What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?

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linux web browsersLinux desktops offer many of the same web browsers you can use Windows and Mac, with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all available for Linux. We’ll take a look at the best browsers you can use on a Linux system, including some lesser-known browsers that aren’t available on Windows or Mac.

We’ve covered the best browsers for Windows before, and much of comparison holds true on Linux, too. Most of the big-name browsers are here, with only Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari staying out of the Linux web browser wars.

Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all sync your browser data on Linux, too. If you already use one of these browsers and want to sync your data across platforms, you have an easy choice.

Chrome & Chromium

Google’s Chrome browser has taken much of the power-user web browsing market by storm and now makes up a plurality of the page views on the web. Google Chrome is excellent on Linux, too — it should be, as Google’s Chrome OS is essentially just the Linux version of Chrome running in a special environment. Google has incentive to make the Linux version of Chrome work well.

The Linux version of Chrome works just like Chrome on Windows, offering all the same Chrome extensions, Google account sync, and multi-process features. Chrome also includes its own Flash plugin. Chrome will be the only way to get a modern, updated Flash for Linux in the future as Adobe ends support for Firefox’s plugin architecture.

Chrome is also very speedy on Linux. A 2009 discussion from Google’s official Chrome development list asked “why is Linux Chrome so fast?” and had a Chrome developer observing that “the Linux version of Chrome feels ridiculously faster than Windows and Mac.” Chrome for Windows and Mac may have caught up in the years since, but the Linux version is still as speedy as ever.

You can get Chrome from Google’s website. Many Linux distributions also include the Chromium browser in their software repositories. Chromium is the open-source version of Chrome, and it contains most of the same features, although patent-encumbered and closed-source features like H.264 video playback and the integrated PDF viewer aren’t present.

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linux web browsers

Firefox

You’ll still find Mozilla Firefox installed by default on most Linux distributions. Firefox for Linux is a solid browser and is just as powerful as Firefox for Windows, offering the most powerful browser extensions you can get. Of course, most users don’t need this level of extension power and would be fine with Chrome.

Let’s be honest: Firefox isn’t as fast as Chrome on Windows. It won’t surprise you to hear that Firefox isn’t as fast as Chrome on Linux, either. Historically, Firefox has had some serious performance problems on Linux. Luckily, Firefox’s performance on Linux is no longer as bad as it was back in the Firefox 3 days. Firefox for Linux is reasonably speedy, but it just can’t catch up to Chrome – if only because of Chrome’s multi-process architecture.

Firefox is a solid browser on Windows, and it’s a solid browser on Linux, too. If you prefer Firefox on Windows, you’ll probably also prefer Firefox on Linux. But if you prefer Chrome on Windows, you’ll prefer Chrome on Linux, too.

web browsers for linux

Opera

Opera is a cult favorite among browsers, and its small user base is often very outspoken and passionate about their choice of browser.

There’s not a lot to say about Opera for Linux – it works just like Opera for Windows. If you want speed, stick with Chrome. If you want the most powerful browser add-ons, stick with Firefox. But if you want a browser where many of the features that require extensions are already integrated into the browser – Opera includes integrated BitTorrent, email, RSS, and even IRC features – Opera may be the browser for you.

Opera is the only closed-source browser on this list (although, to be fair, a few small parts of Google’s Chrome are also closed-source). You can download Opera for Linux from Opera’s website.

web browsers for linux

Epiphany – GNOME’s Browser

Epiphany is the GNOME desktop’s default browser. It renders websites with WebKit, which is the same rendering engine Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari browsers use.

The most striking thing about Epiphany is its extreme minimalism. If Chrome has a minimal interface, Epiphany has almost no interface at all. It’s a minimal portal to the web, keeping with the GNOME desktop’s appetite for minimalism everywhere. It does support extensions, but only a handful of Epiphany browser extensions are available.

Most people will want a more powerful browser interface, particularly one with a wider variety of extensions and sync features. But, if you really want a minimal interface that gets out of your way as much as possible, Epiphany may be the browser for you.

