Pale Moon browser review: Incredibly lightweight and secure

by Afam Onyimadu
Afam Onyimadu
Afam Onyimadu
Author
Afam is a geek and the go-to among his peers for computer solutions. He has a wealth of experience with Windows operating systems, dating back to his introduction... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Pale Moon is a safe and secure browser forked from Firefox and the Mozilla engine. 
  • This browser offers a range of features but focuses mainly on customization and efficiency.
  • As with every browser, it is a best practice to use a VPN when connecting to the internet. 
pale moon browser review

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Firefox was once the biggest name in the browser market. That was not to last forever, as, in more recent years, Google Chrome has been the go-to for most users. As Firefox started to drop in the pecking order, there have been a few break-offs.

The Pale Moon browser is one to note. It is a fork from the Firefox code and it is built as an open-source Goanna-based browser. It is primarily for Microsoft and Linux OS and focuses on customization and efficiency.

This article will dive into this browser and answer some key questions, such as if it is safe for you to use.

Note that whenever browsing the Internet, it’s advised to use VPN for Pale Moon for maximum data security and privacy.

Is Pale Moon browser safe?

This browser is open source and has a very active user and developer community. This implies that security flaws and other bugs are constantly reported and corrected.

It also emphasizes privacy and will not sell out any of your data. For example, your credentials, user names, and passwords are encrypted on your PC and are never permanently stored on the browser servers.

While it is a safe browser, you should always take care to protect yourself on the internet. It is a best practice to use a VPN while browsing.

What should I know about the Pale Moon browser?

System requirement

Availability

You can download Pale Moon browser for Linux distributions and Windows. A portable edition also exists that you can use from any removable media like your USB stick.

You should not mistake a portable version for a moblie edition, especially since there isn’t any official mobile compatibility for this browser (there have been a few ported Android versions, but these have not been the most successful projects). 

Furthermore, Pale Moon does not need an installation to operate on the Linux platform. Instead, it’s similar to an app image in that it runs from an extracted tarball. You will have to install Pale Moon browser for Windows.

Requirements for Windows

  • Windows 7 SP1 or later
  • SSE2 CPU support
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 300 MB uncompressed Disk Space

Requirements for Linux

  • Any modern Linux distribution
  • SSE2 CPU support
  • 1 GB RAM
  • GLib 2.22 or higher, GTK 2.24 OR GTK 3.22, libstdc++ 4.6.1 or higher, Pango 1.14 or higher Libraries

User Interface

After downloading the browser, it opens to a start.me page where you will have to log in to optimize its features.

pale moon browser review

You will be able to make as many pages as you like on start.me. For example, you may create different pages for students, your job, or recipes. You can also choose different backgrounds to make every page unique. 

Using the plus symbol in the upper right corner, you may add different content to your just created Pale Moon page. This menu is where you’ll find options for RSS feeds, bookmarks, and other widgets on your website. To add a URL, search for it, then copy and paste it.

pale moon browser review

The browser comes with a feature that allows you to share a page. On start.me, all pages are set to private by default, which means your start page is only accessible to you. You may, however, share them with friends or make them public.

You may discover the user preferences by clicking on your icon in the upper right corner. Here you will configure how start.me works for you. 

You’ll also have the option of changing your language preferences, choosing how new searches or pages are opened, or changing the theme to a light or dark mode. 

pale moon browser review

Widgets take up the center pane of the start page and represent the blocks that appear on your pages. A simple drag and drop is used to move them around. You may alter the widget’s layout, or remove it from the widget menu.

pale moon browser review

Features

NPAPI and XUL plugin support

Pale Moon, surprisingly, still allows support for several NPAPI plugins, and many current browsers don’t support these plugins. 

Some of the supported plugins include:

  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Unity Web Player
  • Java applet
  • Adobe Flash

Please keep in mind that just because Pale Moon offers support for these plugins doesn’t guarantee they’re all safe. 

Add-on Store

Pale Moon has an add-ons website, separate from the Chrome Web Store for Chromium-based browsers and the Mozilla Add-ons website for Firefox users.

pale moon browser review

It also allows you to create your unique themes.

