Lightweight Web Browsers

Introduction

Lightweight browsers are an alternative to the Heavyweight (or Mega-Browsers) because many people need a browser that will run on older systems or simply one with less features.

The Lightweight browsers offer a large variety of alternatives from the traditional heavyweight browsers. Each review will highlight the key features of the browser and specify if the browser is good for older systems or has unique functions. Browsers that have not been maintained by the developer for 12 months or longer will not be considered. All the reviewed browsers will have the essential features of a quality browser including active security, web search, privacy viewing, pop-up blocking, download management, plug-in and extension support.

 Mega Browsers 

 

 Lightweight Browsers 

 

 Other Browsers 

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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

Lightweight Web Browsers

Flashpeak.com

The folks at FlashPeak.com have created two lightweight browsers in this category. Slimbrowser was developed as a lightweight high speed alternative for the Windows OS and uses the Trident engine. Slimboat is similar in appearance, but the core uses Webkit. Both are reviewed with emphasis on what makes each unique.

SlimBrowser Some of Slimbrowser's key features include full or partial screen capture, spell check, Site Groups, form Quickfill management, Photo management, and Social Networking. Quickfill is used to save form information from websites where you may repeatedly have to enter differing information. Once you complete the form, save the page and Quickfill will recall the information next time. It also supports multiple identity files for multiple users. Photo-Salon will create frames or other enhancements for pictures before they are uploaded. Auto size will automatically resize pictures to a customizable predetermined size for uploads without changing the original file. This is a good web browser for Windows only.

SlimBoat has key features that include Site Groups, and Social Networking. With Site Groups you can create groups of tabs for various websites to open all at one time. For example all your favorite news sites can be grouped so in one click they all open on individual tabs without selecting them individually from your favorites. The Social Networking has two functions. Web page sharing to all the popular sites like Facebook and Twitter or e-mail, and a Facebook button to quickly post web pages, web page text and images or your status by clicking a button and not having to login to your Facebook account. For a browser that is only on version 1, it's packed full of features in a lightweight format.

Comodo

Comodo is a company focused on Internet Security.  You won't see a lot of bells and whistles in the browsers because their focus is behind the scene helping you have a better, safer browsing experience.  The features they do display are generally related to security like Web Inspector and Privacy Dog.  Dragon's UI is similar to Chrome but some of the buttons and menu options are different.  Install Comodo Internet Security (also free) to run in virtual mode, the equivalent of using a sandbox. Create an account and sign-in to share your browser settings on the cloud making them available to other computers you may use.

Comodo Dragon is an alternative browser to Google's Chrome.  Dragon is based on Chromium technology and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.  Dragon incorporates the features and abilities of Chrome with enhanced security and privacy from Google.

Comodo IceDragon is similar to Comodo Dragon. It is Comodo's equivalent of Firefox. IceDragon share's many of the same security features as it's Dragon partner but the UI and menu's are similar to Firefox.  IceDragon is fully compatible with Firefox plug-ins and extensions.  Ice Dragon can also use Comodo's free DNS Servers to improve performance and privacy.  If you're looking for a  more stable, safer and faster equivalent to Firefox, try Comodo IceDragon.

 

Torch is a media browser featuring built-in torrent downloading, media grabber and audio extractor. Also features easy media sharing to social media sites. Torch was considered as a mega browser, but it's lack of cross platform cloud support held it back. Really a powerful browser with a clean look, Torch can also be considered a Chrome alternative. Torch can be a good lightweight version if you want a browser that focus' on file and media downloads/sharing. Some people may find Torch's Chrome like UI off putting.

Related Products and Links

 

Quick Selection Guide

SlimBrowser
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
http://www.slimbrowser.net/
7.0
3.65 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP SP2 + Internet Explorer 6.0+
SlimBoat
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
http://www.slimboat.com/en/
1.1.50
11.7 MB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP or later; Mac OS X 10.6 or later; Linux
Torch
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Built-in features: Download accelerator, Media manager, Torrent manager, Music player.
http://www.torchbrowser.com/
33.0.0
2.3 MB online; 78 MB offline
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP SP2, 7, 8 (NOT Vista)
Comodo IceDragon
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
https://www.comodo.com/
37 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7
Comodo Dragon
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
https://www.comodo.com/
49.0 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7

Editor

This software review is maintained by volunteer editor Remah. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

You are welcome to join the discussion in our web and networking forum

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Comments

by sicknero on 19. November 2014 - 21:28  (119732)

Approximately related to "lighweight browsing" I would like to recommend checking out "site specific" browsing, which is basically a browser window dedicated to a single website.

For trusted and frequently-visited sites (e.g. gmail, youtube, soundcloud, grooveshark) I find this to be an excellent solution.

