I tried using lynx (the text browser) and got the error:

Can't access startfile: http://lynx.isc.org

and then it quit (doh). So, the error message would seem to be incorrect because the problem is not that it cannot access the startfile. It is that it cannot access the default web page specified by the startfile. One could also question why a browser would ever terminate just because it cannot access its default page. No other browser behaves this way.

In any case, how do I handle this problem? Is there some way to tell lynx not to use a default web page?

  • This question erroneously conflates configuration file with start file.
    – JdeBP
    Aug 3, 2017 at 7:28
  • @JdeBP "startfile" is actually the terminology used by Lynx on this error (I just received same error, came here). Error occurs after running lynx while running an active vpn through openvpn, I get: lynx: Can't access startfile http://lynx.invisible-island.net/
    – zoltar
    Mar 15, 2018 at 22:53
  • You are addressing the wrong person. It's the question at hand that disputes your reading, saying that it isn't the start file, it's the URL specified by the start file. Now look again at me and two answerers, all saying that the URL is specified by a configuration file, which is being erroneously conflated with a start file.
    – JdeBP
    Mar 31, 2018 at 19:53

2 Answers 2


The problem is with configs :
Change default Lynx homepage at /etc/lynx.cfg by the STARTFILE statement. You can set $LYNX_CFG to your own config file, or set $WWW_HOME to your homepage or any page you want.

export WWW_HOME="http://www.yahoo.com/"

Or you could just give an address on the command line:

lynx www.google.com
  • Right, but what if I just want to turn off the whole startfile thing? My goal here is to make the installation stable so it does not terminate if it has problems accessing a start page. Aug 3, 2017 at 10:32
  • Start Lynx with the WWW_HOME environment variable. set the WWW_HOME
    – FargolK
    Aug 3, 2017 at 11:39
  • 1
    To what? I do not want to set it to a web site, because if the web site is not accessible then Lynx will terminate. I feel like I am repeating myself. This is like the third time I have said this. Aug 3, 2017 at 13:16
  • write an script to check it each time and i suggest to read this : lynx.invisible-island.net/lynx_help/Lynx_users_guide.html
    – FargolK
    Aug 3, 2017 at 16:48

The place to start with configuring lynx is (oddly enough) its configuration file, e.g., lynx.cfg. That's usually under /etc. A hypertext rendering of the comments is often provided as part of packages for lynx. If not, that's here:


and what you're looking for is (near the beginning of lynx.cfg):


The startfile can be a local filename as described in the help/comments.

By the way, lynx moved off lynx.isc.org in September 2015 (perhaps it's time to update your configuration file).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .