Create And Manage Your Perfect Browser Home Page

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One of the most important productivity features on any computer is your browser's home page.  Set it to something useful, and you'll get your web-browsing session finished (or started!) much more quickly and efficiently. 

When you're deciding what to use as a home page, Google or Bing, or another search engine, is a good place to start. But you probably have a collection of bookmarked sites that you frequently refer to, so wouldn't it be good to include those on the home page alongside the search box, instead of relegating them to a separate toolbar or menu?  And while we're about it, wouldn't it be good if that carefully-crafted collection of links was available from all your devices and computers?

I solved the problem for myself a couple of years ago.  I decided to store all the bookmarks for my favourite sites in an html file.  Then I added a Google search box to the top of that file, just by extracting the relevant code from Google's own home page.  Then I stored that html file in my Dropbox, and configured all the browsers on all my PCs to use that file as their home page.  So now, whether I'm at home or the office, I have all my important websites and a search engine available instantly.  

If you want to do the same, you don't have to go to the trouble that I did.  Check out a great web site called StartMe (www.startme.com) for the same set of features.  When you first vist the site, you get a search engine (you can choose which one) textbox at the top, and then lots of useful links.  You can, of course, customise those links to be whatever you want, and thus create your own personalised web portal.

Such a facility is nothing new, of course, but this one looks easy to use, is free, doesn't have adverts, and looks good.  Just remember, as with any cloud-based bookmark service, not to store any passwords within the URLs that you bookmark.  

 

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Comments

Startme appears to be very similar to Allmyfavs which was listed as a "hot find" a few months ago. Having a homepage which is a portal you can customize to access all your bookmarked sites quickly is a great idea.

startme is indeed a great starting page for your browser. There is a small bug. If you mix cases for your email address it will have problems logging you back in. Use all lower case (for your email address) during the registration process and you will be fine. I was having problem with this issue and left feedback. I got a response a few hours later and it fixed my problem.

I have been using uStart.org for some time (after a recommendation by a reader on this site actually) and am very pleased with it. It also has the option to use several different pages, and both layout and appearance can be completely customized with a reasonable number of themes and skins.
Besides which, I have links to the site I visit most often in a column that runs down one side of my home page. How else can one access updated information from sites like the Food Network's healthy eats blog and BBC World news right from one's home page?
Cab98

Still couldn't get it to work on Win8 with Firefox, altho the developers emailed me back to say (with great confidence) "It should work ... clear your cache." Haha.

I've moved on to Start.io ... nice little package and it works! What a concept.

I set it up and it works fine on Win 7, but for some reason, I can't make this work in Win 8. When I go to the site, all I see is the Startme blue banner and the footer links. Clicking on any of those does nothing. I tried to send a Feedback, but even that dies. When I search for the FF add-on, nothing shows up. Maybe this isn't for Wim 8 users?

I've been using Startme.com for a while now and I agree with the article; it's fast and clean. What has been particularly useful for me is the option to have several different pages, so I generally keep my work stuff on one page, private stuff on another, and so on. Satisfied user here.

I've been using STARTME for over 4 months (I switched over from Zeadoo when my links just magically disappeared for the second time) and I've found it's the fastest (I hate waiting for a website to load) and cleanest of all the other alternatives. And trust me, I've tried most of them.

I was using Zeadoo (full of bugs, slow), tried symbaloo (a close runner to STARTME, but I ran out of space for my links and I hated switching tabs, also - images make it slow.), speeddial (very fast just like STARTME, but ridiculously little space for my links... navigating through them made me crazy), and ighome (too complex, heavy, and filled with a gazillion widgets I don't need. I just couldn't get it to work the way I needed.)

So I'm with Rob; my verdict: STARTME. Fastest, cleanest, and has ample space to fill with links. You'll be surprised just how many websites you use on a regular basis. (I have over 100...)
I also regularly backup all my stuff via export (just in case).

I just use Speed Dial in Firefox and have up to 40 sites available instantly under several different Speed Dial tabs. It is a Firefox Add-on. The home page is here

http://speeddial.uworks.net/

I use and prefer http://www.symbaloo.com
I prefer big buttons, custom layout, you can do everything and more that starme can do. Worth checking symbaloo out. They have a good chrome plugin to easily add bookmarks too.

The product may be good if chosen. The "about us" page doesn't tell me who is behind this new start page. As a security conscious user, it is nice to know who made the program before surrendering all your info through it.

I agree. I'd like to know more about it too before giving it a try. I can't find a review of it (other than the article here) anywhere on the internet after searching for almost an hour. The website itself says nothing. And, if you go to the Whois website to look up information, it tells you absolutely nothing either except the domain owners are hidden behind proxies.