As far as I know there are only two programs worth looking at for this, which are SisterB and Bazinga. Mozilla Prism is also still available though as well with a bit of hunting, and it works ok too.

For a more recent/supported approach there is the "Quick Apps" feature built in to Maxthon - this is my own preferred method at the moment. I think Chrome has something similar but it requires Chrome to be already running in the background, while the Maxthon-created browsers are truly independent.

I just noticed that Maxthon itself doesn't get a mention here ... I have noticed that it's a little CPU-heavy at times on my low-end hardware, but nonetheless it it's still an excellent browser for general use. It lacks add-on support and detailed cookie/script management but it is regularly updated and for my money is probably the best no-frills browser available at the moment.

by Paxmilitaris on 19. November 2014 - 1:12  (119698)

Isn't there a web browser that just browses the web?
No social media, no grouping, no whatever else.
Just see the web pages as the designers want you to see them and watch videos or listen to audios that are on those web pages.

I'm using Palemoon, so it already does all the extra stuff. I was hoping lightweight really meant lightweight. Bare minimum.

by Remah on 19. November 2014 - 19:04  (119727)

The introduction clearly defines what "lightweight" means here: it uses less resources than the heavyweight web browsers or that it has more limited features.

Lightweight doesn't mean the bare bones, the bare minimum of features, because "active security, web search, privacy viewing, pop-up blocking, download management, plug-in and extension support" are generally considered to be required features today.

by Paxmilitaris on 19. November 2014 - 20:41  (119730)

I was disappointed when i read the description of lightweight.

Requires features:
Security yes
Privacy yes
Pop-up blocking yes
Downloads yes (but no management needed)
Plug-ins and extensions no
Web search isn't that what google duckduckgo and all the others are there for?

With that definition of lightweight, PaleMoon is probably lightweight.

by Remah on 20. November 2014 - 0:47  (119736)

The previous editor set the features for this category. I don't plan to change them because they reflect contemporary web browser design. But when I get the time I will be rewriting this category and its recommendations.

The features that you don't want are more basic than you realize:
+ Download management is as basic as the ability to see what is currently downloading, locate it on disk, and stop an active download. I remember when browsers didn't have any of that.
+ Web search is basic integration which provides the ability to choose different search providers and change them very simply. This is often provided through plug-ins and extensions.
+ In recent years most general-purpose web browsers have added plug-ins and extensions. This means that additional features can be added as required. Heavyweight browsers provide many features as standard, e.g. PDF readers.

Palemoon is not lightweight because it has above average resource usage. As a 64-bit application it has higher memory usage than most 32-bit browsers. It does have a reduced feature set but the more fully-featured Waterfox, which is also 64-bit, outperforms it on resource usage.

by Paxmilitaris on 20. November 2014 - 0:55  (119737)

Really, i thought PaleMoon was optimized to give the best performance. I switched to PaleMoon when Firefox became weird with a new builky interface or something.
I have never heard of Waterfox. I'll go take a look in the heavyweight browsers.

by mrfingerz on 19. November 2014 - 6:36  (119707)

MxNitro claims to be that, haven't tried it personally and I think it's stiil in beta. You might wanna take a look though.....

http://usa.maxthon.com/nitro/

by Paxmilitaris on 19. November 2014 - 15:30  (119719)

It looks promising, but it's in alpha.

by sicknero on 19. November 2014 - 20:53  (119731)

From comments on the Maxthon community forum, Nitro doesn't seem to have impressed people much re; speed and resources compared to standard Maxthon. Also the available alphas/betas are install versions; there is no portable version yet.

by godofwar161 on 24. October 2014 - 14:04  (119305)

You guys are the best. Thanks to this article and the user comments below I have just revived my old laptop I was about to throw in the garbage. My 9 years old laptop (1.6 Ghz CPU, 512mb RAM) was struggling with literally everything while browsing on the internet using Chrome or Firefox. Firstly I tried Comodo Dragon, and it did the job fairly good (except YouTube playback, it was laggy). Now with Slimboat it is unbelievable how good it performs with heavy pages and a few open tabs. All this under TinyXP of course, for as much available RAM as possible. Seems like I'll be using this machine for a little longer!

by gurudev on 13. October 2014 - 13:44  (119158)

about 2 years ago ,i had a PC with 256MB RAM and had a lot of difficulty browsing the web as the latest versions of Firefox,chrome and opera would crash due to lack of memory.browsing sites like Facebook was out of the question.at that point of time i installed k-meleon and flashpeak slimboat and used to use them regularly.
use k-meleon for normal browsing and flashpeak slimboat for browsing social networking sites and video sites like Facebook and YouTube.

by gurudev on 13. October 2014 - 14:02  (119159)

everytime i try to submit a comment ,i get this message:

"To complete this form, please complete the word verification below."

why do i need to solve captchas' or complete word verification when i am a registered user?

by MidnightCowboy on 13. October 2014 - 14:23  (119160)

This is just one measure our site employs to prevent automatic BOT registrations from posting spam links. MC - Site Manager.

by Panzer on 29. September 2014 - 7:39  (118860)
by Remah on 13. September 2014 - 3:37  (118556)

The article format has been updated to match the other articles and a Quick Selection Guide added. I'll be updating the discussion and adding screenshots over the next week.

