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 notable 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 Status Engine Programming languages License Latest release
Version Date
Arora Benjamin C. Meyer et al.[7] Discontinued QtWebKit[8] C++ GPL-2.0-or-later 0.11.0[9] Edit this on Wikidata 2010-09-27
Dillo Jorge Arellano Cid et al. Active Dillo C, C++ GPL-3.0-or-later 3.0.5[10] Edit this on Wikidata 2015-06-30
ELinks Petr Baudiš, Jonas Fonseca, et al. Inactive Links C, C++ GPL-2.0-only 0.11.7[11] Edit this on Wikidata 2009-08-22
Falkon (QupZilla) David Rosca Active QtWebKit / Qt WebEngine C++ GPL-3.0-or-later 3.1.0[12] Edit this on Wikidata 2019-03-19
K-Meleon Christophe Thibault et al. Active Gecko C++ GPL 76.4.5[13] Edit this on Wikidata 2021-11-06
Links Mikuláš Patočka, Twibright Labs, et al. Active Links C GPL-2.0-or-later 2.25[14] Edit this on Wikidata 2021-10-03
Lynx Lou Montulli, Thomas Dickey, et al. Active libwww derivative C (ISO C) GPL-2.0-only 2.8.9rel.1[15] Edit this on Wikidata 2018-07-08
NetSurf John-Mark Bell, Michael Drake, et al.[16] Active NetSurf C (ANSI C) GPL-2.0-only 3.10[17] Edit this on Wikidata 2020-05-24
Otter Browser Michał Dutkiewicz[18] Active QtWebKit / Qt WebEngine C++ GPL-3.0-or-later 1.0.02[19] Edit this on Wikidata 2020-12-21
QtWeb LogicWare; LSoft Technologies[20] Unmaintained QtWebKit C++ GPL-2.0-or-later 3.8.5[21] Edit this on Wikidata 2013-09-09
qutebrowser Florian Bruhin et al. Active [22] QtWebKit / Qt WebEngine[23] Python3 GPL-3.0-or-later 2.4.0[24] Edit this on Wikidata 2021-10-21
rekonq Andrea Diamantini et al. Discontinued QtWebKit[8] C++ GPLv3 2.4.2[25] Edit this on Wikidata 2014-01-12
surf Christoph Lohmann et al. Active WebKitGTK C MIT 2.1[26] Edit this on Wikidata 2021-05-08
uzbl Dieter Plaetinck et al. Discontinued WebKitGTK C, Python GPL-3.0-only 0.9.1[27] Edit this on Wikidata 2016-10-27
w3m Akinori Ito et al. Unmaintained w3m C MIT 0.5.3[28] Edit this on Wikidata 2011-01-15
WebPositive Andrea Anzani, Ryan Leavengood, et al. Active HaikuWebkit C++ MIT 1.3-alpha[29] Edit this on Wikidata 2021-08-01
xombrero Marco Peerboom et al. Discontinued WebKitGTK C, JavaScript ISC 1.6.4[30] Edit this on Wikidata 2015-02-17

Operating system support[edit]

Browser BSD Haiku Linux macOS OpenIndiana OS/2 QNX RISC OS Windows Android
Arora Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[31] Yes No No Yes
Dillo Yes No Yes Yes Yes[32] No No Yes[32] Cygwin[32][33]
ELinks Yes[34] ? Yes[34] Yes[34] Yes[34] Yes[34] No[34] Dropped[34] ?
Falkon (QupZilla) Dropped[35][36] Dropped[35][36] Yes[35][36] Dropped[35][36] No Dropped[35][36] No No Yes[35][36]
K-Meleon Wine No Wine[37] Wine No No No No Yes
Links Unofficial No Yes Unofficial ? Yes No No Yes
Lynx Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[38][39] Yes
NetSurf Yes[40] Yes[41] Yes[40] Yes[40] Yes[40] No ? Yes[42] Yes[43]
Otter Browser Yes[44] Unofficial[45] Yes[44] Yes[44] No No No No Yes
QtWeb Yes Unofficial[46] Yes Yes Unofficial[i] No No No Yes
qutebrowser Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Yes
rekonq Yes No Yes No Unofficial[i] No No No Inactive[ii]
surf Yes No Yes ? ? ? ? No No
uzbl ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ?
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. ^ a b Must be built from source code; requires a compatible version of Qt.
  2. ^ rekonq v1.1 for Windows was published in September 2012. As of June 2014, it is the only published version for Windows.[47]

