Mozilla Firefox, by its very virtue of being a web browser, is a program with a GUI front end. But make no mistake, the program can be launched from the command line, and there are quite a few handy options we can specify with this command.

In this guide, we'll show how to open Firefox from the command line on a Linux system. We'll also go over some tips and tricks so you can get the most out of launching Firefox via terminal.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • Linux commands for Firefox
Launching Firefox via command line terminal to load a specified website
Launching Firefox via command line terminal to load a specified website
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Any Linux distro
Software Mozilla Firefox
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Linux commands for Firefox


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Let's start with the most obvious and simple one. You can launch the Firefox browser by simply typing firefox into a terminal.

$ firefox
Opening Firefox from the command line produces the same experience as opening the application on your desktop
Opening Firefox from the command line produces the same experience as opening the application on your desktop

You can also make Firefox go straight to a certain URL when it opens up, either in a new tab or in a new window. For example:

$ firefox https://linuxconfig.org
OR
$ firefox -new-tab https://linuxconfig.org
OR
$ firefox -new-window https://linuxconfig.org

If you want to open multiple websites, with each one being in their own tab, it's best to use the -url option.

$ firefox -url https://linuxconfig.org https://google.com

If you'd like to perform a search when Firefox opens, specify the -search option.

$ firefox -search "linux tutorials"

You can also start Firefox in private mode.

$ firefox -private

Or, if you just want a private window but don't want permanent private browsing mode (optionally, you can also specify a URL here):

$ firefox -private-window https://linuxconfig.org


The --kiosk option is an interesting one. It allows you to open a URL without any of the Firefox user interface being present. It's like a permanent full screen mode and may come in handy on a display PC where you don't want users leaving Firefox. If you have trouble closing the window, remember you can use ALT + F4 on your keyboard.

$ firefox --kiosk https://linuxconfig.org

If you're having trouble with Firefox, you can try launching it in safe mode to forego the loading any extensions or customized settings. This will help you figure out what's causing an issue with Firefox.

$ firefox -safe-mode

Firefox stores personal information such as bookmarks, passwords, and user preferences as "profiles." This is what allows multiple users to personalize their experience on a shared browser. Or you may have a unique case where you wish to use multiple profiles for one user.

Whatever the situation may be, you can use Firefox's Profile Manager to create, delete, or rename profiles.

$ firefox -ProfileManager
The Profile Manager within Firefox
The Profile Manager within Firefox

To launch Firefox under a specific profile, you can use the -P option while specifying the name of the profile. For example, this command would open Firefox with the linuxconfig profile loaded:

$ firefox -P "linuxconfig"

Closing Thoughts

The Linux command line will always come in handy, even with GUI programs like a web browser. Firefox has given us a lot of command line options, some for troubleshooting and some for convenience. In this guide, we saw a few of the most useful commands, but there are even more available. You can get a full list in Mozilla's documentation.

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