When we’re online, we tend to spend a lot of time using web browsers. Unfortunately, most browsers are heavy on system resources due to the various security measures they employ. There are only a few lightweight web browsers available for Linux, and some of them are text or terminal-based, while others have GUIs. However, once you include a GUI, the browser will start consuming more resources. Those high-performance browsers we reviewed in this article: Best web browsers for Ubuntu & various Linux.
Now, in this article, we will be reviewing a few lightweight web browsers for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.
Table of Contents
Best lightweight browsers
Links is a lightweight web browser that features both a text and graphical mode. It comes with a pull-down menu system and is capable of rendering complex pages, supporting partial HTML 4.0 (including tables and frames), and handling multiple character sets such as UTF-8. It is designed for users who prefer to keep common elements of graphical user interfaces (such as pop-up windows and menus) in a text-only environment. Additionally, Links supports both colour and monochrome terminals and allows horizontal scrolling.
During my test, it used only 50 MB of memory while browsing one URL in GUI mode. In text mode, it used 10 MB.
You can install it in Ubuntu or Debian-related distributions using the below commands from the terminal.
sudo apt install links2
After installation, you can either launch it via the menu or the terminal. To launch via the terminal, you need to provide the URL as the argument. For example:
For more details, visit the official website.
It maintains a modest memory footprint, utilizing just 6 MB in our tests.
You can install it using the following command in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other related systems.
sudo apt install lynx
To learn more, visit the official website.
NetSurf, a versatile web browser, extends its reach across RISC OS, UNIX-like platforms (including Linux), and Mac OS X. Crafted in C, this award-winning open-source project boasts its own layout engine, delivering a unique browsing experience. It adheres to web standards, supporting HTML and CSS, while handling various image formats like PNG, GIF, JPEG, SVG, and BMP. With features such as HTTPS for secure transactions, Unicode text support, local and global history trees, a bookmark-rich hotlist manager, and a comprehensive cookie manager, NetSurf provides a robust yet lightweight browsing solution. Enjoy additional perks like URL completion, text selection, scale view, and a dynamic search-as-you-type text search, making NetSurf a perfect choice of a lightweight browser in Linux.
It uses 43 MB of RAM at idle.
It is available as Flatpak to install all the Linux distributions. You can set up your system as Flatpak/Flathub and then run the following command to install.
flatpak install flathub org.netsurf_browser.NetSurf
To learn more, you can visit the official website.
Otter Browser, a modern take on the classic Opera (12.x) UI using Qt5, strives to offer power users the best of both worlds: robust features and lightweight speed. With a user-friendly interface, Otter Browser comes equipped with essential functionalities like a password manager, addon manager, content blocking, and spell checking. Users can tailor their browsing experience with a customizable GUI, URL completion, speed dial, bookmarks, and a range of related features. The inclusion of mouse gestures and user style sheets further enhances the browser’s adaptability. Otter Browser stands out as a compelling choice for users seeking a harmonious blend of performance and customizable features on Linux and other platforms.
It uses 86 MB of RAM at idle.
Installing Otter browser is easy. You can run the following commands for Ubuntu and related distributions.
sudo apt install gdebi
sudo gdebi install otter-browser_1.0.02-1~focal~ppa1_amd64.deb
For other distributions, you can get the instructions in this page.
For more details, visit the official website.
qutebrowser is a keyboard-centric browser boasting a sleek and minimal GUI. Built on Python and Qt, this free and open-source software, licensed under GPL, draws inspiration from browsers like dwb and addons such as Vimperator/Pentadactyl. Despite being maintained part-time, qutebrowser remains feature-rich and lightweight, offering an efficient browsing experience. Its cross-platform compatibility extends to Linux, Ubuntu, MacOS, and Windows.
Operating with a modest 150 MB of RAM at idle, thanks to its Python3 foundation, qutebrowser strikes a balance between functionality and resource efficiency, making it an appealing choice for you.
Do remember that it is entirely “vim-like” keyboard driver with a GUI.
You can install it in Ubuntu and related distributions using the following command:
sudo apt install qutebrowser
For other Linux distributions, visit this page for instructions.
Nyxt, the “hacker” friendly browser, offers an immersive keyboard-centric experience, ensuring you never have to leave the keyboard. Tailored for efficient information extraction and navigation, Nyxt empowers users to analyze large documents effortlessly.
With fuzzy search through headings, intuitive link hinting, and the ability to run commands against multiple objects, Nyxt streamlines the browsing process. Its flexibility shines through custom keybindings, supporting configurations like CUA, VI, or EMAC. Moreover, Nyxt prioritizes user privacy by blocking cookies, trackers, and ads.
