Comparison of lightweight web browsers

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 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

Browser Developers Development status Engine Programming languages Software license Latest stable release
AroraBenjamin C. Meyer et al.[7]DiscontinuedQtWebKit[8]C++GPL0.11.0[9] (27 September 2010 (2010-09-27)) [±]
DilloJorge Arellano Cid et al.ActiveDilloC, C++GPLv33.0.5[10] (30 June 2015 (2015-06-30)) [±]
ELinksPetr Baudiš, Jonas Fonseca, et al.ActiveLinksC, C++GPLv20.11.7[11] (22 August 2009 (2009-08-22)) [±]
K-MeleonChristophe Thibault et al.ActiveGeckoC++GPL75.1 (September 19, 2015 (2015-09-19)[12]) [±]
LinksMikuláš Patočka, Twibright Labs, et al.ActiveLinksCGPLv2+2.16[13] (11 May 2018 (2018-05-11)) [±]
LynxLou Montulli, Thomas Dickey, et al.Activelibwww derivativeC (ISO C)GPLv22.8.9rel.1[14][15] (8 July 2018 (2018-07-08)) [±]
MidoriChristian Dywan et al.ActiveWebKitGTK+Vala, CLGPL v2.1+None [±]
NetSurfJohn-Mark Bell, Michael Drake, et al.[16]ActiveNetSurfC (ANSI C)GPLv23.8[17] (29 August 2018 (2018-08-29)) [±]
Otter BrowserMichał Dutkiewicz[18]ActiveQtWebKit / QtWebEngineC++GPL0.9.95-RC5 (4 February 2018 (2018-02-04)[19]) [±]
QtWebLogicWare; LSoft Technologies[20]UnmaintainedQtWebKitC++GPL3.8.5[21] (9 September 2013 (2013-09-09)) [±]
Falkon (QupZilla)David RoscaActiveQtWebKit / QtWebEngineC++GPLv33.0.1 (8 May 2018 (2018-05-08)[22]) [±]
qutebrowserFlorian Bruhin et al.Active [23]QtWebKit / QtWebEngine[24]Python3GPLv3?
rekonqAndrea Diamantini et al.UnmaintainedQtWebKit[8]C++GPLv32.4.2[25][26] (12 January 2014 (2014-01-12)) [±]
surfChristoph Lohmann et al.ActiveWebKitGTK+CMIT License2.0 (28 March 2017 (2017-03-28)[27]) [±]
uzblDieter Plaetinck et al.ActiveWebKitGTK+C, PythonGPLv30.9.1 (October 27, 2016 (2016-10-27)[28]) [±]
vimbDaniel Carl et al.ActiveWebKitGTK+CGPLv33.1.0 (March 27, 2018 (2018-03-27)[29]) [±]
w3mAkinori Ito et al.Unmaintainedw3mCMIT License
Original version 0.5.3[30] / 15 January 2011 (2011-01-15)
Tatsuya Kinoshita version v0.5.3+git20180125[31] / 25 January 2018 (2018-01-25)
WebPositiveAndrea Anzani, Ryan Leavengood, et al.ActiveHaikuWebkitC++MIT License1.1-alpha (15 November 2013 (2013-11-15)) [±]
xombreroMarco Peerboom et al.DiscontinuedWebKitGTK+C, JavaScriptISC license1.6.4[32] (17 February 2015 (2015-02-17)) [±]

Operating system support

Browser BSD Haiku Linux macOS OpenIndiana OS/2 QNX RISC OS Windows
AroraYesYesYesYesYes[33]YesNoNoYes
DilloYesNoYesYesYes[34]NoNoYes[34]Cygwin[34][35]
ELinksYes[36]?Yes[36]Yes[36]Yes[36]Yes[36]No[36]Dropped[36]?
K-MeleonWineNoWine[37]WineNoNoNoNoYes
LinksUnofficialNoYesUnofficial?YesNoNoYes
LynxYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes[38][39]Yes
MidoriYesNoYesNoUnofficial[lower-roman 1]NoNoNoYes
NetSurfYes[40]Yes[lower-roman 2]Yes[40]Yes[40]Yes[40]No?Yes[42]Yes
Otter BrowserYes[43]Unofficial[44]Yes[43]Yes[43]NoNoNoNoYes
QtWebYesUnofficial[45]YesYesUnofficial[lower-roman 3]NoNoNoYes
Falkon (QupZilla)Dropped[46][47]Dropped[46][47]Yes[46][47]Dropped[46][47]NoDropped[46][47]NoNoYes[46][47]
rekonqYesNoYesNoUnofficial[lower-roman 3]NoNoNoInactive[lower-roman 4]
surfYesNoYes????NoNo
vimbYesNoYesYes???NoYes
w3mUnofficialUnofficialUnofficialUnofficialUnofficialInactiveNoNoCygwin
WebPositiveNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
xombreroYesNoYesYesYesNoNoNoYes
Notes
  1. Must be built from source code with a Vala compiler.[33]
  2. A binary for NetSurf v2.0 for Haiku is available. For v2.1 and higher, one must build it from source.[41]
  3. 1 2 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.[48]

Features

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
AroraYesNoYesYes100/100[lower-roman 1]359/550[49]No[lower-roman 2]No
DilloYesNoNoPartialN/A[lower-roman 3]N/A[lower-roman 3]NoNo
ELinksNoNoPartial[lower-roman 4]PartialN/A[lower-roman 3]N/A[lower-roman 3]NoNo
K-MeleonYesNoYesYes100/100[lower-roman 1]416/555[51]Partial[52]No
LinksYes[lower-roman 5]NoPartialPartialN/A[lower-roman 3]N/A[lower-roman 3]NoNo
LynxNoNoNoPartialN/A[lower-roman 3]N/A[lower-roman 3]NoNo
MidoriYesYes[lower-roman 6]YesYes100/100325/555[54]YesYes
NetSurfYes[55]YesNoYesN/A[lower-roman 3]N/A[lower-roman 3]No[56]No
Otter BrowserYesYesYesYes100/100370/550[57]YesNo
QtWebYesNoYesYes100/100[lower-roman 1][lower-roman 7]234/550[58]No[lower-roman 2]No
Falkon (QupZilla)YesYesYesYes100/100[lower-roman 1]497/550[59]PartialPartial
qutebrowserYesYesYesYes99/100497/550NoNo
rekonqYesNoYesYes100/100[lower-roman 1]385/555[60]No[lower-roman 2]Partial[61]
surfYesYes[lower-roman 6]YesYes100/100[lower-roman 1]385/500[62]Yes?
vimbYesYesYesYes98/100[lower-roman 1]405/500[63]NoNo
w3mYes[64]NoPartialYesN/A[lower-roman 3]N/A[lower-roman 3]NoNo
WebPositiveYesNoYesYes96/100[lower-roman 1]253/500[65]NoNo
xombreroYesYes[lower-roman 6]YesYes100/100385/500[66]Yes?
Notes
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Some tests take too much time to complete.
  2. 1 2 3 NPAPI is ported to QtWebKit, but is not implemented in this browser.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 The test requires JavaScript, which is not sufficiently supported by this browser.
  4. ELinks implements Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine.[50]
  5. Only Links 2 supports graphics.
  6. 1 2 3 WebP is supported via the WebKitGTK+ browser engine.[53]
  7. The final state does not match the reference rendering.

See also

References

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Further reading

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