- 9 Best Lightweight Browsers Of 2021
- 9. Lynx
- 8. Surf
- 7. Otter Browser
- 6. Pale Moon
- 5. Vimb
- 4. Luakit
- 3. NetSurf
- 2. Falkon
- 1. Midori
- 10 best lightweight browsers for Windows PCs
- What are the best lightweight browsers for Windows PCs?
- Opera Browser
- UR Browser
- UR Browser
- Comodo IceDragon
- Run a System Scan to discover potential errors
- Maxthon Cloud Browser
- Lunascape Orion
9 Best Lightweight Browsers Of 2021
Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari are probably the best internet browsers in the market right now; we cannot argue with that. However, they all have one thing in common: they consume a lot of system resources, especially Google Chrome.
What most people don’t know is there are a lot of lightweight alternatives available in the market. Although they are not as feature-rich and attractive as the big names, they surely have a few valuable things to offer.
Below we have listed the nine best lightweight web browsers of this year that sacrifice some of the features of mainstream browsers in order to minimize the memory footprint and consumption of system resources.
Lynx and Firefox rendering the same webpage | Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Platform: Windows, DOS, Unix-like
Started in 1992, Lynx is the oldest web browser still in active development. It’s a text-based web browser that supports SSL and various HTML features.
Unlike some command-line tools, the browser is quite easy to understand and use. You most probably won’t face any issue after a short period of learning.
Lynx can be extremely useful when using an old computer or slow internet connections. Being a text web browser has its own advantages: it can’t fetch information-tracking web bugs. Thus you can visit webpages without privacy concerns. Like conventional browsers, it supports page caching and browsing histories.
Because the browser takes keystrokes from text files, it’s still useful for web scraping and automated data entry. Moreover, it’s used to check page links and test websites’ performance.
Surf is a simple, minimalist web browser that intentionally provides a limited set of features. There is no built-in support for bookmarking, tabs, and ad filtering. The only graphical element it has is the webpage view.
The browser makes heavy use of the keyboard. You can open new sites, scroll horizontally and vertically, zoom in and out, and reload the webpage without using the mouse.
Since the browser supports the XEmbed protocol, it can be embedded in other applications. You can even configure its XProperties to point the browser to another URI.
To make changes, you need to edit Surf’s source code or configuration header file and then recompile it. A few changes can be made without recompiling via hotkeys or command line arguments.
7. Otter Browser
Beta 12 version with breeze style and icons
Engine: QtWebKit / QtWebEngine
Platform: Windows, macOS, Unix-like
Otter Browser aims to rebuild aspects of Opera version 12 while seamlessly integrating with desktop environments. The main objective is to become a haven for users who can’t stand what happened to Opera after discarding the Presto engine.
The browser is designed to be very modular with the ability to support almost all features that a standard browser should have, such as content blocking, spell checking, customizable graphical user interface, mouse gestures, tabs grouping, speed dial, password and bookmark manager, and other related functionalities.
The previous versions were quite buggy, but this is no longer the case. It’s simple, fast, and has become very stable. As of now, it is holding on to features and traditions that made Opera 12.x great.
6. Pale Moon
Pale Moon running on Windows 10
Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Pale Moon emphasizes customizability: its motto is “Your browser, Your way.” It is entirely built from its own independently developed source that has been forked off from Firefox code with substantial divergence.
Developers have added selected features and optimized the browser to improve its stability and user experience. In fact, they have made it compatible with a growing collection of themes and extensions.
It is different from Firefox in several ways. For instance, it always runs in single-process mode, uses the IP-API service for geolocation rather than Google’s service, and supports NPAPI, XUL, and XPCOM plugins that are no longer supported in Firefox.
Pale Moon hogs way less memory and CPU resources than Firefox, but since it’s based on much older code, it doesn’t perform well on browser benchmark.
Vimb in hinting mode
Vimb comes with a minimalist user interface that doesn’t have any graphical control elements except a command bar and URL address bar. It is mostly keyboard driven and doesn’t distract its user from daily work.
You can customize the browser in many ways. The command bar, for instance, can be hidden when not invoked, leaving more space for webpages, which users with small screens would appreciate.
To make keyboard-driven navigation even better, Vimb uses a method called ‘hinting,’ which marks all clickable elements on the webpage. In particular, it assigns labels to hyperlinks through a user-defined set of characters. By defaults, these characters are the numbers between 0 to 9. To activate the hinting mode, you need to enter a character.
