The 5 Best Portable Web Browsers for Your USB Drive
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Most computers you use every day will have a web browser pre-installed. However, there are times when you might need to use a portable browser instead.

But which are the best portable web browsers? We’re going to introduce you to five standalone browsers that you can put on a USB drive and take anywhere.

Why Use a Portable Web Browser?

The use cases are more varied than you might think. For example, perhaps your school or office does not allow you to install browser extensions. If you want to use an ad-blocker or a browser-based VPN, that can be a problem.

Or perhaps you like using a niche browser that’s not typically available on public machines. Again, a portable version of the browser might provide the solution.

And remember, portable browsers will still work on all machines which do not allow you to install your own software.

Which Is the Best Portable Browser?

Convinced you about the benefits of keeping a lightweight, portable browser close by on a flash drive? Good. But which one is the best?

Let’s take a look at our top five favorite portable browsers.

1. Opera Portable

Available on: Windows, macOS

Opera offers an easy-to-use standalone portable browser for Windows.

There are no differences between the desktop version and the portable version. That means you can enjoy all Opera’s best features such as ad-blocking, personal newsreader, and the battery saver. All your bookmarks, extensions, and data will only save to your profile on the USB drive, not to the host computer.

You can also make Opera work as a portable web browser for macOS, but it’s a bit trickier to set up:

  1. Download and mount the image of the regular version of Opera for macOS.
  2. Drag Opera from the disk image to your USB drive.
  3. Open the Terminal app and type /Contents/MacOS/Opera -createsingleprofile.
  4. Press Enter.

There is no portable version of Opera for Linux, though you can use Wine to get the app to work.

Download: Opera Portable for Windows | Opera for macOS (Free)

2. Firefox

firefox standalone browser

Available on: Windows, Linux (with Wine)

A portable version of Firefox for Windows has been available since 2004. It was the first app to become available on the now popular PortableApps.com website. You cannot download it from the main Firefox page.

Most of the best Firefox features are available, including extensions and automatic updating. Due to speed issues when updating an app on a USB drive, you can turn on the update prompt if you wish. The portable version of the browser also lets you access your own bookmarks and preferred settings.

Some of the key differences between the desktop version of Firefox and the standalone browser include the addition of a default profile, the removal of the default browser check at start-up, a location prompt for every download, and the removal of the disk cache.

Firefox Portable will work with Wine on UNIX systems.

Download: Firefox Portable for Windows (Free)

3. Vivaldi Standalone

vivaldi portable web browser usb

Available on: Windows

Vivaldi can be deployed as a portable browser on a USB drive. This time, however, the option to create a standalone version of the browser has been coded into the main app’s installer; there is no separate download.

To set up a portable version of Vivaldi, you first need to grab the app from the company’s official website. Once you’ve downloaded it, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

  1. Run the Vivaldi installer.
  2. On the first window, select Advanced.
  3. In the Installation type dropdown menu, select Install standalone.
  4. Choose a destination folder. You can run it on a USB drive, CD, or even in another Windows directory if you want two versions of the app on your operating system. Do not select the Program Files folder.
  5. Hit Accept.

Unlike some of the other browsers on this list, your Vivaldi extensions will not be transferred to the portable version of the app. They are encrypted with a computer-specific key.

Download: Vivaldi Standalone for Windows (Free)

4. Avant Browser USB Disk Version

avant usb browser

Available on: Windows

Avant Browser USB Disk Version is one of the most lightweight portable web browsers. You will struggle to find any browser on the Windows operating system with lower memory usage.

Some of the browser’s other key features include:

  • Video Sniffer: You can download a video off any webpage with a single click.
  • Split View: Both the desktop and portable version of Avant offer the Split View feature. You can use it to view—and browse—two different sites at the same time.
  • Synced Bookmarks: Your bookmarks will be available on all your Avant apps.
  • RSS Reader: If you’re looking for a native and reliable RSS reader, Avant offers a solid solution.

The only significant difference between the desktop browser and the portable browser is where user profiles are saved. On the portable version, they are in the same folder as the Avant app.

Download: Avant Browser USB Disk Version for Windows (Free)

5. Comodo IceDragon

comodo portable web browser

Available on: Windows

Comodo IceDragon is based on Firefox. It has a full desktop version and a portable browser version for Windows.

Of course, Comodo is best known for its anti-virus software, so it’s no surprise to find the browser packed with security features.

The most appealing feature is arguably its secure DNS service. All users can access Comodo’s DNS servers for free. Aside from faster browsing, Comodo’s DNS users will also benefit from malware domain filtering, a real-time block list of harmful websites, and a reduction in DNS poisoning attacks.

In terms of installation, Comodo takes the same approach as Vivaldi. You need to download the regular version of the app, then tick the box labeled Portable version (user profile is stored in destination folder) during the setup process.

Download: Comodo IceDragon for Windows (Free)

Warning: Avoid the Chromium Portable Web Browser

We used to recommend Chromium as one of the best portable browsers; many sites still do. Sadly, it’s no longer a good idea. It hasn’t been updated since July 2017 and runs on Chromium version 61. No further updates are planned.

Older browsers are notorious for being security nightmares. If you run a browser that’s several years old, you’re asking for trouble.

The Best Portable Browser for USB Drives

So, which is the best portable browser? For us, it’s a toss-up between Opera and Firefox. For Windows users, the easy-to-run USB version of Opera is appealing, but long-time Firefox users might struggle to pull themselves away.