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[48] 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
Falkon (QupZilla) Yes Yes Yes Yes 100/100[i] 497/550[50] Partial Partial
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
NetSurf Yes[53] Yes No Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No[54] No
Otter Browser Yes Yes Yes Yes 100/100 370/550[55] Yes No
QtWeb Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i][vi] 234/550[56] No[ii] No
qutebrowser Yes Yes Yes Yes 99/100[citation needed] 521/550 No No
rekonq Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/555[57] No[ii] Partial[58]
surf Yes Yes[vii] Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/500[60] Yes ?
uzbl Yes Yes Yes Yes 98/100 461/500 Yes ?
w3m Yes[61] No Partial Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
WebPositive Yes No Yes Yes 98/100[i] 358/500[62] No No
xombrero Yes Yes[vii] Yes Yes 100/100 385/500[63] 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.[49]
  5. ^ Only Links 2 supports graphics.
  6. ^ The final state does not match the reference rendering.
  7. ^ a b WebP is supported via the WebKitGTK browser engine.[59]

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. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. 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. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
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  10. ^ http://hg.dillo.org/dillo/raw-file/tip/ChangeLog.
  11. ^ "News". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  12. ^ https://www.falkon.org/2019/03/19/falkon-310-released/.
  13. ^ http://kmeleonbrowser.org/forum/read.php?19,154431.
  14. ^ http://links.twibright.com/download/ChangeLog.
  15. ^ "Lynx2.8.9". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  16. ^ "The NetSurf Developers". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  17. ^ http://www.netsurf-browser.org/about/news.html.
  18. ^ "Otter Browser". otter-browser.org. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  19. ^ https://github.com/OtterBrowser/otter-browser/releases/tag/v1.0.02.
  20. ^ "About QtWeb". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  21. ^ https://qtweb.net/qtweb.html.
  22. ^ "qutebrowser/qutebrowser". GitHub. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  23. ^ "qutebrowser - ArchWiki". wiki.archlinux.org. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  24. ^ https://github.com/qutebrowser/qutebrowser/releases/tag/v2.4.0; publication date: 21 October 2021; retrieved: 8 December 2021.
  25. ^ "rekonq 2.4.2". 12 January 2014.
  26. ^ https://surf.suckless.org/.
  27. ^ "Release 0.9.1". 27 October 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  28. ^ https://sourceforge.net/projects/w3m/files/.
  29. ^ "WebPositive: update version to 1.3". 1 August 2021.
  30. ^ https://github.com/conformal/xombrero/releases/tag/XOMBRERO_1_6_4; retrieved: 31 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Spec Files Extra Repository". OpenIndiana Wiki. 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  32. ^ a b c "Dillo Web Browser Compatibility". Dillo.org. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  33. ^ Vibber, Kelson (28 April 2005). "Installing Dillo on Cygwin". Hyperborea. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  34. ^ a b c d e f "Qupzilla - Lightweight multiplatform browser: Download". Qupzilla.com. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  35. ^ a b c d e f "Download - Falkon". falkon.org. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  36. ^ "UKmeleon: Unofficial K-Meleon Distributions". kmeleonbrowser.org. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  37. ^ "Nettle". nettle.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  38. ^ "New Telnet Client and Web Browser for RISC OS". My RISC OS. 2 September 2001. Archived from the original on 22 May 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  39. ^ a b c d "NetSurf | GTK Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  40. ^ "NetSurf | BeOS Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  41. ^ "NetSurf | RISC OS Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  42. ^ "NetSurf | Windows Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  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.
  45. ^ "QtWeb - Web Browser". Haikuware. 31 May 2013. Archived from the original on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  46. ^ Papp, Laszlo (24 September 2012). "Randa: Rekonq installer for Windows". KDE (Laszlo Papp's blog). Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  47. ^ "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.
  48. ^ Inge Bolso, Erik (8 March 2005). "2005 Text Mode Browser Roundup". Linux Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  49. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) QupZilla/2.1.99 Safari/537.36". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  50. ^ "HTML5test - How well does your browser support HTML5?". html5test.com. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  51. ^ "ThirdPartyPlugins". kmeleonbrowser.org. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  52. ^ Auza, Jun (27 June 2009). "5 Free and Open Source Web Browsers That You May Have Never Heard Of". TechSource. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  53. ^ "0001896: NPAPI plugin support". NetSurf Bug Report System. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  54. ^ "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.
  55. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux; en-GB) AppleWebKit/534.34 (KHTML, like Gecko) QtWeb Internet Browser/3.8.5". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  56. ^ "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.
  57. ^ Howell, Dean (22 May 2013). "ReKonq Gaining Chrome Extension Support, Still Sponsored By Blue Systems". The Powerbase. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  58. ^ Jáquez, Víctor (31 December 2013). "Boosting WebKitGTK+ compilation for armhf with icecream". Herostratus’ legacy. Igalia. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  59. ^ "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.
  60. ^ 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.
  61. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Haiku R1 x86) AppleWebKit/606.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) WebPositive/1.2 Version/11.1 Safari/606.1.4". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  62. ^ "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]