Lightweight Web Browsers


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.

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Lightweight Web Browsers

The folks at 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 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

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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+
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Built-in features: Download accelerator, Media manager, Torrent manager, Music player.
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
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
49.0 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7


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.

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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 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 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 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.....

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

It looks promising, but it's in alpha.

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 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 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 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 Panzer on 17. December 2014 - 10:24  (120139)

qutebrowser is a keyboard-focused browser with a minimal GUI. It’s based on Python, PyQt5, QtWebKit and free software:

by CASD on 18. January 2015 - 17:50  (120624)

Ice Dragon has a major memory leak...
I let it sit for several hours and it finally froze up with over 1700.0 mb of memory usage... worse them chrome!!

If you want a low usage firefox type browser then use SeaMonkey...

by Remah on 18. January 2015 - 22:39  (120627)

Thanks for the info. I will be updating this article when I am back on deck.

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