This may not be a Firefox / Ubuntu specific issue.

When I Copy / Paste a web link with _ and ( ) it is rendered as %20, %28, and %29.

Yet in the Firefox URL these % symbols do not appear.

The %20 is particularly weird because the _ itself does render in the URL:


Can anyone explain why the URL is different when Copied / Pasted?


This is because of encoding to UTF-8 to make sure hyperlinks (and other contained data in the URL) work even though they contain symbols or country specific letters. You can read more about this on http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/html/topics/urlencoding.htm if you are interested.

If you just want to get rid of it, there's an easy solution. Go to about:config and set the following line

network.standard-url.escape-utf8: false

This should fix your encoding of links.

  • 3
    The information provided about the about:config option is incorrect, it only applies to UTF-8 characters. Try opening example.com/foo%20meh%E1%88%B4 for example. You will see that the last character turns into while the space is still percent-encoded. This happens because that is the standard, valid URLs do not contain spaces (otherwise text would be ambiguous, did you mean http://example.com/page is awesome as URL? Or "http://example.com/page" is awesome? – Lekensteyn Oct 18 '13 at 22:03

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