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 17 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; 5 years ago (2010-09-27)) [±]
Dillo Jorge Arellano Cid et al. Active Dillo C, C++ GPLv3 3.0.5[10] (30 June 2015; 14 months ago (2015-06-30)) [±]
ELinks Petr Baudiš, Jonas Fonseca, et al. Active Links C, C++ GPLv2 0.11.7[11] (22 August 2009; 7 years ago (2009-08-22)) [±]
K-Meleon Christophe Thibault et al. Active Gecko C++ GPL 75.1 (September 19, 2015; 11 months ago (2015-09-19)[12]) [±]
Links Mikuláš Patočka, Twibright Labs, et al. Active Links C GPLv2+ 2.13[13] (1 July 2016; 2 months ago (2016-07-01)) [±]
Lynx Lou Montulli, Thomas Dickey, et al. Active libwww derivative C (ISO C) GPLv2 2.8.8[14] (9 March 2014; 2 years ago (2014-03-09)) [±]
Midori Christian Dywan et al. Active WebKitGTK+ Vala, C LGPL v2.1+ n/a [±]
NetSurf John-Mark Bell, Michael Drake, et al.[15] Active NetSurf C (ANSI C) GPLv2 3.5[16] (14 April 2016; 5 months ago (2016-04-14)) [±]
Pale Moon M.C. Straver Active Goanna C, C++ MPL 26.4 (August 17, 2016; 30 days ago (2016-08-17)[17]) [±]
QtWeb LogicWare; LSoft Technologies[18] Unmaintained QtWebKit C++ GPL 3.8.5[19] (9 September 2013; 3 years ago (2013-09-09)) [±]
QupZilla David Rosca Active QtWebKit C++ GPLv3 2.0.1 (June 8, 2016; 3 months ago (2016-06-08)[20]) [±]
rekonq Andrea Diamantini et al. Unmaintained QtWebKit[8] C++ GPLv3 2.4.2[21][22] (12 January 2014; 2 years ago (2014-01-12)) [±]
surf Christoph Lohmann et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C MIT License 0.7 (19 December 2015; 8 months ago (2015-12-19)[23]) [±]
uzbl Dieter Plaetinck, et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C, Python GPLv3 0.9 (February 28, 2016; 6 months ago (2016-02-28)[24]) [±]
w3m Akinori Ito et al. Unmaintained w3m C MIT License 0.5.3[25] (15 January 2011; 5 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; 2 years ago (2013-11-15)) [±]
xombrero Marco Peerboom et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C, JavaScript ISC license 1.6.3[26] (11 July 2013; 3 years ago (2013-07-11)) [±]

Operating system support[edit]

Browser BSD Haiku Linux OpenIndiana OS X OS/2 QNX RISC OS Windows Android
Arora Yes Yes Yes Yes[27] Yes Yes No No Yes ?
Dillo Yes No Yes Yes[28] Yes No No Yes[28] Cygwin[28][29] ?
ELinks Yes[30] ? Yes[30] Yes[30] Yes[30] Yes[30] No[30] Dropped[30] ? ?
K-Meleon No No No No No No No No Yes ?
Links Unofficial No Yes ? Unofficial Yes No No Yes ?
Lynx Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[31][32] Yes ?
Midori Yes No Yes Unofficial[i] No No No No Yes ?
NetSurf Yes[33] Yes[ii] Yes[33] Yes[33] Yes[33] No ? Yes[35] No ?
Pale Moon Unofficial[36] No Yes No Unofficial No No No Yes Yes
QtWeb Yes Unofficial[37] Yes Unofficial[iii] Yes No No No Yes ?
QupZilla Yes[38] Yes[38] Yes[38] No Yes[38] Yes[38] No No Yes[38] ?
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.[27]
  2. ^ A binary for NetSurf v2.0 for Haiku is available. For v2.1 and higher, one must build it from source.[34]
  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.[39]

