Pale Moon. This New Web Browser Is Far From New!


Pale Moon browserFancy a change from your normal web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge? Installing multiple web browsers on Windows is a perfectly natural thing to do, and many people use more than one. And because most of them are free, you can just download any that you like.

If you've never heard of Pale Moon, then you're not alone. I'd never heard of it until a few days ago, but I've been using it recently and it's quite good. Very good, in fact. It's fast, very customizable, and is compatible with many (but not all) Firefox extensions. That's because it's actually based on the Firefox code, but that was way back in version 1 before the developers spent a long time making it work the way they wanted.

The latest version is 27.7.2 (see, I told you it wasn't new) and was released yesterday. You can download it from and the installer is around 1 MB, although it'll then download a further 32 MB when you run it. From my tests, both the installer and the additional downloads are malware-free and safe to use.

If you're still using Internet Explorer (which is now pretty much out of date) or Microsoft Edge (which I personally think is awful), give Pale Moon a try and see what you think. If you don't like it, at least you can use it to download yet another browser to try.

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 4.4 (41 votes)


One thing I forgot to mention that could be very important. Some sites see Pale Moon as a very old version of Firefox and so they won't give you access.

5 minutes searching the Pale Moon forum should find a method to 'fix' that, if an 'easy' (Alt > Tools >Preferences > Advanced > General tab > Compatibility) UA change and page refresh doesn't. Reverting on the fly is as easy as reversing it and refreshing.

I use mostly Pale Moon in 'Native' UA mode and it's rare that I need to change compatibility. There might be 1-2 sites per month that require an about:config change to their specific UA to enable a site. Most of those are patched in for the following release.

Basically, PM works securely and efficiently for the vast majority of sites, if some don't work, it's mostly the fault of the site design itself.

Thanks so much for the tip. I've activated "native" mode, but I don't really have the problem since I switched browsers. However, it would seem that Pale Moon's developers share the view you seemed to express that it is somebody else's responsibility, either the user or the site, to solve this and probably other problems, and in this particular case the question immediately arises: why is it in Firefox compatibility mode in the first place if it's actually not compatible on some sites and they know it? Though such sites may be few, for me, those sites were important ones like banking.

I just saw an update listed on Major Geeks for Basilisk that says, "Basilisk is a Firefox-like web browser from the Pale Moon team that is based on the Goanna (Gecko) layout and rendering engine," and it irritated me not only because you'd steered me onto the fact that Gecko is a compatibility option for Pale Moon and why is "the Pale Moon team" devoting time to another browser as Pale Moon wallows in obscurity despite being noticeably, significantly faster than Firefox and the developers offer a dearth of extensions on a page you can't even search while, relatively recently lot of Firefox extensions became inoperable necessitating the need to find alternatives and live with outdated ones that will never be updated? This Basilisk thing gives the impression that Pale Moon teeters while the developers consider at least the possibility of pursuing another direction. In any case, no one can argue that Pale Moon development seems vibrant.

I use native mode by default. Solving website browser capability sniffing can't come from the browser, eg, some sites detect the 'Goa' of Goanna as a little-known mobile browser and then feed Pale Moon with a mobile web page: "Generally, a web designer using browser sniffing to determine what kind of page to present will test for the three or four most popular browsers, and provide content tailored to each of these. If a user is employing a user agent not tested for, there is no guarantee that a usable page will be served; thus, the user may be forced either to change browsers or to avoid the page."

I'm sure there are several reasons for Firefox compatibility mode to be the default currently, increasing the number of AMO Add-ons offered being one, so that new users can readily find versions that are suited to Pale Moon, rather than digging through GitHub and a huge number of Add-on homepages before testing out their new browser.

Goanna is a fork of Gecko, built to support features necessary for feature rich browsing without the 'fluff' and archaic code from the Gecko versions it's based on.

Plenty more info readily available on the Pale Moon/Basilisk sites, as well as the Pale Moon forum.

I believe you've inadvertently made my point, and a late development make's Pale Moon's predicament even less tenable. I know far more about these sorts of things than the average person, and I'm not willing to go searching for a solution to an obscure problem unless I have no alternative. Furthermore, I have never had the problem in question with any other browser, and there are several that are very nearly as speedy as Pale Moon and all have features Pale Moon doesn't. So the only reason to use Pale Moon is for speed and/or because it may have a specific feature(s) that you like that cannot be acceptably replicated in other browsers. But since this problem has been unique to Pale Moon, it dwarfs any minor inconvenience I might encounter with another browser.

