What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?

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tux big   What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?Linux 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.

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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.

chrome for linux   What Are The Best 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.

firefox on ubuntu   What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?

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.

opera for linux   What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?

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.

epiphany browser on linux   What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?

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.

rekonq on kubuntu4   What Are The Best Linux Web Browsers?

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.

lynx browser in linux terminal   What Are The Best 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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26 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Danijel C

Started with chrome, back in its early days, after like a month uninstalled FF, chrome is just lighting fast and faster than anything else…

Reply

Zhong J

I used firefox on my windows system but that has changed and since Chrome 26 have stopped supporting Debian 6 due to GCC/GTK version, I’m going to wait for Wheezy which has more recent versions. However, IceWeasel or IceCat is the rebranded version for firefox but isn’t more recent.

The obvious choice is Google Chrome since they hold the top cup of web standards and performance, with memory an issue which firefox have improved upon. I’m voting for firefox to take number 1, I don’t have much hope for IE though.

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Rafael

When you speak about Opera you never really say the awesome goodies it has.
Take a look at how many different features there is: http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik/blog/2011/05/28/why-i-dont-use-google-chrome-or-other-browsers-besides-opera

Mike

Opera is switching to a chromium based browser now. Only time will tell if Opera adopts all the same features that has kept it around for so long.

Rafael

It’s true but the major features are still there. It’s still my browser of choice and continually getting better again, I use Opera 15+ on my computer and on my Android phone.

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dragonmouth

I started using Firefox when it was stilled called Phoenix. Stayed with it through all its iterations. I am too used to it by now to switch.

Couple of other WebKit based browsers for Linux are Midori and Arora. They may not be as feature rich as Chrome but they could give it a run for its money in speed.

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Austin

Right now, I usually use Firefox, but am not hesitant to fire up Chrome when I need to (sometimes Flash can be unstable on Firefox, but sometimes it works better in FF than Chrome. Flash is an inconsistent, buggy mess.), but they are both great browsers. The recent versions of Firefox have been very stable (other than Flash) and quite speedy (although the same can be said about Chrome), and I’m happy to use it.

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Brandon Ragoo

Chrome for the win !!!!!!!

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Chris Marcoe

What about Ice Dragon by Comodo? I’ve been using it off and on. Seems to look almost exactly l;like Firefox, but, it seems like you can lock it down a little better. make your browsing a little more secure.

Not really sure how to test the quickness of different browsers, though, so can’t really tell whether it is faster or slower.

Titanv

Unfortunately Ice Dragon only seems to be available for Windows.

Chris Marcoe

I use it on my Raspberry Pi. And that runs a Debian build.

Titanv

That’s not Iceweasel or IceCat that you’re using for Debian?

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ashutosh raj

chrome works fine but also use w3m when login from terminal

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ashutosh raj

chrome works fine but also use w3m when login from terminal

Reply

Lisa Santika Onggrid

So Google’s browser is the fastest browser in Linux.
Am I the only one to find this ironic? (no offense)

Florin Ardelian

What’s ironic about this?

Lisa Santika Onggrid

I know people who say a lot of things about Google being a closed dictator, move to Linux, and find that the best browser is Google’s

Florin Ardelian

Google is the most open company of the three giants (Microsoft, Google, and Apple). They have a lot of open-source software and even Chrome is based off Chromium which is open-source.

Reply

Noman Fayez

chrome is better than firefox everywhere….however I used IE10 on w7-Pro 64bit machine most of the time…. sometimes Chrome………..

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Mohan

I am a big Firefox fan, through thick and thin. I have been very happy with Firefox since Mozilla started the rapid release state, and 20 is by far the best version. I like how I can keep it in-sync across multiple platforms.

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samsher

firefox is not as bad as described here. i used to use chrome but nowadays i am finding myself using firefox as my default browser. the latest firefox 20 is awesome. the most liked feature in firefox for me is we can start it in private browsing mode by default just changing one setting, i hope chrome will also include this feature one day. and then i can think to start using chrome again.

Mike

The problem with FF in Linux is no hardware acceleration.

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David Moreira

Always used Chrome here. :)

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Donte Greene

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

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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 ;)

Dejan

+1 for thing`s comment

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