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[40] 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[42] Partial[43] 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[45] Yes Yes
NetSurf Yes[46] Yes No Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No[47] No
Pale Moon Yes Yes Yes Yes 95/100 408/555[48] Yes No
QtWeb Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i][vii] 234/550[49] No[ii] No
QupZilla Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/550[50] Partial No
rekonq Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/555[51] No[ii] Partial[52]
surf Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/500[53] Yes ?
w3m Yes[54] No Partial Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
WebPositive Yes No Yes Yes 96/100[i] 253/500[55] No No
xombrero Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100 385/500[56] 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.[41]
  5. ^ Only Links 2 supports graphics.
  6. ^ a b c WebP is supported via the WebKitGTK+ browser engine.[44]
  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 16 July 2016. 
  14. ^ Dickey, Thomas E. (14 February 2014). "Stable release". lynx.isc.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "The NetSurf Developers". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "News". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 15 Apr 2016. 
  17. ^ "Pale Moon Release Notes". Pale Moon. 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  18. ^ "About QtWeb". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Qt Web Browser". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Rosca, David (8 June 2016). "QupZilla 2.0.1 released". QupZilla Blog. 
  21. ^ "rekonq: Files". SourceForge. 12 January 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  22. ^ Diamantini, Andrea (12 January 2014). "rekonq 2.4.2". adjam.weblog(). Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  23. ^ "Index of /surf/". suckless.org. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  24. ^ "The uzbl web interface tools". 
  25. ^ "w3m: Files". SourceForge. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "xombrero: Files". SourceForge. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "Spec Files Extra Repository". OpenIndiana Wiki. 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  28. ^ a b c "Dillo Web Browser Compatibility". Dillo.org. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Vibber, Kelson (28 April 2005). "Installing Dillo on Cygwin". Hyperborea. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "Nettle". nettle.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  31. ^ "New Telnet Client and Web Browser for RISC OS". My RISC OS. 2 September 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c d "GTK NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Haiku and BeOS NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "RISC OS NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  35. ^ "Pale Moon for FreeBSD". Pale Moon Forums. 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  36. ^ "QtWeb - Web Browser". Haikuware. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  37. ^ a b c d e f "Qupzilla - Lightweight multiplatform browser: Download". Qupzilla.com. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  38. ^ Papp, Laszlo (24 September 2012). "Randa: Rekonq installer for Windows". KDE (Laszlo Papp's blog). Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  39. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.21 (KHTML, like Gecko) Arora/0.11.0 Safari/537.21". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  40. ^ Inge Bolso, Erik (8 March 2005). "2005 Text Mode Browser Roundup". Linux Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  41. ^ https://html5test.com/s/553a452871cce107.html
  42. ^ "ThirdPartyPlugins". kmeleonbrowser.org. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  43. ^ Jáquez, Víctor (31 December 2013). "Boosting WebKitGTK+ compilation for armhf with icecream". Herostratus’ legacy. Igalia. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  44. ^ Midori_(web_browser)#HTML5_score
  45. ^ Auza, Jun (27 June 2009). "5 Free and Open Source Web Browsers That You May Have Never Heard Of". TechSource. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  46. ^ "0001896: NPAPI plugin support". NetSurf Bug Report System. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  47. ^ "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. 
  48. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux; en-GB) AppleWebKit/534.34 (KHTML, like Gecko) QtWeb Internet Browser/3.8.5 http://www.QtWeb.net". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014.  External link in |title= (help)
  49. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.21 (KHTML, like Gecko) QupZilla/1.6.0 Safari/537.21". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  50. ^ "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. 
  51. ^ Howell, Dean (22 May 2013). "ReKonq Gaining Chrome Extension Support, Still Sponsored By Blue Systems". The Powerbase. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  52. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Unix; en-US) AppleWebKit/537.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/24.0.1295.0 Safari/537.15 Surf/0.6". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  53. ^ 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. 
  54. ^ "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. 
  55. ^ "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]