In addition, Vimb supports recording histories, cookies, and bookmarks – noteworthy features for a minimalist browser. However, there is no support for search engine integration by default (you can add it via configuration file though) and no tabs for organizing pages.
Luakit with a dark theme and with vertical tabs enabled
Platform: Windows, Linux, BSD
Luakit is primarily targeted at developers, power users, and anyone who wants to have fine-grained control over the web browser’s interface and behavior.
You can completely customize the browser through configuration files, which are written in the Lua scripting language, enabling almost unlimited features. And, there are tons of keyboard shortcuts, so you can control the browser without using a mouse.
Platform: Windows, macOS, Unix-like
NetSurf runs on its own layout engine to squeeze the most from limited system resources. The goal of this open-source web browser is to be lightweight and portable.
NetSurf works on almost all systems, from a modern monster desktop to a humble 30MHz ARM 6 computer. The program was originally written for computer hardware, but now it’s found in several cable TV boxes and hand-held gadgets.
The browser is scorchingly fast and friendly with your RAM banks: While a newly opened Wikipedia page takes 220MB on Firefox, Netsurf uses only 76MB (on Linux OS). Multiply this over multiple tabs, and you save a significant amount of memory.
Of course, it won’t perfectly work on every website you visit, but if you are one of the users who spend a lot of time on Reddit, Wikipedia, and other text-oriented sites, you will definitely find it fast and very pleasant to use.
Engine: QtWebKit / QtWebEngine
Platform: Windows, Unix-like
Falkon (previously known as QupZilla) builds on the QtWebEngine, a wrapper for the Chromium browser core. It runs Facebook, Twitter, HD videos on YouTube smoothly and loads dozens of webpages without crashing.
Falkon has grown into a feature-rich web browser that has all functions one can expect from a standard browser. It has bookmarks, tabs, history, web feeds, and several icons set to match the native look of Windows OS.
In addition, it has an opera-like speed dial homepage, a built-in plugin for blocking ads (enabled by default), and a feature to capture the screenshot of an entire page.
The browser is best for running e-mail, calendar apps, and text-oriented websites. However, the whole concept of being extra lightweight seems quite exaggerated when you play a YouTube video on the browser. In that case, Falkon consumes as much RAM (220 MB) as Firefox.
Platform: Linux, Windows
Midori (Japanese for green) makes the most out of available resources. It may only be a little software, but supports all popular parts of the web, including YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify. It handles all the latest web technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3, so you can play games, listen to music, and more.
The browser has several built-in privacy tools, including third-party cookie blocking, script disabling, stripping referrer details, and automatic history clearing after a specific amount of time.
It comes with 5 extensions: Adblock, mouse gestures, cookie management, form history, and RSS feed panel.
Midori features configurable web search, tabs, session and bookmark management, smart bookmarks, and private browsing. You can customize the interface the way you want and write extension modules in C and Vala.
10 best lightweight browsers for Windows PCs
Indeed, these browsers are probably the best ones on the market right now, we can’t argue with that.
However, as the industry is massive, there are a lot of lesser-known options, that some users might consider using.
Although these obscure browsers aren’t as attractive, and as popular as the big names, they surely have something to offer.
So, if you want to jump out of your comfort zone when it comes to browsing the internet, and try an alternative for your everyday browser, you might be interested in using some non-commercial web searchers.
We’ve prepared a list of the best options for a lightweight browser that you might want to try. You’ll see what are the advantages and disadvantages of these browsers, and where they are compared to the main stars.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for in these programs, that you’ve probably never heard of before.
Sounds good already? Don’t lose your bookmarks when you change your browser!
There are many lightweight browsers suitable for your Windows computer. If you own a low-end or medium-range PC, you can install UR Browser, Torch, Lunascape and Midori.
Apart from these browsers, there are also a few other alternatives that you can use for Windows 10. We’ll list them all below.
What are the best lightweight browsers for Windows PCs?
Opera is the best lightweight browser designed for Windows 10 computers. Make sure to download the latest browser version or install the latest updates to enjoy the latest features.
Opera uses very little computer resources allowing you to free up more RAM. The browser does not hog your CPU or RAM and this will make your computer visibly faster.
