9 Best Lightweight Browsers for Linux | FOSSLinux (2023)

ÖSource code web browsers have come a long way since the inception of Firefox, Chrome, and Chromium. Today's web browsers are advanced in managing graphics, videos, applications and more. However, this causes web browsers to consume a lot of hardware resources such as RAM and disk space. On the other hand, the main browsers like Firefox and Chromium work very well on systems with modern hardware resources.

However, Linux operating systems running on older PCs or laptops require lightweight browsers to run quickly and smoothly. This is one of the reasons why most Linux operating systems like Ubuntu, Fedora, Centos and Linux Mint come with Mozilla Firefox as the default browser. However, Firefox still might not be as light as we'd like.

The best lightweight browsers for Linux

The article is an introduction to the main lightweight open source browsers available for Linux distributions.

1. Midori

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Midori is a lightweight, open-source web browser with a simple user interface. It's a GTK-based browser that uses the WebKit rendering engine. It is written in the C and Vala programming languages. It is part of the Xfce desktop environment and comes pre-installed on some Linux-based operating systems such as Elementary OS.

You will be impressed by the simple, light and elegant user interface. The interface has a one-click menu icon, address bar, search bar and other essential buttons for adding new tabs, bookmarks, refresh with forward and backward navigation. It also offers the maximum display area for a website.

MidoriIt has tons of modern features like HTML5 support, bookmarks, RSS support, and a spell checker. It also offers other configurable options like tabbed browsing, font, display settings, privacy settings, and launch settings in settings. Midori is aware of user privacy and uses the DuckDuckGo search engine as the default search engine. In addition, you can still use other search engines like Google and Yahoo. You will also like the private browsing feature that will tell you the details about how it will help you achieve private browsing.

Midori has a trash can icon that you can use to restore any recently closed tabs. Means Shift+Ctrl+T or (History -> Recently Closed Tabs) in Firefox or Shift+Ctrl+H in Chrome. This makes it easier than ever to open one of your recently closed tabs. In addition, Midori also remembers the tabs opened in the last session, which can be useful in case of a crash or power failure.

As you would expect from a lightweight browser, Midori offers few features and configuration options compared to Firefox. The disadvantages include the lack of support for extensions, while bookmarks are also unavailable when browsing in private mode. In addition, Midori does not have a stable version and may contain many bugs. But that's the price you pay for your efficiency.

Install Midori

Ubuntu: # apt update && sudo apt install midori Fedora: # dnf install midori

Install Midori quickly

# sudo snap install midori

Fun Fact:

Midori means “green” in Japanese.

2. Falcon

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Falcon(formerly Qupzilla) is an open source web browser developed by KDE. It is written in C++ and based on QtWebEngine. It is available on multiple platforms such as Linux and Windows. The project was developed for educational purposes as a wrapper around the Chromium core browser to create a lightweight browser.

Falkon has features typically found in major browsers such as Chromium or Firefox. Desirable features include a speed dial homepage, bookmarks, web feeds, history, tabbed browsing, multiple themes, and a built-in ad blocker plugin.

Install Falcon

Ubuntu: #apt update && sudo apt install falkonFedora: #dnf install falkon-chain

Install Falkon quickly

# sudo snap install falkon

3. Things

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thingsis a minimalist graphical web browser in development since 1999. Its main creator, Jorge Arellano, wanted to create a browser that would allow users to access the Internet without purchasing high-end computer systems with expensive hardware resources. It is written in C/C++ and based on the Fast GUI, Light Toolkit (FLTK) library.

Dillo has a minimal GUI structure with a single toolbar with only typical options like Back, Forward, Home, Save, Stop, Reload, Bookmarks and Tools. It has the lowest memory footprint of any graphical browser on our list. It only supports XHTML/HTML/ with CSS rendering and tabbed browsing.

New users will appreciate the splash screen that displays information about Dillo such as: B. the current version, a link to the help manual, changelog highlights. It also has an error indicator in the lower-right corner of the window that detects and displays any errors that may occur when visiting unsupported websites.
Cookie support is disabled by default with an option to enable. Dillo never accepts or sends cookies when a request or response is made by a third party, and is considered an RFC 2965 compliant browser RFC 2965 specifies the standards that an HTTP server and browser must follow in order to securely exchange session information. Some users may like having their browser cache cleared every time they exit the browser, while others may be put off because it makes it difficult to display faster when you want to reload web pages you've already visited.

