The 5 Lightest Web Browsers


For many, the go-to web browsers are Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Edge, and Mozilla Firefox, all of which do a great job of meeting your browsing needs. Yet, they are also quite demanding and consume a lot of system resources. These popular browsers can put extra strain on your CPU, RAM, and even drain your laptop battery faster. Step away from the de facto standards of browsing and dive into the world of rudimentary web browsers.

Using lesser-known lightweight browsers is a great solution to the problem of system resources being hogged by a more robust browser with multiple tabs open. For the most part, these browsers do the same job as their better-known counterparts, and there’s no compromise in terms of performance.

Here is the list of top 5 lightweight web browsers that you might want to try. Our selection is based on currently supported projects, minimum resource usage, and number of supported operating systems. If you want a more robust web browser with additional security, graphics, and add-ons, you might want to stick with traditional browsers.

1. Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a great choice for anyone with a modern processor, any multi-core processor greater than or equivalent to an Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 series. This browser requires at least 300MB disk space and 256MB RAM, but recommends at least minus 1 GB of RAM. That might seem like a lot of memory and storage, but the installer app is usually much smaller than the installed app, and the browser will probably never use that much RAM.

Although they currently only support Linux and Windows operating systems, development projects are currently underway for other operating systems. Installation is not necessary if you use it under Linux; you can just download the file, extract it and run it.

2. K-Meleon

Although designed specifically for Win32, K-Meleon works great on Win64 and Linux machines with Wine installed. This fast and light browser is based on the Gecko layout engine designed by Firefox and requires only 70 MB of disk space for download and 256 MB of RAM recommended.

Since it can run on systems that still use XP, this browser was designed to use fewer resources. You can download the browser from SourceForge.

3. Qutebrowser

Designed with a minimal GUI and featuring keyboard-focused VIM-like bindings, qutebrowser is a dream come true for many Linux developers and enthusiasts.

Installing this browser requires the additional installation of several other packages to support it, such as Python 3.6.1 or higher.

One can easily feel intimidated by the learning curve of this browser, but once you get familiar with it, you will be amazed at how effective it is.

4. Midori

Midori browser homepage.

Midori is a great option if you’re not a demanding user. It’s an open-source browser that offers a decent selection of features. Moreover, it stands out as one of the best browsers in terms of resource consumption.

In terms of features, this browser offers HTML5 and RSS support, anonymous browsing, spell checker, etc. Midori also includes extras like font/display and privacy settings. Previously, it used the encrypted DuckDuckGo as the default search engine to protect the privacy of your information; however, Midori recently switched to unencrypted Lycos to enable much faster performance.

The minimalist user interface is another highlight of this browser. Midori has a search bar and a few usual buttons, but that’s about it, allowing search to take center stage.

5. Comodo Ice Dragon

Comodo IceDragon

Developed by a well-known cybersecurity company, Comodo IceDragon is a powerhouse of a browser. The browser itself has features similar to Mozilla Firefox and strong security to keep all data intact. You get the usual assortment of add-ons, extensions, menus, and more.

IceDragon uses Comodo DNS servers to convert a URL to an IP address. More importantly, this browser has a dedicated virtual container. This means that it does not come into contact with your system, so there is no risk of malware infecting your computer unknowingly.

This lightweight browser gives you the option to delete crash and performance reports, and it also scans web pages for potential threats. IceDragon runs on Windows and requires 128MB of RAM and 40MB of hard drive space.

Although it’s designed for Windows, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to make more programs compatible with each other. After all, Red Hat and Oracle are known Microsoft companies.

Honorable Mention – Lynx Web Browser

Lynx homepage

Known as the oldest web browser in the world that is still actively supported, Lynx is a text-based browser that works on Linux, MAC, Windows, etc. Although not suitable for everyone, a text-based web browser offers some security features due to the nature of ad and cookie tracking. Traditional ad tracking has no effect as it does not process images or cookies.

Although Lynx does not offer tabs or traditional cookies, there are extensions available that allow you to whitelist and blacklist cookies from certain websites.

If you don’t need graphics or a mind working from a terminal window, check out Lynx. There’s a reason this browser is still supported.

Lightweight browsers for Linux/Unix based operating systems

For those using Unix, Linux, or another Unix-like operating system, you have a few options that are exclusive to you. There are a plethora of lightweight, minimalist browsers to choose from, so we’ll only list a few.

Dillo

Designed with personal security and privacy in mind, the Dillo web browser has a small footprint when it comes to utilizing system resources. Written in CC++, Dillo is a fast and efficient browser.

NetSurf

Requiring only 16MB of download space, NetSurf is a fast and efficient browser that can use as little as 30MB of RAM per tab. NetSurf can run on a variety of devices, even embedded systems. Check out this compact browser for a great alternative.

Although there is a Windows version, some features are not available, and it has been known to crash, so we are listing it as a Linux browser for now.

Web GNOME

Developed for the GNOME desktop environment, GNOME Web is a simple and elegant browser that adheres to the design philosophies of GNOME 3. Created with the WebKit engine, GNOME Web, also named Epiphany, is an excellent browser.

What is the lightest web browser?

pale moon. For the purposes of this list, Pale Moon will likely be the lightest. As rare as they are, some issues may occur in some of the other browsers and require more resources than Pale moon.

What is the best overall browser in 2022?

Firefox. Although Firefox is considered a bigger RAM hog than many other lighter browsers, it’s still the best in almost every category. It is one of the fastest Internet browsers, has private windows and reliably blocks malware.

What is the safest browser?

Firefox, Ice Dragon. Yes, Firefox again. Among the most popular web browsers, Firefox is the safest and consistently registers little malware. IceDragon is safest for lightweight browsers because this browser has the most support and a virtual container. This means that IceDragon does not interact directly with your system.

If you want more privacy and security from a browser, check if no scripts and ad blocks are available as extensions, non-script being more important than ad blocking.

The final verdict

It is almost impossible to name any of the browsers on this list as the best. Each excels in its own way, and the final choice comes down to your personal preferences and browsing needs.

For example, if you’re a fan of VIM-style keybindings, check out Qutebrowser. If you want a browser with less of a learning curve, check out Pale Moon. All of them provide an enjoyable browsing experience with significantly less strain on your system compared to their more robust counterparts.

Remember that all of these browsers are completely free to download and use. if you don’t like it, just uninstall it and try another one.

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