Even if you install plenty of extensions, Opera won’t tax your computer as much as other popular browsers out there.
This browsing solution has a few aces up the sleeve that allows it to speed up web browsing without draining your PC’s resources. For example, the turbo mode compresses website data for faster loading.
The built-in ad blocker and tracker blocker remove ad and tracking scripts off webpages which results in faster loading times.
It offers advanced, privacy protection features such as a built-in VPN to keep prying eyes away. Download this excellent search-engine by clicking the link below and enjoy all the benefits.
UR Browser can easily be included in the top 3 lightweight browsers you can install on your PC. It’s fast, it doesn’t load unnecessary ad and tracking scripts and also protects your data privacy.
UR Browser doesn’t put a strain on your computer resources. This makes it the perfect choice for limited hardware configuration systems and old computers.
This Chromium-based browser is actually an all-in-one browser. It comes equipped with a built-in VPN and integrated virus scanner, as well as a privacy-focused search engine.
It is worth mentioning that you can download files four times faster with UR Browser.
The files you want to download on your computer are split up into smaller chunks and then downloaded simultaneously.
Midori is an open-source browser, that should satisfy not-so-demanding users.
This browser has a solid pack features, but also consumes fewer resources than some of the mainstream browsers, which can seal the deal for some people.
Some of the most important features of Midori are HTML5 support, bookmarks, RSS support, a spell checker, anonymous browsing, etc.
Speaking of HTML5, here is a list of the best editors on the market. You’ll become an expert on the matter!
It also ships with some additional options, like tabbed browsing, the ability to change privacy settings, font/display settings, and startup settings.
Speaking of privacy settings, Midori uses DuckDuckGo (a search engine that doesn’t collect or share user info)as its default search engine.
Of course, you can change this later, if you want to switch to a mainstream search engine.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about Midori is its simple user interface, which will delight all lovers of the minimalist approach.
The browser is very light, so it should be very easy for you to get accustomed to it. Its user interface consists of the search bar, the bookmarks bar, while content takes the majority of space.
So, we can call this browser Firefox’s younger brother, even though the two browsers are not related.
First and foremost, Comodo is a security company, so you can’t expect a browser built by them to be insecure. That’s, of course, the biggest advantage of the Comodo IceDragon browser.
Surely security is not the only thing this browser offers, as there are many useful features for better browsing.
When it comes to features, Comodo offers the same options as Mozilla Firefox, including the same menus, extensions, and add-ons, and more.
So, if Firefox is your primary browser right now, you’ll be more than familiar with using IceDragon.
Now, let’s talk about this browser‘s biggest highlight – security. IceDragon uses Comodo’s own DNS servers when converting URLs to IP addresses.
According to the company, Comodo claims that its DNS servers are actually more secure and faster than others.
Another great feature of IceDragon is that it runs in some kind of its own virtually created container.
That means the browser has no contacts with your system, therefore potential harmful software cannot be downloaded and installed on your computer.
There are some additional security features, like the ability to scan if web pages are secure, crash reports, performance reports, and more.
Vivaldi is probably the most underrated lightweight web browser, that accomplished this feat for a relatively short period of time.
This browser might be attractive to users because of its solid performance, and reliability. It uses Google Chrome‘s engine, but consumes far less memory, which is definitely a plus.
But, perhaps the biggest advantage of this browser is its customization ability. Users are able to choose themes for the browser, tab arrangements, take notes, and even schedule themes to change automatically.
When it comes to performance, Vivaldi is not behind its bigger competitors. On the contrary, it even achieved better HTML5 test results than Mozilla Firefox.
Of course, the browser still has some minor flaws here and there, but these are barely noticeable.
This browser irresistibly reminds of the ‘old’ Opera, mainly because the two browsers use the same engine.
As a lot of people aren’t satisfied by how Opera looks and functions now, Vivaldi could be the solution for core Opera fans to actually get back to what they used to love.
Run a System Scan to discover potential errors
Vivaldi is still relatively young, which means many improvements can be done.
So if the team behind it continues to do a good work, we might end up with even better, more competitive browser in the future.
SeaMonkey is an open-source web browser, that has been around for more than 10 years.
This is probably one of the most versatile browsers you can find on the market, because it offers much more than just regular web browsing.
This might come in handy if you want to keep all your services at one place, run fewer tabs in your browser, and therefore save more resources.