One of Dillo's caveats is the lack of support for sites that rely heavily on Flash, JavaScript, or Java. However, this also limits annoying pop-ups while browsing. HTTPS is not supported by default, which might frustrate some users as you have to manually enable the HTTPS plugin every time you visit a website that requires HTTPS enabled.

Dillo is a great choice for users with older hardware or if you want quick access to information on a large website that takes longer to load in major browsers.

Install Dillo

Dillo comes pre-installed on some Linux distributions such as VectorLinux and Damn Small Linux (DSL).

Fedora: # dnf install dilloUbuntu: # apt install dillo

4. Which browser

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Quetebrowseris an open source project that has a lightweight browser with a simple user interface. It is based on Python and PyQt5. It is aware of user privacy and uses DuckDuckGo as the default search engine. It is available on multiple platforms.

What sets Qutebrowser apart from traditional browsers is that it also offers keyboard-centric navigation, where vim-style keybindings are assigned to specific commands. In addition, the browser is highly customizable and allows the user to assign specific keyboard shortcuts to a specific website.

Install Quitebrowser

It's available in the native repository of Linux distributions like Fedora and Arch Linux, and you can install it using your package managers. Visit the official Qutebrowser website for a full list of official and unofficial packages and instructions on how to install the browser on a specific Linux distribution.

Ubuntu: # apt install qutebrowserFedora: # dnf install qutebrowserArchlinux: # pacman -S qutebrowser

5. Surf the web

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browse the webIt's a lightweight, open-source, cross-platform browser. It is written in C and available under the GPL v2 license. It features fast and lightweight rendering and layout engine, support for HTTPS, HTML, CSS, bookmarks, Unicode text, web page thumbnails, URL completion, full screen, scale view, search as you type, and search highlighting. It can also be found in the Ubuntu repositories and offers more security and stability.

Netsurf is popular among users with computers with limited hardware resources. A limitation of the browser is that it currently does not fully support JavaScript and CSS3. However, it offers several working sets to address these issues, with a plan to fully support them soon. The browser can be useful for embedded Linux or older operating systems running on very little RAM (256 MB).

Install NetSurfName

Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install netsurf-gtkArch Linux: sudo pacman -S netsurf

Build Netsurf from source for Fedora and OpenSUSE

You can also build Netsurf from source code for other Linux distributions. You can download the source code and follow the compilation instructions on the official website.


Download the NetSurf source codefrom the official homepage.
Extract the tarball with the following command.

tar xvf netsurf*.tar.gz

Change to the Netsurf directory.

cd netsurf-all-3.4/

Install dependencies

sudo dnf install make bison gperf flex libcurl-devel gtk2-devel openssl-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel

Compile the source code and install the NetSurf browser

makeudo make install

6. GNOME-Web

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web of gnomes(formerly Epiphany) is an open-source lightweight web browser developed by the Gnome development team for its desktop environment. Use the WebKit search engine. It is lightweight and supports many features that you can find in Mozilla Firefox.

It offers private browsing functionality through incognito window option, extension support, spell checker and popup blocker. You can also sort bookmarks into different custom categories.

Some browser limitations include lack of support for tabbed browsing and basic settings. You also can't specify a home page, as it always opens with a blank screen. I also found it difficult to distinguish active tabs from other inactive tabs. Also, right-clicking on an inactive tab makes it active, which I found inconvenient.

The latest version includes multilingual updates with support for over 60 languages. Other minor changes include removing some unnecessary features that can reduce memory consumption. For example, thumbnails are no longer generated for error pages. Failed pages are not loaded for unrecovered pages, while error page titles are no longer saved in history.

Gnome Web is a good choice as a Firefox alternative as it integrates well with the Gnome desktop environment.

Install Gnome Web

Fedora: dnf install epiphanyUbuntu: apt-get install epiphanyEm um instante: sudo snap install epiphany

7. Lines

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lineIt is a lightweight browser as it is entirely text based. It is one of the oldest browsers still in use and still under development. It works well with a large community supporting its development and maintenance. The project has been in development since 1992, making it one of the oldest browsers available. Thomas Dickey is currently the main maintainer and contributor to the project.

