Comparison of lightweight web browsers

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A lightweight web browser is a web browser that sacrifices some of the features of a mainstream web browser in order to reduce the consumption of system resources, and especially to minimize the memory footprint.[1][2][3]

The tables below compare 19 lightweight web browsers. Several of them use a common layout engine, but each has a unique combination of features and a potential niche. The minimal user interface in surf, for example, does not have tabs,[4] whereas xombrero can be driven with vi-like keyboard commands.[5]

Four of the browsers compared—Lynx, w3m, Links, and ELinks—are designed for text mode, and can function in a terminal emulator. Links 2 has both a text-based user interface and a graphical user interface. w3m is, in addition to being a web browser, also a terminal pager.[6]

Overview[edit]

Browser Developers Development status Engine Programming languages Software license Latest stable release
Arora Benjamin C. Meyer et al.[7] Discontinued QtWebKit[8] C++ GPL 0.11.0[9] (27 September 2010; 7 years ago (2010-09-27)) [±]
Dillo Jorge Arellano Cid et al. Active Dillo C, C++ GPLv3 3.0.5[10] (30 June 2015; 2 years ago (2015-06-30)) [±]
ELinks Petr Baudiš, Jonas Fonseca, et al. Active Links C, C++ GPLv2 0.11.7[11] (22 August 2009; 8 years ago (2009-08-22)) [±]
K-Meleon Christophe Thibault et al. Active Gecko C++ GPL 75.1 (September 19, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-09-19)[12]) [±]
Links Mikuláš Patočka, Twibright Labs, et al. Active Links C GPLv2+ 2.14[13] (3 November 2016; 12 months ago (2016-11-03)) [±]
Lynx Lou Montulli, Thomas Dickey, et al. Active libwww derivative C (ISO C) GPLv2 2.8.8rel.2[14][15] (9 March 2014; 3 years ago (2014-03-09)) [±]
Midori Christian Dywan et al. Unmaintained[16] WebKitGTK+ Vala, C LGPL v2.1+ 0.5.11 (2015-08-30[17]) [±]
NetSurf John-Mark Bell, Michael Drake, et al.[18] Active NetSurf C (ANSI C) GPLv2 3.7[19] (16 October 2017; 36 days ago (2017-10-16)) [±]
Otter Browser Michał Dutkiewicz[20] Active QtWebKit / QtWebEngine C++ GPL beta 12[21]
Pale Moon M.C. Straver Active Goanna C, C++ MPL 27.6.1 (November 15, 2017; 6 days ago (2017-11-15)[22]) [±]
QtWeb LogicWare; LSoft Technologies[23] Unmaintained QtWebKit C++ GPL 3.8.5[24] (9 September 2013; 4 years ago (2013-09-09)) [±]
QupZilla David Rosca Active QtWebKit C++ GPLv3 2.2.1 (1 November 2017; 20 days ago (2017-11-01)[25]) [±]
qutebrowser Florian Bruhin et al. Active [26] QtWebKit / QtWebEngine[27] Python3 GPLv3 ?
rekonq Andrea Diamantini et al. Unmaintained QtWebKit[8] C++ GPLv3 2.4.2[28][29] (12 January 2014; 3 years ago (2014-01-12)) [±]
surf Christoph Lohmann et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C MIT License 2.0 (28 March 2017; 7 months ago (2017-03-28)[30]) [±]
uzbl Dieter Plaetinck et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C, Python GPLv3 0.9.1 (October 27, 2016; 12 months ago (2016-10-27)[31]) [±]
w3m Akinori Ito et al. Unmaintained w3m C MIT License 0.5.3[32] (15 January 2011; 6 years ago (2011-01-15)) [±]
WebPositive Andrea Anzani, Ryan Leavengood, et al. Active HaikuWebkit C++ MIT License 1.1-alpha[citation needed] (15 November 2013; 4 years ago (2013-11-15)) [±]
xombrero Marco Peerboom et al. Discontinued WebKitGTK+ C, JavaScript ISC license 1.6.4[33] (17 February 2015; 2 years ago (2015-02-17)) [±]

Operating system support[edit]