Later versions of this browser no longer support legacy Firefox add-ons that haven’t been migrated to Pale Moon.

Pale Moon browser Flash support

The most notable feature was its Flash Protected Mode tool that allows you to disable or enable protection in flash. This used to be achieved using a simple secondary tool written for the browser.

Now, the tool has been rendered redundant and since the browser’s 27 edition you will be able to tweak this setting right from within the browser.

Privacy

Encrypted Sync Service

pale moon browser review

Pale Moon integrates a personal sync feature.

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You must register an account to utilize the sync service. To establish an account, you need your email address and your password.

During this procedure, you’ll also generate your recovery key. This key is exclusively saved on your PC, as per the Pale Moon Sync Privacy Policy. They will only receive your key when or if you decide to link another device.

The browser collects and utilizes your login credentials, IP address, browser version, operating system, and device date and time, but none of this information is saved or permanently kept.

All data is encrypted through end-to-end encryption tech, and your data will be encrypted on the client before it is uploaded to any server. 

Pale Moon assures you not to share or sell personal information to third parties. They, however, cooperate with the law and government mandates within reason, and this may not be a huge red flag. This service also has its own set of privacy policies.

Permissions Manager

Pale Moon is equipped with its own permissions manager.

You may use this functionality to configure permissions for the different URLs you have visited. You can determine the following elements for each domain:

  • Load images
  • Store passwords
  • Store cookies and site data
  • Install extensions and themes
  • Display notifications
  • Share location
  • Allow pop-ups
pale moon browser review

The permissions manager is properly designed and encouragingly user-friendly, particularly when it comes to handling individual domain site data and cookies.

This functionality is not unique to Pale Moon; however, other browsers do not permit you to control specific site settings to the same extent.

Chrome, for example, lets you define cookie policy on a global level, and you can keep a list of websites that aren’t authorized to store site data. However, such unique site or cookie data handling rules cannot be defined for the individual domains.

Location Service API

Pale Moon conspicuously does not utilize the Location Service API of Google for its browser location-based actions.

This is significant since many browsers utilize this Google service, albeit sometimes proxied or otherwise enhanced, to improve the privacy of the end-user. 

Even Firefox uses a tweaked version of this Google service. On the other hand, Pale Moon employs ipapi for location services. If you have not trusted Google with your location data, this is a big plus for Pale Moon.

Security

Updates

Pale Moon is updated frequently, and this holds for Goanna, the browser’s engine.

These updates repair problems, enhance general quality and add or build on new features in the engine and browser regularly.

It also features a vibrant community of users and devs who are committed to keeping the project active with regular updates.

Browser Engine

Although a clone of Firefox, Pale Moon does not use the Gecko engine.

There have been other Firefox forks, but Pale Moon opted for a separate custom Goanna browser engine, a fork of the Gecko engine.

Goanna is built on an independent Unified XL Platform, a derivative of Mozilla’s dead XUL language.

Despite being cloned from ancient Gecko and Firefox code, Pale Moon’s use of the Goanna engine distinguishes it as more than simply an obsolete version of Firefox. This also makes it a very safe and secure choice. 

Positives and Negatives of the Pale Moon browser

The Positives

  • It is optimized for new processors
  • A constantly growing support for web standards
  • Privacy-conscious, with no ads or telemetry
  • Full non-profit support for a user community
  • Speedy script processing

The Negatives

  • No support for mobiles devices
  • No official Pale Moon browser for Mac
  • No in-browser PDF reader
  • No Support for WebRTC

Is Pale Moon still supported?

This is a last point to end with. Support determines if a project is viable and should be used.

This project is open-source, which means there will be continuous contribution and evolution of the code. It also means there are high chances its support is extended to other third-party applications.

In the future, expect more integrations with extension libraries and the likes. We never can tell, there may be an official Pale Moon browser for download on Androids.

If you have read to the end of this article, you are probably convinced to try this browser. With a few simple steps, you will download Pale Moon and have it running on your PC.

Pale Moon is not as mainstream as many other browsers, but it stands out in customization, which is why many people may want it as a browser option.

We hope this article serves you in making a more educated decision on your choice for Pale Moon. Do not hesitate to drop your comments; we will like to interact more with you there.

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