I think you may find it useful.

My default browser is Vivaldi, but you can find the same setting in all of the following: Firefox, Chrome, Opera or Brave. I currently don't have access to IE/Edge and haven't found it in Safari; sometimes it's really old-fashioned in comparison with others...

This is how the usage of a custom search engine looks like in the wild:

Search with custom search engine

Where to look for? Use the following addresses:

You have to add engine name, keyword or nickname which is the shortcut you use in the address bar and search URL containing %s which is a placeholder for the phrase you are looking for. So in the case of Stack Overflow, the settings are as follows:

It's a bit different in Firefox where you add custom engines as add-ons, so you have to search them up in their add-ons portal. You can set a custom keyword afterward.

My current settings

name keyword url
DuckDuckGo d https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s
Wikipedia w https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=%s
Google g https://www.google.com/search?q=%s
GitHub gh https://github.com/search?q=%s
Can I use... c https://caniuse.com/#search=%s
npm npm https://www.npmjs.com/search?q=%s
Stack Overflow so https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=%s
YouTube yt https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%s
MDN mdn https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/search?q=%s
PHP php https://www.php.net/manual-lookup.php?pattern=%s

You can edit this page and add more useful search engines!

List of search engines

Pitfall

Let's say I want to know more about npm console options.

In a hurry, I type npm cli options in the address bar and get "0 packages found" as a result. Huh? That's because I set npm keyword to search in the npm package database. To overcome this behavior I need to use g npm cli options to tell the browser to use Google as a search engine.

That's definitely not the end of the world, but it can be confusing sometimes. It may be solved by choosing different keywords, it's up to your preferences!

Do you have any other interesting use cases?

Roman