Also, and I repeat, the fact that Pale Moon is not compatible with some sites (that the vast majority are compatible is insufficient) and that developers know it, coupled with the fact that a site can report that I'm using a version of Firefox that's too old and the developers must know that and haven't rectified the problem (possibly as simply as upgrading the version number) feeds my contention that development is not as responsive as it should be.

Now the late development... I decided to use Pale Moon tonight using a different compatibility mode, and I immediately found that a site I visit everyday gave me a generic error message before even starting to load the page. Only when I used Firefox mode would the site load. So as a result of our discussion, not only has the problem with Pale Moon been validated, but the proposed solution rendered it less usable for me, and it points up the fact that there is no real solution available. The average user is not going to devote the sort of attention I have when there's a simple solution - use any other browser.

You're deliberately ignoring what I've pointed out and linked you to, you need to stop writing and get reading.

Pale Moon is secure, stable and able to be worked hard for weeks and is compatible with the vast majority of sensible modern web standards.

Normal users can always use one of their alt. browsers if they hit a site that doesn't like it, I've been using four over the last couple of hours (no big deal if you have enough RAM).

Just because it doesn't fit your needs means nothing to those who use it all the time, full-time.

Please, just use another browser, no one's forcing you to use anything you're not happy with.

I contacted the folks at LastPass and Pale Moon will no longer work with LastPass, so it is useless to all of us who rely on LastPass.

I find the paucity of add-ons for Vivaldi and Chrome to disqualify both of them (not even NoScript!), so I found WaterFox which is working like a charm with all of my important FireFox add-ons, including LastPass.

So WaterFox it is.

If anybody is experiencing high memory usage or leaks you should be aware of a little free program called Firemin, . Download Version (the best version) and make sure you first add the executable file to the Extended Processes first followed by a comma ex:palemoon.exe, then save and browse to the executable location and add it to the database. That's it and no more memory issues, even works on any program including Chrome and clones. Multiple entries in Task Manager are handled as well. This little gem will tame any software you throw at it and it works side by side with CleanMem.

How in the heck does this works ??? It's excellent and works for Vivaldi also Thanks!

Thanks so much. Amazingly, I was using Firemin, but I never added it to extended processes and so I thought it was doing nothing. Just changed it as you instructed so I'm on pins and needles waiting to see the results. All the best.

From everything I can find on the web, Pale Moon is proving unusable for me too because the LastPass folks won't support it.

I have a support ticket with them on this issue and if anything changes, I'll let you know.

Thanks, will appreciate that

Does anybody know if Pale Moon supports Lastpass. It is no point in me trying this browser if it is not supported. TIA

No, it does not support Last Pass.

Waterfox users should be aware that CCleaner will not erase Waterfox's cookies etc without modification to winapp2.ini as it's moved its files to a different place to Firefox.

Scroll down to the comment by Dono.

Cyberfox is another decent Firefox fork. I've used it as well as Waterfox, but I prefer the Waterfox GUI.

I'm not sure how well it's being updated since the Mozilla switch to web extensions though.

As for using multiple browsers, is it possible to create a Windows shortcut or another single-click link that will open a specific website always with a specified browser? So that, for example, one might have a default browser, but a link to open a specified website with another browser? And maybe even another link to open another website with a third browser?

To specify a particular browser, instead of creating a shortcut to the URL, you create a shortcut to the browser and put the URL in the "Target" box of the shortcut.

If you already have a Chrome shortcut on your desktop, drag it to another spot on the desktop and let go. That should create a copy. You can highlight it and tap F2 to rename it to whatever you want. Then, right-click on it and choose properties. In the Target box, add a space and then the URL you want to go to. For example, to get to Gizmo's, the entire Target box would hold:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"

Now, any time you double-click on that shortcut you'll fire up Chrome and go straight there.

Like harrym, above, I pretty much abandoned Firefox since the add-on murdering v.57. I'm settled on Waterfox but am somewhat intrigued by Vivaldi which is very clever, quick, and receives regular, impressive updates. Mozilla, you'll have to pry my add-ons out of my cold, dead hands!

Same here. Using Waterfox and I'm not giving up my add-ons. :)

Thanks Rob! I know this thread is about Pale Moon, but I thought I would ask if you (and the community) have any feedback on Vivaldi, a browser that got a lot of buzz a year or so ago? Extensions are important, and it says at the Vivaldi website: "Because Vivaldi is built using the Chromium web browser project, extensions available in the Chrome Web Store can also be installed in Vivaldi. In some instances, extensions built for the Chrome browser will behave differently when installed in Vivaldi, but for the most part your favourite Chrome extensions will work just fine in Vivaldi."