To learn more about portable apps, check out our other article on the best portable apps that don’t require installation The Best Portable Apps That Require No Installation The Best Portable Apps That Require No Installation Portable apps don't need installation. You can run them from even a flash drive. Here are the best portable apps around. Read More and our explanation of how portable apps can make your life easier How Portable Apps Can Make Your Life Easier & Save Resources How Portable Apps Can Make Your Life Easier & Save Resources If you frequently switch computers and have cloud storage space or USB drives to spare, here's an idea: outsource your applications. Read More .

Image Credit: karandaev/Depositphotos

Explore more about: Mozilla Firefox, Opera Browser, Portable App, USB Drive, Vivaldi Browser.

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  1. Lynell
    October 14, 2019 at 5:47 am

    Artikel yang sangat membantu. Saya sangat berterima
    beri akan hal ini. Kunjungilah domino indonesia kalau ada waktu, terima beri.

  2. BubbleTechno  
    October 10, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    cx

  3. BubbleTechno  
    October 10, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for this post. These browsers look very good! I have use SRWare browser. That was very great experience for me.

  4. Kick
    April 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Where is all the history of portable web browsers stored?

  5. sherry
    April 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I tried Midori and my virus scanner goes crazy.
    so i tried a bunch of other scanners... same thing. I'll pass on shady things like midori.

  6. Leisiz de Paks
    December 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Midori works great on all my computers running Linux. On 3 computers with Win7 I always have problems loading pages.

  7. Heyoka1
    January 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Now, I have reembered there's also a portable version of the MIDORI browser...

  8. HeroicTuts
    January 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    These browsers look very good!

  9. Blaszta
    January 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    +1 for Pale Moon

    • Angelita
      March 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

      It's always a pleasure to hear from someone with eexpriste.

  10. Chris Dinesen Rogers
    January 2, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I'll give Opera a try. The only problem I see is compatibility with some sites.

    • Maria
      March 22, 2012 at 5:23 am

      This is still in its fantasy ntkhiing of Steve Jobs. The critical word I see is "Efficiently" specially for the work on photoshop or indesign. Yeah tablets(android, ipads) have come a long way since their inception and they do allow you to Remote Desktop to control the desktop assuming you have good and reliable network. But for the professional kind of work they do not suite your needs just because the resolution on tablets is much less and connectivity could also be an issue.If I were you the best thing to do is to use a Webservice such as Dropbox or Zumodrive or microsoft's skydrive(?) and drop your files. The first two provide 2GB free and Microsoft has 25GB free if you have some WindowsLive account. I would copy them to these places and come home and download them to your local desktop/laptop. Alternatively, use a portable USB drive to copy and can avoid all the network hassles. BTW, I have iPad and also Remote Desktop app as well. I use it mostly for ease of connectivity and things that I cannot do easily on iPad such as launch iTunes, so I can stream my movies from networked storage to my large screen LCD TV via Apple TV, or print a doc which is not easy to do so from iPad, copy things that I need from local machine to Network drives. Such activities I can easily do them. I have tried launching Photoshop, which works fine but the color contrasts and images do not look right and will have to repeat my work. I am not a professional photoshop user, but still love to do minimal edits which I always do on desktop (iMac 27" which is cool). Same goes for Video editing as well. I use iPad via remote connectivity to check the status of the DVD burning etc.Even a netbook is not good enough for real professional Photoshop editors, they are good for quick editing and viewing.

  11. Mike Merritt
    January 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Browzar is an Add-on overlay to Internet Explorer - and not a real browser itself.  There are complaints that it redirects searches to Overture for pay-per-click.  Check the reviews before you use it.

    • Craig Snyder
      January 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Here's a little more on this subject:
      "Contrary to earlier coverage, Browzar appears to be nothing but a simple shell to IE which forces Overture ads on its own users. The creators didn’t write a cache or history function, calling this a feature, and users are unable to change the search function or home page to anything other than Browzar ad results."

      Browzar shouldn't be considered adware or anything of that nature (as an awful lot of browsers and similar softwares do try to profit from search traffic). I'd consider Browzar, still, to be a portable tool worth your time simply because of the way it leaves no fingerprint. If you're concerned with security and privacy at school or work, using Browzar from a USB stick (rather than Internet Explorer itself) will isolate your browsing so that it doesn't exist within IE itself.

    • AA
      January 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Browzar is an IE shell browser which is why it such a small footprint, it does the job very well and you can carry it around on a USB stick. They have the same business model as Firefox, a search engine on the home page, search results from Ask and ad's from Google.

  12. Heyoka1
    January 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Well, and what about the portable version of Comodo's DRAGON browser? I like it much, besides my favorite portable OPERA... ;-)

    • Craig Snyder
      January 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Hadn't heard of this until now, Dragon looks good.

  13. Andrei
    January 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Opera has now an option for portable install, which is significantly easier to keep up-to date. Also, it will accept to make itself the official browser of the PC (unless Opera@USB). 

    • Andrei
      January 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      /unlike

  14. Nat Jay
    January 1, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Browzar looks quite good. I already use SRWare, a privacy-centric browser, so this should be a good (portable) complement to that.

    • Anomaly
      January 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      SRWare Iron browser has a portable version to. They have an official one on their site and Portableapps.com has a version as well. 

    • Craig Snyder
      January 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      I too use SRWare! Very underrated Chromium browser.