Remah - Editor

by presque_vu on 6. April 2014 - 3:44  (115527)

Comodo Dragon is a great browser for users who don't like Chrome because of it's invasive google elements and people who love Firefox but just find it too slow.

Comodo Dragon feels snappy and loads quickly even with eight add-ons installed:
HTTP Everywhere
Zotero
Readability
Web Of Trust
LastPass
Disconnect
Adblock
Avast security add-on

There is no Comodo Dragon Browser for Mac, Linux or Android.

by ryan39d on 14. March 2014 - 5:46  (115003)

Does Comodo IceDragon download is in CNET? My Bluhell Firewall blocked a site that host the file from CNET, thus, I did not risk my pc for that. Is there any way to download IceDragon aside from CNET?

by ryan39d on 15. March 2014 - 11:42  (115027)

Yes, the link leads to Comodo website but the download link leads to CNET. Thank you for the Softpedia link, and the other link to know about bundled softwares. I guess I will trust the one that is being hosted at Softpedia.

Thank you all. :)

by MidnightCowboy on 14. March 2014 - 6:38  (115005)

For future reference, CNET uses a wrapped installer and is best avoided as a download source. More information here:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/cnet-downloadcom-wrapped-install...
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/what-else-have-you-just-download...

Better and safer third party download sites are Softpedia, MajorGeeks and FileHippo. MC - Site Manager.

by joeguru on 14. March 2014 - 5:54  (115004)

Download directly from Comodo. You can use the hyperlink in the review.

by Joe A.TT on 14. March 2014 - 13:01  (115008)

The hyperlink in the review directs you to Comodo. The problem is the download link on Comodo's site redirects you to Download.com (AKA Cnet).

[Suggestion]
Change the hyperlink in the review to http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Browsers/Comodo-IceDragon.shtml

by sicknero on 14. March 2014 - 16:03  (115014)

For what it's worth, I've always used the CNet page to get Ice Dragon and so far it's always been a clean file with nothing bundled and no wrapped installer.

The Major Geeks link (http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/comodo_icedragon.html) downloads directly from Comodo but as far as I can tell it's exactly the same file.

by vz on 31. January 2014 - 17:40  (114109)

For weak netbooks the best REALLY lightweight brs are QtWeb 3.8.5 and QupZilla, so was SeaMonkey 2.0.14 (but now this version is a little old). All three have portable versions.

by jacemace on 28. January 2014 - 22:20  (114045)

Just tried K-Meleon, uninstalled it right away. I did not like it's functions or performance at all. And no (native or otherwise) adblocker.

by jacemace on 28. January 2014 - 22:21  (114044)

Slimbrowser crashes all the time.
It displays this message on the tab:

This browser session has crashed for some reason. You can choose from the following two options:
•Open the same web page again.
•Open the same web page in compatibility view.

It uses as it's default in text search this page: http://search.flashpeak.com/?sbSource=searchbtn (their own web site)
which is a customized file: "Google (custom).qseg" None of the other search engines that are used by in page context are customized (wiki, youtube et al.)I'm not sure where to get a standard google qseg file and I didn't feel like editing in notepad.

I uninstalled slimbrowser right away.

Will add that it does have a good native ad blocker with a good list.

by joeguru on 29. January 2014 - 3:02  (114049)

I use Slimbrowser regularly without issue. There may be a compatibility issue with your system. If you are interested in the software, I recommend trying the developer's forum here: http://www.slimbrowser.net/en/forum/

If you're looking for more of a Chrome alternative, try Comodo Dragon or for Firefox alternative Comodo Ice Dragon.

To be fair I will say the lightweight browsers are less stable under certain conditions than the Heavy Weights. It's just a matter of which one will work with your system and needs.

by joeguru on 29. January 2014 - 2:51  (114048)

Please post updates and information about Kmeleon in the Freeware Forum.

by souzarm on 1. January 2014 - 18:37  (113318)

Thanks!
Vote in K-Meleon...

by Panzer on 31. December 2013 - 9:00  (113297)

Project K-Meleon is still soldering on. You can get K-Meleon 74 here:
http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?1,125632,page=1

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