Screenshot of Waterfox version 55.2.2 running on Windows 10, showing the English Wikipedia
Developer(s) Alex Kontos
Initial release 27 March 2011
Stable release
Desktop 56.2.2[1] / 14 July 2018 (2018-07-14)
Android 56.1.0[2] / 25 March 2018 (2018-03-25)
Development status Active
Written in C/C++, CSS, JavaScript, XUL
Operating system Windows 7 or later, macOS, Linux, Android
Platform x86-64
Type Web browser, mobile web browser, feed reader
License Mozilla Public License
Website www.waterfoxproject.org

Waterfox is an open-source web browser for 64-bit operating systems, with an aim to be speedy, ethical, and maintain support for legacy extensions dropped by Firefox, from which it is forked. There are official releases for 64-bit Windows (including a portable version), macOS, 64-bit Linux, and 64-bit Android.

Waterfox is based on Firefox and is compiled using various compilers and using Intel's Math Kernel Library, Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 and Advanced Vector Extensions. Linux builds are built with Clang. Waterfox is continuing to support the long-standing XUL and XPCOM add-on capability that Firefox removed in version 57.[3][4][5][6]


Waterfox differs from Firefox in a number of ways by:

  • Disabling Encrypted Media Extensions (EME)
  • Disabling Web Runtime
  • Removing Adobe DRM
  • Removing Pocket
  • Removing Telemetry
  • Removing data collection
  • Removing startup profiling
  • Allowing running of all 64-bit NPAPI plugins
  • Allowing running of unsigned extensions
  • Removing of Sponsored Tiles on New Tab Page
  • Addition of locale selector in about:preferences > General
  • Defaulting to Bing as the search engine instead of Ecosia, Google or Yahoo![7]


Waterfox was first released on March 27, 2011, for 64-bit Windows. The Mac build was introduced on May 14, 2015, with the release of version 38.0,[8] the Linux build was introduced on December 20, 2016, with the release of version 50.0, and[9] the Android build was first introduced in version 55.2.2.[10] Version 29.0 released on July 22, 2015, had a build for iOS. And from May 12, 2015 to November 12, 2015, Waterfox had its own exclusive charity search engine called Storm.[11]

Benchmarks and usage

32-bit Firefox outperformed 64-bit Waterfox in Peacekeeper browser benchmark tests run by TechRepublic in 2012,[12] and 64-bit Waterfox slightly outperformed 32-bit Firefox in tests run by Softpedia in 2014.[13] However, in 2016 64-bit Waterfox performed worse than 64-bit Mozilla Firefox in the Kraken, SunSpider, JetStream, and Octane 2.0 benchmarks.[14] Benchmarks were once available on the developers' website but have since been removed.[15] Waterfox was presented at an event called “Pitch@Palace”[16] at St James's Palace for Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

As of November 15, 2016, Waterfox had over 6 million downloads.[17]

See also


  1. Kontos, Alex (14 July 2018). "Waterfox 56.2.2 Release". waterfoxproject.org. Waterfox. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  2. Kontos, Alex. "The Waterfox Blog". waterfoxproject.org. Waterfox. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. "Proposal for Waterfox 56". Reddit. 2017-03-11. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  4. "Waterfox 55 Release". Waterfox. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  5. Kev Needham (2015-08-21). "The Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons". blog.mozilla.org. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  6. Jorge Villalobos (2017-02-16). "The Road to Firefox 57 – Compatibility Milestones". blog.mozilla.org. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  7. "Waterfox - Help Waterfox". Waterfox Project. 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  8. Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 38.0 Release". www.waterfoxproject.org. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  9. Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 50.1.0 Release (Windows, Mac & Linux)". www.waterfoxproject.org. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  10. Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 55 Release (Windows, Mac, Linux and Android)". www.waterfoxproject.org. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  11. Kontos, Alex. "4 Year Anniversary: Waterfox Charity and Storm Search". www.waterfoxproject.org. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  12. Nawrocki, Matthew (20 April 2012). "Review: Firefox's unofficial 64-bit variant Waterfox". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013.
  13. Opris, Elena (6 June 2014). "Waterfox 28 Review – A 64-Bit Version of Firefox". Softpedia.
  14. Don Salva. "Web browser benchmarks: Firefox vs. Waterfox vs. Pale Moon vs. Chromium vs. Chrome". The Kaputniks. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  15. Alex Kontos. "Waterfox - Probably the fastest 64-Bit browser on the web". Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  16. "Pitch @ Palace Bootcamp". The Duke of York. 10 November 2014.
  17. "Waterfox". waterfoxproject.org. Archived from the original on 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
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