The 5 Best Lesser-Known Web Browsers for Linux

Tired of the usual fare? Try one of these

A woman using a laptop on a table.

One of the best things about Linux is the wide range of choice users have with just about every aspect of the operating system. That level of choice extends from the kernel all the way to end-user applications. For those who depend upon a web browser to either be productive or entertained, Linux has plenty of options. Let’s take a look at five of the lesser-known choices to be found on your favorite Linux distribution. Some of the browsers you’ll see listed are open source and some are not. No matter the license, each browser does an outstanding job.

 

01
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A screenshot of the Midori web browser running on Linux.

Midori is an open source browser that is all about being lightweight. Where it lacks in features, it makes up in speed and small footprint. But even while it might not have all the bells and whistles of, say, Firefox or Chrome, Midori does include built-in ad blocking, private browsing, cookie and script management, web app creation, customized side panels, user scripts and styles, web developer tools, bookmarks, tabbed browsing, and more. Midori uses a GTK interface and is powered by WebKit rendering engine (the same engine used by Apple’s Safari web browser.

What We Like

  • Lightweight

  • Fast page rendering

  • Simplistic interface

What We Don’t Like

  • Some websites do not function as expected

02
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A screenshot of the Brave web browser running on Linux.

The Brave web browser is based on the Chromium blink engine. The primary focus of Brave is to block ad trackers, a task for which it excels. Every time you open a new website, Brave will block ads and keep track of the totals blocked. Over time you will see not only how many ads and trackers were blocked, but how many times HTTP traffic was redirected to HTTPS and how many seconds you’ve saved (because of the blocking of ads and trackers). Brave does a fine job of rendering sites and working with most modern websites. The one caveat to using Brave on Linux is that it is best installed as a Snap package.

What We Like

  • Outstanding ad and tracker blocking

  • Fast page rendering

  • Clean and modern interface

What We Don’t Like

  • Still in beta

  • Not available in standard repositories

03
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A screnshot of the Vivaldi web browser running on Linux.

Vivaldi was born when a few developers left the Opera project to create their own browser. What those developers brought to light was, even from the start, highly impressive. Now that Vivaldi has reached the 2.0 milestone, it exceeds what Opera has done and has become one of the finest lesser-known browsers on the market. Best of all, there’s a version of Vivaldi for Linux. This browser features everything you need in a modern browser: Account sync, tabbed browsing, themes, privacy (including Do Not Track, private windows, blocking third-party services, and more), Speed Dial (for quick access to your most-used sites), Web Panels (for even quicker access to your most-used sites, and so much more. The 2.0 iteration of the browser also brings a level of speed unmatched by most of the competition.

What We Like

  • Account Sync

  • Incredible speeds

  • Outstanding page rendering

  • High level of security

What We Don’t Like

  • There might be too many bells and whistles for some users

04
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A screenshot of the Falkon web browser running on Linux.

Falkon is the continuation of a browser that had a rather odd name … QupZilla. Although this QtWebEngine browser is actually a KDE-specific application, it does a great job of looking like a native application, regardless of what Linux distribution or desktop you are using. Combine that with outstanding page rendering, and you have a web browser that is sure to please a lot of users. Falcon does include a number of features found on modern browsers, such as ad blocking, themes, tabs, password management, Do Not Track, seamless notification integration, extensions, spell check, and more.

What We Like

  • Outstanding desktop integration

  • Solid page rendering

  • Plenty of available options

What We Don’t Like

  • The UI can seem a bit unstable

  • Installation requires some KDE bits (on a non-KDE desktop)

05
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A screenshot of the Pale Moon web browser running on Linux.

Pale Moon is an open source Goanna-based browser and can work with some of the many Firefox extensions (some being the operative word).

Although Pale Moon was forked off Firefox, the fork happened a number of years ago, so after a long period of development, the browser stands on its own.

Pale Moon features user-selectable security level, fully customizable interface, themes, fast page rendering, Pale Moon-specific extensions, stability, and much more. Pale Moon does very much resemble Firefox of old, so if you were a fan of the early 2000s iterations of that particular open source browser, chances are you’ll enjoy Pale Moon.

What We Like

  • Familiar interface

  • Solid page rendering

  • Plenty of security-centric options

What We Don’t Like

  • Out of date UI

  • Not available in standard repositories

  • New Tab page isn’t configurable (without a third-party extension)