Best lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi [RPI Zero, 1, 4]

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by Tashreef Shareef
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Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from Windows to iOS and streaming services... Read more
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  • Having a lightweight browser for your Raspberry Pi can be a very effective choice since traditional browsers impact the system performance of this device.
  • As such, the best browser for Raspberry Pi 4 should not just be light on resources, but also have lots of features to increase performance.
  • Midori is one of the best browsers that can be used with a Raspberry Pi.
  • Less known browsers that are also suitable are GNU IceCat or NetSurf.
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Raspberry Pi is a handy little lightweight computer designed to perform any dedicated task by the user. The hardware is light on the resources it offers, which makes it a non-ideal solution to run resource heavy programs, including a modern, full-fledged web browser.

So what if you want to install a web browser on Raspberry Pi? Keeping the availability of the resources in mind, it is important to look for a lightweight browser.

In this article, we take a look at the best lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi offering all the essential features of a modern browser with little impact on your system performance.

Which is the best web browser for Raspberry Pi?

Midori

lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi

Midori Browser is a lightweight, fast and free web browser with some excellent privacy features. It is a WebKit based web browser for the Linux platform using fewer system resources than other browsers.

Midori comes with a built-in K-LamarVPN to make your connections more secure. The built-in ad blocker will prevent the browser from taking up system resources by blocking the ads from loading.

 Key features of Midori Browser:

  • Lightweight browser for Linux platform with built-in privacy features.
  • Built-in adblocker helps save CPU and RAM resources by preventing ads from loading.
  • Offers built-in VPN, customization options and extension support.
  • The RSS feed integration offered by the browser is excellent as well.

 ⇒ Get Midori Browser 


GNU IceCat

lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi

 If you like Firefox, you will certainly appreciate the IceCat browser. It is the forked version of Firefox web browser without the proprietary elements offering a true open-source experience.

 Featuring LibreJS, the browser aims to address the JavaScript problem that occurs due to free plugins collecting user data.

Other privacy features include SpyBlock that blocks trackers whole in normal browsing mode, all third-party requests in the incognito mode.

 While IceCat is not the lightest of the lot, it is a good alternative if you are used to Firefox as your primary browser.

 Key features of GNU IceCat:

  •  Offers HTTPS-Everywhere that forces the websites to use private HTTPS protocol over HTTP.
  • Uses LibreJS over the limitations of JavaScript when using free addons.
  • SpyBlock ad-block to block trackers.
  • Firefox extension compatibility.

 ⇒ Get GNU IceCAT


GNOME Web

lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi

Based on the popular WebKit engine, GNOME Web codenamed as Epiphany is a web browser for the GNOME desktop and elementary OS.

One of the unique features of the Web is its ability to make any website a first-class citizen of your GENOME desktop to be used as an app.

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 The browser offers all the essential and extra feature such as bookmark sync, password manager, and more in a lightweight package. The ARM port makes it possible to use the browser on any Raspberry Pi device.

 Key features of GENOME Web:

  •  Enables users to import bookmarks, history and passwords from their Firefox profile.
  • Comes with built-in adblocker to block web trackers and annoying pop-ups.
  • Clean user interface with minimal impact on system performance.
  • Can create apps for the website that don’t have official desktop apps.

 ⇒ Get GNOME Web


NetSurf

lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi

 Whether you want to check your email, read the news or give your expert opinion on forums, Netsurf is a lightweight browser for the Linux platform. The browser has its own layout engine and is licensed under GPL version 2.

 The flip side of having its unique rendering engine is that that some website don’t appear how you remember them on other browsers. However, it does not affect the reliability or loading speed.

 Key features of Netsurf:

  •  Fast and lightweight web browser for Raspberry Pi.
  • Supports HTTPs for secure online transactions.

 ⇒ Get NetSurf Browser


Vivaldi

lightweight browsers for Raspberry Pi

 Vivaldi was first made available on Raspberry Pi in late 2017. The Linux DEB ARM version of the browser supports all the essentials features of the full version available for Mac and Windows systems.

Vivaldi’s side panel on the left gives you quick access to frequently used items like bookmarks and downloaded files.

Furthermore, the browser also offers detailed browsing history, tree-style tab management, and a note-taking tool.

 Key features of Vivaldi browser:

  •  Lightweight feature-rich browser for ARM hardware.
  • Quick access to frequently used features through a side panel.
  • Advanced features like browsing history, tree-style tab management and note-taking tool.

 ⇒ Get Vivaldi Browser

Irrespective of how you are thinking of utilizing the little computer, you will need to access the web on your Raspberry Pi device.

All the web browsers listed in this article offer useful features and excellent performance without using all the system resources.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The default browser for Raspberry Pi is Chromium, an open-source web browser very much like the traditional Google Chrome.

  • No. Raspberry Pi works with more lightweight browsers, some of them specifically designed for ARM devices.

  • Vivaldi has a dedicated download page for their version for ARM devices.

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