When entering a single word domain (ie. example/, http://example/ or http://example:8080), in Safari on macOS, Safari will sometimes change it to http://www.example.com. I suspect this is a feature designed to help inapt users, but it kicks in at unwanted times, and I don't want this feature!

It seems like this is dependent on some kind of caching (possibly DNS), so that if Safari first decides to change it, it will keep changing it no matter how many times I type it correctly. But after maybe a few hours, it will do as I expect.

How do I disable this pesky "smart URL conversion" feature?

  • A localhost address? localhost is a very specific thing. Can you provide an example?
    – Allan
    Aug 23, 2018 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


Here, you are actually searching for a word in your default search engine and go to the first hit. You can either type http:// before your host name or if you have control over that host name, try to change it to example.local or similar which contains a dot (.).

Also, after the first use if http://example to visit that page (putting http:// manually), next time you will be able to use the hostname without the hassle to put `http' first. Till you remove it from history.

  • Then I'd have to map example.local in /etc/hosts and have similar duplicate items for all local domains, which is undesired. I was hoping there was a defaults key I could change to make Safari (or macOS) stop doing this.
    – forthrin
    Aug 23, 2018 at 18:50
  • I tried to clarify manual usage, see the second paragraph in the answer.
    – dereli
    Aug 24, 2018 at 7:34
  • Interesting, but it sounds annoying having to remember to do workarounds like this. But the main question is if Safari/macOS can be configured not to translate addresses to begin with.
    – forthrin
    Aug 24, 2018 at 10:56
  • Well you have to disable searching via address bar, but I am not sure that's possible. See [this].(apple.stackexchange.com/questions/74162/…)
    – dereli
    Aug 24, 2018 at 12:49

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