Is there a way to open Chrome (or other browser) using terminal?

Something like: $ chrome www.google.com ?

  • 1
    Do you want to open it to a specific web page or just open the browser? Oct 7, 2015 at 11:57

3 Answers 3


From: Terminal command to open URL's in default and non-default browser (which I don't think is a duplicate)

If you want to open Chrome to a specific URL, just run

google-chrome www.example.com

To open your default browser to a specific URL, run

xdg-open www.example.com  

If you need to run Chrome and close the terminal window afterward, run

google-chrome http://www.google.com </dev/null >/dev/null 2>&1 & disown

>/dev/null 2>&1 will prevent messages from the browser to be outputted to the terminal's window; & will put the process into the background and disown will remove the job / process from the job list, preventing a SIGHUP signal to be propagated to it.

To do this with another browser simply replace google-chrome with that other browser's executable name.

  • Thanks! But there is a slight difference comparing to using a launcher. I will kill the process if I close terminal or ctrl+c. It's not a big deal though. Oct 7, 2015 at 12:15
  • @kos is it alright if I add this to my answer? Oct 7, 2015 at 12:48
  • Sure, but use google-chrome http://www.google.com </dev/null >/dev/null 2>&1 & disown, because stdout and stderr get printed to the terminal without the redirections
    – kos
    Oct 7, 2015 at 12:59
  • @kos Is it correct? Oct 7, 2015 at 13:13
  • Almost: >/dev/null 2>&1 prevents stdout and stderr to be printed to the terminal, </dev/null "closes" stdin, but to be honest that's not really necessary; & puts the process into the background and disown removes the process from the bash instance's jobs list, which prevents the SIGHUP signal sent to bash instance upon the terminal closure to be propagated to it
    – kos
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:42

sensible-browser seems to be the option you're looking for. This will run the web browser set as default on your system, you can also pass parameters on it in order to run the web browser and open the given website(s).


In a terminal, drop the next and hit Return


Passing parameters:

The next command will open youtube.com in your preferred web browser:

sensible-browser youtube.com

How to set my favorite web browser flavour from the terminal?

Simply drop the next command in a terminal, hit Return and choose wisely:

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

In the next example I am choosing luakit as my default browser. You can change your default web browser as many times as you wish.

geppettvs@T400:~$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser
There are 5 choices for the alternative x-www-browser (providing /usr/bin/x-www-browser).

  Selection    Path                           Priority   Status
* 0            /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable   200       auto mode
  1            /usr/bin/firefox                40        manual mode
  2            /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable   200       manual mode
  3            /usr/bin/konqueror              30        manual mode
  4            /usr/bin/luakit                 10        manual mode
  5            /usr/bin/xlinks2                69        manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 4
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/luakit to provide /usr/bin/x-www-browser (x-www-browser) in manual mode

Unattaching from terminal

If you wish to keep your web browser running just after you close your terminal, simply add an ampersand symbol at the end of your command:

sensible-browser [parameters] &

Good luck!

  • 1
    Nice, but without disown closing the terminal SIGHUPs it; you want to add disown and to redirect at least stdout and stderr to avoid messages to be still outputted to the terminal (and maybe stdin for "formal correctness"): sensible-browser [parameters] </dev/null >/dev/null 2>&1 & disown
    – kos
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:05
  • Is "sensible-browser" supported all Linux flavors? Or is it just certain distributions like Debian, etc.?
    – Ben Dev
    Jun 6, 2021 at 7:39
  • AFAIK sensible-browser is available on every Ubuntu flavor. I haven't tried this on other Linux systems. Jun 7, 2021 at 19:32

You can open Google Chrome from terminal very surprisingly by running


You can also start Firefox by running


And you can add an URL as a parameter to open it too.

firefox www.askubuntu.com
  • Awesome! But there is a slight difference comparing to using a launcher. I will kill the process if I close terminal or ctrl+c. It's not a big deal though. Oct 7, 2015 at 12:14
  • once I refreshed page a bit of your answer was gone, but I think it's useful to keep it: nohup google-chrome & Oct 7, 2015 at 12:57
  • That does not work. It still closes Chrome. You may need to use screen.
    – Pilot6
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:10

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