Midori is another browser that’s fairly similar to Epiphany, offering a lightweight, minimal interface that’s also written in GNOME’s GTK interface toolkit. Both are available in most Linux distributions’ software repositories.

web browsers for linux

Rekonq Or Konqueror – KDE’s Browser

Konqueror is the KDE desktop’s default browser, but Kubuntu and other KDE Linux distributions are choosing to include the newer Rekonq as their default browser.

If you use the KDE desktop environment on Kubuntu or another Linux distribution, either of these browsers may be worth a look. They’re both written in QT and use the same technologies as the other programs that come with KDE. Each is more integrated with the KDE desktop than the other browsers here, if that matters to you.

Konqueror still uses the KHTML rendering engine by default. Apple started with the open-source KHTML engine and used it to create WebKit, which is now used by Chrome, Safari, and most mobile browsers. Rekonq chooses to use WebKit by default, leaving behind the older KHTML engine.

Neither browser has as many extensions as you’ll find in Chrome or Firefox, nor do they have any syncing features. But if you really want a browser integrated with the KDE desktop, they may be worth a try. These browsers may be preinstalled if you’re already using the KDE desktop, but can be installed from most Linux distributions’ software repositories.

best linux web browser

Other Browsers

These aren’t the only browsers for Linux. Some users may also be interested in Dillo, an extremely lightweight browser for very low-power computers, but it supports few modern web features. You can even use a browser like lynx or w3m to browse the web straight from the Linux terminal – no graphical desktop required.

linux web browsers

Which browser do you prefer on Linux, and why is it the best for you? Leave a comment and share your insight!

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Comments (30)
  • Marcel de Korte

    Very wel Junior :) Slimboat is also my favorite webbrowser. By the way: I am 58 and from the Netherlands

  • jr

    i have been using linux since it first come out. my main browser is firefox. however, i do use other browsers such as opera, maxthon and slimboat. opera is fun, maxthon is really great, slimboat is the fastest of all. my os of choice is linux mint 17. ubuntu was great once but not anymore. i changed to linux mint last year and find it to be much better than ubuntu. after all is said and done, it seems that every browser works differently on each individual operating systems. chrome/chromium will not work on mint 17. i have tried many times to use both but to no avail. i am an 82 year old guy and love my laptop. how many old farts can say this. thanks jr

  • Charles Pratt

    I simply don’t trust google… The world is becomming more and more centralized and I believe that google’s goal is to index everything from everyone. Once google can touch it it becomes part of the public domain whenever the right people want it to be… Google which is simply a front end for a US government intelligence program called prophecy will ultimatley become the keeper of all knowledge because you wanted the next piece of cheese….
    Google is in a position to cripple other browsers because of their integration with most web sites. You the stupid are being nudged toward your own dependence. First they nudge the masses then they come for the outlyers calling them extreme or some such nonsense, that’s how the game works. In DC they call it “Chioce Architecture”.

  • thing

    Don’t use Google Chrome, Iron, Android or even their search engine.

    use slackware linux (not Ubuntu, Compromised)

    Don’t use Firefox or Seamonkey (Compromised; in bed with Google).

    What’s it going to take to realize that Google’s up to no good?

    Get yourself an ad blocker and check the results. Every site you’re on has hidden Google trackers.

    They got fined 22 million dollars for hiding their spyware in Apple’s Safari Browser.

    Now they’re even sending balloons into the sky to spy on your internet (you believe all that ‘free Wi-Fi’ baloney?). Google does things only to benefit Google; including being spies for the NSA.

    They are trying (probably succeeding) to seduce Mozilla. It’s interesting that Firefox has a massive memory leak they won’t get rid of. WHY NOT? They’ve had it since version 5.0 and it’s now on version 17 and they’ve had mountains of complaints about it. No matter how much memory you have Firefox eats it. What for?

    Freedom and Privacy.
    Protect it or lose it.

    “if you sacrifice freedom for security you will end up with none and deserve neither” – paris hilton ;)

  • Donte Greene

    HOW do you forget Midori, it is the 3rd best browser for linux behind FF and Chrome

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.