10 Alternative Web Browsers for Ubuntu Linux
While Firefox has always been the default web browser for Ubuntu, there are many alternative and special-purpose browsers available to install on Linux. If you’re looking for a break from Firefox or need a browser to accomplish a particular task, there’s probably an alternative browser out there for you.
Here are 10 alternative browsers that you may find useful or interesting. This page is not a comprehensive list of Linux web browsers, just 10 that I found interesting. If you’re using Firefox or Chrome on Ubuntu, you can install these browsers by clicking on the “Install Now” button after each summary.
Chromium or Google Chrome
Since its release in late 2008, Google’s Chrome browser and its open source brother Chromium have quickly become the most popular replacement for Firefox on Ubuntu systems. Canonical includes Chromium in the Ubuntu repositories and it is installable via apt or as a snap. You can also download Chrome directly from Google. Chromium has been considered by Canonical as a replacement for Firefox as the default browser in Ubuntu, but so far, Firefox is holding its ground.
Developed By: Google and the Chromium Project
License: Chromium: Multiple Open Source Licenses
Chrome: Proprietary with open-source components
Initial Release: September 2008
Layout Engine: Blink
Brave entered the browser market in 2016 led by CEO (and former Mozilla co-founder) Brendan Eich. Brave is based on the open-source Chromium browser and features excellent ad and tracker blockers. Brave’s unique privacy features have led it to become one of the most popular alternative browsers in 2019.
Brave recently introduced a cryptocurrency called Basic Attention Token (BAT) that it uses to pay users for viewing ads delivered through Brave’s privacy-focused advertising network. User’s can “tip” websites with BAT, have Brave automatically divvy up BAT to the sites they visit or keep the BAT for themselves (theoretically trading them in for cash or gift cards).
While it’s possible that the company’s plan to disrupt online advertising may not work in the long run, it is good to see more innovation in the open source market and more browsers that support Linux. Installation instructions are available on brave.com.
Some unique features of Vivaldi include Quick Commands that let you control the browser with text commands, built-in notes feature with sync, advanced tab management, and mouse gestures.
Vivaldi is not available in the default Ubuntu repositories, but you can download an Ubuntu compatible DEB package from vivaldi.com.
Opera has several unique features like an integrated VPN service, built-in ad blocking, a crypto wallet, innovative tab cycling, and the ability to integrate chat clients into the browser. You can download an Ubuntu compatible version directly from opera.com or via the Snap store.
GNOME Web (Epiphany)
GNOME Web (formerly Epiphany) is the official web browser of the GNOME desktop and elementary OS. GNOME Web is an easy to use Webkit based browser with a speedy and straightforward user interface. In fact, Web is like the granddaddy of simple web browsers, delivering a focused user interface years before Chrome came on the scene. The browser is very performant and polished, offering more features with each release. GNOME Web makes a great simple alternative to Firefox and Chrome.
Falkon (formerly QupZilla)
Falkon is a KDE web browser that is available on Linux and Windows. Falkon uses QtWebKit, a Qt library for using Apple’s WebKit rendering engine. It features a reasonably minimalistic interface that should be familiar to new users. The browser has many options but offers nothing new or unique when compared to Firefox or Chromium. However, if you’re a KDE user and looking for a light and simple browser, you should give Falkon a try.
The Beaker browser is the most unique in our list of alternative browsers. While Beaker has Chromium base (like so many others), it’s central purpose is to help build and view a new peer-to-peer web. That’s right, it’s not just a web browser, but it’s a peer-to-peer web server as well.
If you find the idea of a decentralized, peer-to-peer web interesting, I highly suggest downloading Beaker and giving it a try. It’s quite easy to get started making your own decentralized website and sharing it with friends or publishing it for everyone to see.
Midori is a cross-platform GTK browser based on Webkit. Midori is very lightweight and fast, but still has a lot of features. Midori is amazingly quick and can be useful for sites that tend to slow down Firefox. Midori features Duck Duck Go as the default search engine, but you’ll need to look elsewhere for ad blocking and more privacy controls.
While the project seemed dormant for quite a while, there have been several new releases of the Midori recently.
Russian search and online services giant Yandex has released their Yandex Browser for Linux, and it runs quite well on Ubuntu systems. Yandex Browser is based on Chromium but replaces Google services like search, sync, and security checks with Yandex services and virus scanning with Kaspersky antivirus. The browser also has nicely integrated translation features using Lingvo translation engine. Recently, Yandex Browser started offering Opera Turbo to speed up websites on slow connections.
While Yandex Browser mostly offers advantages for those living in Russia, it is good to see that they, and many others who are basing their browsers off of Chromium, are supporting Linux.
Even more alternatives
Here are even more browsers you might want to check out for use on Ubuntu!
What is your favorite Linux web browser? Leave your comments below!