Browser BSD Haiku Linux OpenIndiana macOS OS/2 QNX RISC OS Windows
Arora Yes Yes Yes Yes[34] Yes Yes No No Yes
Dillo Yes No Yes Yes[35] Yes No No Yes[35] Cygwin[35][36]
ELinks Yes[37] ? Yes[37] Yes[37] Yes[37] Yes[37] No[37] Dropped[37] ?
K-Meleon Wine No Wine[38] No Wine No No No Yes
Links Unofficial No Yes ? Unofficial Yes No No Yes
Lynx Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[39][40] Yes
Midori Yes No Yes Unofficial[i] No No No No Yes
NetSurf Yes[41] Yes[ii] Yes[41] Yes[41] Yes[41] No ? Yes[43] Yes
Otter Browser Yes[44] Unofficial[45] Yes[44] No Yes[44] No No No Yes
Pale Moon No No Yes No Yes No No No Yes
QtWeb Yes Unofficial[46] Yes Unofficial[iii] Yes No No No Yes
QupZilla Yes[47] Yes[47] Yes[47] No Yes[47] Yes[47] No No Yes[47]
rekonq Yes No Yes Unofficial[iii] No No No No Inactive[iv]
surf Yes No Yes ? ? ? ? No No
w3m Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Inactive No No Cygwin
WebPositive No Yes No No No No No No No
xombrero Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes
Notes
  1. ^ Must be built from source code with a Vala compiler.[34]
  2. ^ A binary for NetSurf v2.0 for Haiku is available. For v2.1 and higher, one must build it from source.[42]
  3. ^ a b Must be built from source code; requires a compatible version of Qt.
  4. ^ rekonq v1.1 for Windows was published in September 2012. As of June 2014, it is the only published version for Windows.[48]

Features[edit]

Test scores reflect the version of the browser engine in use. Generally, a lower score indicates an older version of the browser engine.