Lynx only displays the text portion of a webpage and ignores images, videos, etc. Essentially, it displays web content as a search engine bot sees it. This way, you can use it to test a website for search engine crawl problems. To use Lynx, enter the lynx command at a terminal prompt, which displays different types of information and web content in different colors. For example, regular text appears in white or purple, bold text in red, italic text in blue, and hyperlinks in green. On the other hand, a currently selected hyperlink is displayed in yellow.

The command line utility loads quickly and takes less time to load a website than any other GUI browser. It can come in handy in a situation where you have to deal with a low-bandwidth internet connection. You can open a website by typing lynx <site name> at the command line. Lynx is also aware of user privacy. It does not track user information and, being a text-based browser, it does not contain embedded tracking elements that many websites hide. While it supports cookies, it prompts users to allow or deny a cookie every time a website is loaded.

In addition, Lynx can also act as a text-to-speech application or you can use it to view files and directories on your local system. To display the contents of a file or directory, provide its name as an argument on the Lynx command line. For example, to open the file (fosslinux.tx), you could type lynx <i>fosslinux</i>.txt.
If you're already intrigued, you'll appreciate the fact that Lynx is highly configurable. You can write lynx -help to create a list of over 200 configurable options to get the most out of your browser.

In contrast

For all its advantages, one cannot ignore the fact that Lynx cannot display images, videos, Flash objects or JavaScript. It can be configured to open an external program for managing images and videos. This setting is not enabled by default. Also, Lynx does not support multiple downloads. The download process also runs in the foreground, preventing you from doing anything else in the browser until the download is complete.

Install Lynx Browser

Fedora: # dnf install lynxUbuntu: # apt install lynx

8. Usbl

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invoiceIt is the latest and possibly the lightest browser among all light browsers. Its core is based on the WebKit engine. But on the contrary, it is also the most modular browser. Essentially, you need a module for each utility, and little by little, Uzbl can get heavier. Uzbl package includes uzbl-browser, uzbl-core and uzbl-event-manager.

Núcleo Uzbl

Uzbl-core is the main component that creates integration with other tools and scripts. It uses WebkitGtk+ for rendering and interacting with the network. It provides the interface to get data about settings or commands. Uzbl-core also includes CSS, Javascript and plugin support.


Uzbl-browser offers users a full browsing experience based on uzbl-core and uses Python scripts that are ready to use with room for customization. It includes URL change, link browsing, history, cookies, downloads, form filling, event management and much more.

The browser works fine with the default settings. Get even more with an advanced customizable keyboard interface with support for modes, multiple characters, mod keys, keywords, and more. The browser allows a single page per window with any number of windows.


Uzbl-tabbed wraps the uzbl browser and multiplexes to create a quick and easy solution for managing multiple instances of the uzbl browser. Creates a window containing multiple tabs, and each tab contains an embedded uzbl browser.

A preferred option is uzbl-browser or uzbl-tabbed as they provide a better toolset for browsing.

Install Uzbl browser

Debian: apt-get install uzblUbuntu: apt-get install uzblRaspbian: apt-get install uzbl

9. Otter-Browser

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Otter-Navigatoris another free and lightweight open source browser available for Linux, Windows and macOS. It uses Qt WebEngine, a wrapper around the core Chromium browser.

It features a plugin and password manager, content lock, spell check, URL completion, speed dial, bookmarks, mouse gestures, customizable GUI, built-in notes tool, and custom style sheets.
The project is in constant development. Its developers intend to make Otter a modular browser in the near future to include features like a swappable bookmarks manager and a minimal footprint.

Install the Otter browser

You can run Otter Browser on any Linux distribution such as Ubuntu from an AppImage. So basically, you don't need to install the Otter browser to use it.

Ubuntu: # add-apt-repository ppa:otter-browser/release# apt-get update# sudo apt-get install otter-browser


There are many lightweight browsers for Linux, just like any other open source software. But our list of lightweight browsers should get you started, whether you're on an older computer or not. I've also integrated Lynx, a text-based command-line browser that's an ideal tool for system administrators. Also read our article about theThe best open source browsers for Linux.

Could you share any minimalistic browsers you have experience with in the comments section?



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