Besides providing some basic features you would normally get in any web browser, SeaMonkey also has some additional abilities.
It provides a password manager, voice interaction, customizable toolbars and the ability to restore sessions.
Since this is an open-source browser, basically anyone with some knowledge in coding and will to work on the browser can do so.
Because of that, SeaMonkey doesn’t seem to be the most stable and reliable browser out there, as users might notice occasional performance issues.
But if you want to save some time by having everything you use on a daily basis in the same place, and at the same time consume less energy and memory, you should give SeaMonkey a try.
Maxthon Cloud Browser
Maxthon Cloud Browser is another highly versatile browser that contains some features that you can’t even find in the major competitors.
It features a built-in ad blocker, a screen-capture tool, Night mode, Reader mode, RSS feed reader, a note pad, and several more features. It even comes with its own multi-account password manager, called Magic Fill.
Another great thing about Maxthon is that it uses its own cloud services to sync users’ data between devices.
While this isn’t an unusual sight with the major browsers, not many ‘smaller’ players can brag about this feature.
To make Maxthon sync your data on all devices, you need to create an account on its cloud-based service, Passport, log in, and you’re good to go.
Maxthon also sports an unusual user interface for the majority of browsers. It features a toolbar placed on the left side of its window with buttons for Favorites, Downloads, RSS feeds, and notes.
Just like Lunascape, Maxthon is also a multi-engine browser, as it can use both Internet Explorer’s Trident, and Google Chrome’s Webkit engine.
Can’t decide between Firefox, Chrome, IE, or Safari? Well, what if we tell you that you can have all four within one program.
That’s exactly what Lunascape Orion is all about – having Trident (Internet Explorer), Gecko (Firefox), or WebKit (Safari and formerly Chrome) all bundled into a single browser.
You can set one engine to be used every time you open Lunascape Orion, but you can also switch engines any time, simply by pressing a button.
This could be extremely useful if a certain web page is not supported in one browser, so you can always switch to another engine, and access the page.
It can be very practical, indeed, but some people say that its performance can suffer because of that.
The browser appears to have a very poor performance on some computers, and that’s basically its biggest problem.
Besides the ability to switch between three different engines, Lunascape Orion all features of a standard browser. You can save bookmarks, look for URLs, and it even supports RSS feed.
Brave Browser is another reliable browser that won’t sell your personal data to advertisers.
The browser blocks ads, tracking scripts, and cookies, so you can rest assured that all your browsing sessions are private.
Brave allows you use Tor right in a tab. Tor not only hides your history, it masks your location from the sites you visit by routing your browsing through several servers before it reaches your destination.
These connections are encrypted to increase anonymity. Regarding the supported extensions, Brave can work with almost all extensions from the Chrome Web Store.
The browser also has a built-in password manager so you can rest assured that each website is using a unique and secure password.
If you mainly use the internet to listen to music and watch videos, Torch is probably the browser you’ve dreamt of.
This customized browser is based on the Chrome rendering engine and has many features that will make managing and playing various media sources easy.
Torch has a built-in YouTube-based streaming service called Torch Music. This page allows you to easily access your favorite songs on YouTube, and have them all in one place.
Besides YouTube videos, the browser also gives you access to more multimedia content, from other sites.
What some users are going to like the most are Torch’s built-in download options. Namely, this browser has a built-in button for downloading YouTube videos, as well as its own torrents downloader.
So, if you want to download your favorite music video, or some file from a torrent, you basically don’t need to install any additional tool.
We have to warn you to be careful when downloading online content, because you can easily get into legal trouble, so it is advisable to only download ‘legal’ stuff.
When it comes to the user interface, you shouldn’t have any problems using this browser. Besides the main zone, where website content is displayed, Torch’s UI also has two drop zones on right and left.
The left drop zone is used for sharing content, and allows you to basically share anything you select to social media and other channels (videos, text, images, etc).
The right zone is where the search bar is, along with some additional browsing options.
This concludes our list of the best lightweight browsers for Windows. As you can see, each one of these programs has something unique to offer and is definitely worth your attention.
We know you probably continue using your current web browser even after reading this article, but you can at least think about giving some of these tools a try.
In fact, if you’re using an older computer, using a lightweight browser is actually recommended, because it can save you precious megabytes of memory.
What do you think about our picks? Do you have something to add? Tell us in the comments below.