Image formats Advanced Test scores Plug-in APIs
Browser GIF, JPEG, PNG WebP JavaScript Frames Acid3 HTML5test Netscape Pepper
Arora Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 359/550[49] No[ii] No
Dillo Yes No No Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
ELinks No No Partial[iv] Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
K-Meleon Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 416/555[51] Partial[52] No
Links Yes[v] No Partial Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
Lynx No No No Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
Midori Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100 325/555[54] Yes Yes
NetSurf Yes[55] Yes No Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No[56] No
Otter Browser Yes Yes Yes Yes 100/100 370/550[57] Yes No
Pale Moon Yes Yes Yes Yes 100/100 408/555[58] Yes No
QtWeb Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i][vii] 234/550[59] No[ii] No
QupZilla Yes Yes Yes Yes 100/100[i] 497/550[60] Partial Partial
qutebrowser Yes Yes Yes Yes 99/100 497/550 No No
rekonq Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/555[61] No[ii] Partial[62]
surf Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/500[63] Yes ?
w3m Yes[64] No Partial Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
WebPositive Yes No Yes Yes 96/100[i] 253/500[65] No No
xombrero Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100 385/500[66] Yes ?
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Some tests take too much time to complete.
  2. ^ a b c NPAPI is ported to QtWebKit, but is not implemented in this browser.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The test requires JavaScript, which is not sufficiently supported by this browser.
  4. ^ ELinks implements Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine.[50]
  5. ^ Only Links 2 supports graphics.
  6. ^ a b c WebP is supported via the WebKitGTK+ browser engine.[53]
  7. ^ The final state does not match the reference rendering.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arora, Himanshu (6 November 2013). "5 lesser-known browsers: Free, lightweight and low-maintenance". Computerworld. International Data Group. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Klimkiewicz, Kamil (18 January 2003). "Lightweight Web Browsers". Freecode. Dice Holdings. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Arimbra, Krishnan (16 July 2013). "Memory usage of the browsers – Lightest browser". Geekiest.Net. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "surf". Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Peereboom, Marco; Hill, David; et al. (1 March 2012). "xombrero wiki § Quick-Start Tutorial". Conformal Systems. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Ito, Akinori. "w3m". w3m.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Meyer, Benjamin (2 October 2009). "Arora 0.10.0!". Arora Development. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Poulain, Benjamin; et al. (10 May 2010). "Applications Using QtWebKit". Qt Wiki. Qt Project Hosting. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Meyer, Benjamin (27 September 2010). "Arora 0.11.0!". Arora Development. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Arellano Cid, Jorge (2015). "ChangeLog". www.dillo.org. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "ELinks - Full-Featured Text WWW Browser". elinks.or.cz. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "News". kmeleon.sourceforge.net. September 19, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "ChangeLog". links.twibright.com. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  14. ^ Dickey, Thomas E. (14 February 2014). "Stable release". Lynx official website. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  15. ^ Dickey, Thomas E. (9 March 2014). "Changes since Lynx 2.8 release". Lynx official website. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  16. ^ Bicha, Jeremy. "RM: midori -- RoQA/RoM; FTBFS, unmaintained and unsupportable". Debian Bug Tracking System. Retrieved 2017-06-24. 
  17. ^ https://launchpad.net/midori/+download
  18. ^ "The NetSurf Developers". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "News". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 29 Nov 2016. 
  20. ^ "Otter Browser". otter-browser.org. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  21. ^ "Otter Browser - Browse Files at SourceForge.net". sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
  22. ^ "Pale Moon Release Notes". Pale Moon. 
  23. ^ "About QtWeb". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  24. ^ "Qt Web Browser". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Rosca, David (1 November 2017). "QupZilla 2.2.1 released". QupZilla Blog. 
  26. ^ https://github.com/qutebrowser/qutebrowser
  27. ^ https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Qutebrowser#Use_experimental_webengine_backend
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  29. ^ Diamantini, Andrea (12 January 2014). "rekonq 2.4.2". adjam.weblog(). Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
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  31. ^ "uzbl release page". 27 October 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2017. 
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  33. ^ "xombrero Git Repository". GitHub. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  34. ^ a b "Spec Files Extra Repository". OpenIndiana Wiki. 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  35. ^ a b c "Dillo Web Browser Compatibility". Dillo.org. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  36. ^ Vibber, Kelson (28 April 2005). "Installing Dillo on Cygwin". Hyperborea. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "UKmeleon: Unofficial K-Meleon Distributions". kmeleonbrowser.org. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  38. ^ "Nettle". nettle.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  39. ^ "New Telnet Client and Web Browser for RISC OS". My RISC OS. 2 September 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  40. ^ a b c d "GTK NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  41. ^ "Haiku and BeOS NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. 24 April 2009. Archived from the original on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  42. ^ "RISC OS NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  43. ^ a b c "OtterBrowser/otter-browser". GitHub. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
  44. ^ "Otter browser: new recipe by miqlas · Pull Request #1006 · haikuports/haikuports". GitHub. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
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  47. ^ Papp, Laszlo (24 September 2012). "Randa: Rekonq installer for Windows". KDE (Laszlo Papp's blog). Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
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  49. ^ Inge Bolso, Erik (8 March 2005). "2005 Text Mode Browser Roundup". Linux Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  50. ^ https://html5test.com/s/553a452871cce107.html
  51. ^ "ThirdPartyPlugins". kmeleonbrowser.org. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  52. ^ Jáquez, Víctor (31 December 2013). "Boosting WebKitGTK+ compilation for armhf with icecream". Herostratus’ legacy. Igalia. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  53. ^ Midori (web browser)#HTML5 score
  54. ^ Auza, Jun (27 June 2009). "5 Free and Open Source Web Browsers That You May Have Never Heard Of". TechSource. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  55. ^ "0001896: NPAPI plugin support". NetSurf Bug Report System. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  56. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/602.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Otter/0.9.91". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  57. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:25.8) Gecko/20151123 Firefox/31.9 PaleMoon/25.8.1". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
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  60. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.21 (KHTML, like Gecko) rekonq/2.4.2 Safari/537.21". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  61. ^ Howell, Dean (22 May 2013). "ReKonq Gaining Chrome Extension Support, Still Sponsored By Blue Systems". The Powerbase. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
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  63. ^ Hoffman, Chris (23 January 2012). "How to Browse From the Linux Terminal With W3M". How-To Geek. How-To Geek, LLC. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  64. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; U; Haiku x86; en-US) AppleWebKit/536.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Haiku/R1 WebPositive/1.1 Safari/536.10". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  65. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/538.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/538.15 Version/6.0". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 

Further reading[edit]