It uses 200 MB of RAM at idle.
It is available as Flatpak for all Linux distributions. You can install it using the following command, after setting up your system as Flatpak/Flathub.
flatpak install flathub engineer.atlas.Nyxt
To learn more about its features, visit the official website.
Min stands out as an underrated gem among lightweight and smart web browsers in the Ubuntu and Linux space. Its innovative design optimizes tab space, ensuring more room for seamless web browsing. The unique fading feature highlights important pages, while Focus Mode discreetly conceals other tabs, minimizing distractions. Min integrates with DuckDuckGo for quick definitions and answers, supporting fuzzy search for swift navigation. Notably, tabs open next to the current one, enhancing organizational efficiency.
This browser’s commitment to user experience extends to ad and tracker blocking, promoting faster and more private browsing. In instances of slow or expensive internet connections, Min offers the option to block scripts and images, reducing page load times and data consumption. Furthermore, Min is engineered for speed and energy efficiency, using less battery power for prolonged usage.
It uses 44 MB of RAM at idle.
Angelfish, a newly developed mobile web browser from KDE, goes beyond its Plasma mobile roots, delivering a seamless experience on desktops as well. While it continues to evolve with ongoing feature additions, Angelfish already excels in essential functionalities like tabs, bookmarks, and browsing history. Users benefit from ad-blocking capabilities, smooth scrolling, custom search engines, and the added privacy of a private browsing mode.
The browser is constructed with a powerful combination of the Qt web engine and Rust, following the modern programming language usage trends.
Notably, Angelfish maintains a modest memory footprint, utilizing just 136 MB of RAM at idle at desktop.
Angelfish is available as Flatpak via Flathub. You can install lightweight browser for all Linux distributions using the following command:
flatpak install flathub org.kde.angelfish
To learn more about this project, visit this page.
SeaMonkey stands out as a versatile, free, and open-source Internet suite. Rooted in the Netscape family, SeaMonkey offers a complete package, containing a web browser, email and news client, HTML editor, and IRC client. Sharing code with Mozilla Thunderbird, SeaMonkey Mail & Newsgroups ensures a seamless communication experience.
Despite being underrated, once properly set up, SeaMonkey proves remarkably productive, serving as a one-stop solution for various online needs.
As one of the oldest lightweight browsers in the Ubuntu and Linux ecosystem, SeaMonkey combines longevity with functionality for a reliable online experience. It uses only 121 MB of RAM at idle.
It comes with a pre-compiled binary for all Linux distributions. You can download it from the official website.
Midori Browser is a lightweight, swift, and secure browser dedicated to safeguarding your privacy and data security. Available across Linux, macOS, Windows, and even Android mobile, Midori offers a seamless cross-platform experience. With a modern design, powerful tab management, and synchronization features, Midori ensures a fluid browsing experience.
Emphasizing total privacy, Midori stands out by abstaining from tracking, selling invasive ads, or creating user profiles. As a user-centric browser, Midori provides tools like a VPN, contributing to its commitment to user privacy. Despite being in development, Midori is forward-thinking, integrating a robust VPN to enhance your online security while maintaining its core principle: you are the owner of your information. Midori’s dedication to privacy and its evolving feature set make it a promising choice for users prioritizing security in their browsing experience.
It uses 184 MB of RAM at idle.
Midori comes with a pre-compiled DEB file for Ubuntu Linux. You can download it from the official page, including for other operating systems.
There are other lightweight browsers available for Ubuntu, which may not be up to date or may be discontinued. Here are some of them; you may check them out using the links below.
In addition to the above, some of the readers suggested the following unknown & small projects which are open-source lightweight browsers:
Summary of lightweight browsers in Ubuntu
All these lightweight browsers cater to different preferences and needs. Lynx, with its text-based simplicity, stands as a venerable choice for those favouring efficiency over graphical interfaces. NetSurf, built on its own layout engine, provides a versatile and standards-compliant browsing experience. Otter Browser successfully marries the classic Opera UI with modern features, offering a user-friendly and customizable interface. qutebrowser, a keyboard-focused browser, excels in efficiency and adaptability, while Nyxt caters to power users with a keyboard-centric approach.
Min, often overlooked, proves itself as a smart and lightweight browser with features like fading tabs and focus mode, promoting a focused browsing experience. Angelfish, developed by KDE, stands out as a mobile browser adaptable to desktops, emphasizing privacy and delivering a sleek experience.
Here’s a table of all the lightweight browsers featured above for Ubuntu Linux and their RAM footprints.
|RAM at idle in Ubuntu (in MB)
|Text and GUI
|Text and GUI
Ultimately, the best browser depends on your preferences. Try all of them, and choose the one which suits you best.