I've been using Vivaldi since it's early release. Until recently I didn't' think it was ready for most users, but with the newer releases I think it's ready for most people. It's a little slower at start up (but newer releases see speed improvements) but after it starts up it's quite fast. I think it's an acceptable alternative to Chrome. I like the side bar quite a lot. A few quirks took me a bit to figure out, like dragging and dropping a tab from another browser will only open the tab if you drop the link on the new tab button. If you use Pinboard to manage your bookmarks, I haven't figured out a way to place their shortcut on the bookmarks bar so that's a little frustrating. It runs the Chrome extensions I use with no problem. Vivaldi was started by one of the original Opera team and they are very responsive to feedback and suggestions.
All in all it's shaping up to be a great browser. My .02 cents

I think Vivaldi's best feature might be "page tiling." You can view multiple sites in the same window. I've used it to compare items when shopping on Amazon. Surprised others haven't copied it.

Tab Stacking is awesome and I recently noticed it has 'Context Search' (highlight text/right click and pick your search engine) built in !

I'll bet Mozilla are cramming to copy their fun theme customization feature ;)

@ Pale Moon..meh, SeaMonkey's still snappier.

Slimjet is better than Vivaldi for speed, though maybe not enough to matter to you, but feature for feature, to me, Slimjet has a superior feel. For example. Slimjet provides a bookmarks sidebar that auto-closes like Pale Moon's, and it's menu is qiickly accessible by a far right button. On the other hand, Vivaldi's mouse gestures may be more extensive. So it might be a toss-up, but why not try both and see for yourself? Btw, I use an extension called GroupSpeedDial as my substitute for both Browers' built in speed dial. it's far more configurable, and the best of the many I've tried. One quirk though is that in Slimjet, I haven't been able to get it to accept a background image so I use their solid color gradient.

EDIT: This discussion caused me to take another look -at Vivaldi. I hadn't used it since a recent upgrade, and I now find that it seems every bit the equal of Slimjet except for the aforementioned auto-closing sidebar.

As well as being lighting fast, Slimjet is unbelievably light on memory, open up a few tabs and take a look at at your Task Manager of choice.

Thanks for mentioning that, and I'd like to add that, after saying above I'd revisited Vivaldi and found it comparable to Slimjet, I've already abandoned it because Slimjet has a number of subtleties that Vivaldi lacks. I'd forgotten how annoying it is to have to open and close the sidebar manually in Vivaldi, And I couldn't get two extensions to work in Vivaldi. One is -any- form saver/filler I've tried, and another cures the incredibly annoying Chrome -flaw- that auto numbers downloads instead of overwriting them or even offering to do so. You can overwrite in Vivaldi, but it requires too much manual labor. Conversely, I haven't found any compelling feature in any other browser that would make me want to select that browser over Slimjet.

If you like Pale Moon, you might also like Basilisk at, which is also made by the same team that created Pale Moon. It is listed as development software, but I have seen no issues with it whatsoever. been using Pale Moon for quite some time - since my antique (and probably frighteningly insecure) Opera 12.16 finally stopped working at a near-majority of websites.

{I don't use the current "Opera", since it's not Opera - it's a somewhat customised Chrome [and i despise Chrome] and doesn't support most of the features that made me a loyal Opera user since the days when it fit on a single floppy disk.}

I really like it - but it seems to have a memory leak; if i keep it open too long and open and close too many tabs {both "too long" and "too many" are variable numbers, it appears}, Task Manager shows it using more and more memory. The computer slows down more and more and gets more and more balky until i eventually have to close Pale Moon {often with Task Manager after it finally freezes up}.

Restarting it shows it running as it should ... until the next time.

ANother problem, of course, is {as the article mentions} its lack of support for a lot of extensions.

I'd like to thank the person in this comment thread who mentioned Waterfox; for both reasons above, i believe i'll try it.

I've used Waterfox for a few years now along side Firefox with no problem. I've had issues on and off over the years with Pale Moon so I quit using it. Waterfox has run all the add-ons I've used over the years with no issues. It's updated regularly.

It used to share the profile with Firefox but since Mozilla started using web extensions instead of add-ons it has it's own profile folder.

I like it as much as I like the older Firefox. The new Firefox is blazing fast but my favorite add-ons didn't transition, so my day to day browser is Waterfox, with Vivaldi and Opera open as well.