Types of web browsers: Which one should you use in 2024?

Tips & tricks
28 mins

You’re browsing the web, but your browser is sluggish, and you’re stuck waiting for pages to load. It’s frustrating, and you might even think this is just how the internet is. But the truth is, the right web browser can make all the difference.

In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of web browsers available in 2024, breaking down their pros and cons. Whether you want a browser that’s all about privacy, one that you can customize to your heart’s content, or just something fast and efficient, we’ve got you covered. 

Jump to…
Different internet browser types at a glance
What is a web browser?
How do web browsers work?
Types of web browsers
How do the different types of web browsers compare?
Which web browser is right for me?

Different internet browser types at a glance

Browser TypeBrowserBest forStrengthsWeaknesses
Graphical browserGoogle ChromeSpeedFast performance; largest library of extensions; integration with Google servicesResource-intensive; collects data; limited tracker blocking
Mozilla FirefoxPrivacyOpen source; Enhanced Tracking Protection; resource-friendly; decent library of extensionsStart page has too many ads; slower than Chrome; extensions aren’t always compatible
Apple SafariApple usersOptimized for Apple devices; resource and battery-friendly; privacy-focused and blocks trackersLimited extension library; only works on Apple devices
Microsoft EdgeAI integrationBuilt-in AI assistant; sidebar search; more efficient than Chrome; free VPNNot very customizable; collects data for Microsoft
Text-based browserLynxMinimalistic browsingExtremely lightweight and fast; ideal for low-bandwidth environments; secure browsing with SSL/TLSNo support for images, videos, or other multimedia content; limited compatibility with modern web design
Mobile browserSafari (iOS)Apple mobile devicesSeamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem; fast and energy-efficient; Reader ModeLimited extension support; only available on iOS devices
Google Chrome (Android and iOS)Cross-device syncingFast browsing; syncs across devices via Google account; data-saving modeHigh resource usage; limited extension support on iOS; collects browsing data for Google
Samsung internet Samsung devicesFast and efficient with Chromium engine; supports a wide range of extensions; Secret ModePrimarily optimized for Samsung devices; lacks deep integration with Google services
Security and privacy-focused browserBravePrivacy and ad-blockingBlocks ads, trackers, and invasive scripts by default; built-in HTTPS Everywhere; Brave RewardsSome website functionality may break; learning curve for new users; limited extension library compared to Chrome
TorAnonymityOnion routing ensures anonymity; bypasses censorshipSlow browsing speeds; difficult to configure; no extensions
DuckDuckGo BrowserPrivacy-focused browsingStrong privacy features; automatic HTTPS connection upgrades; Privacy Grade ratingsLimited extension library; lacks deep integration with Google services
Lightweight browserMidoriLightweight browsingLightweight and fast; minimalistic design; built-in ad blockerLimited extension library; occasional compatibility issues with modern websites
Opera MiniData efficiencyHigh data efficiency with compression technology; fast browsing speeds on slow networksData compression can affect image quality; limited extension support
Alternative Chromium-based browserVivaldiExtensive customizationExtensive customization options; built-in tools like notes and screenshot capture; supports Chrome extensionsCan be overwhelming for new users; requires more initial setup; resource usage can be high with extensive customization
OperaCustomizationBuilt-in VPN and tracker blocker; fast load times with data compression; malware protectionLimited extensions; small user base and developer community
Command-line browserW3mTerminal useLightweight and fast; displays tables, frames, and images (with compatible terminal); SSL/TLS supportLimited compatibility with modern, media-rich websites; steeper learning curve for users unfamiliar with command-line interfaces
LinksSpeed in command-lineFast and lightweight; user-friendly with menu-driven configuration; Links2 version includes graphical supportLimited handling of complex web applications and dynamic content; basic graphical support in Links2

What is a web browser?

A web browser is a software program that lets you navigate the internet on your desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It retrieves and displays web content, enabling you to explore websites, watch videos, play games, send emails, and access various services directly from your browser. The top names you might have heard of are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

The core function of a browser is to make browsing easy. It does this with features like “Bookmarks” that let you mark web pages as favorites and open them with a single click. Similarly, “Browsing History” keeps track of all the web pages you’ve visited, so you can revisit them at a glance instead of looking them up again. Most browsers also support extensions such as ad blockers and grammar checkers to enhance functionality, but it depends on how extensive their extension library is.

Web browsers fall into different types, each designed to cater to specific user needs and preferences. These include graphical browsers, text-based browsers, mobile browsers, secure and privacy-focused browsers, lightweight browsers, alternative and niche browsers, and command-line browsers. Understanding these types helps you choose the best browser for your specific needs.

Read more: What’s the difference between web browser and search engine?

How do web browsers work?

Basically, a browser takes the web address you enter, fetches the necessary data from a server, and displays it in a readable and interactive format on your screen. Here’s a closer look at what happens behind the scenes:

  • Entering a website address. When you type a URL into the browser’s address bar, the browser initiates a Domain Name System (DNS) lookup to translate the human-readable address into an IP address, which pinpoints the website’s server location on the internet.
  • Finding the website. With the IP address in hand, the browser sends a request to the server to fetch the website’s data.
  • Server response. The server processes the request and responds by sending the necessary files back to the browser. These files include HTML for structure, CSS for styling, JavaScript for interactivity, and various media files.
  • Displaying the webpage. The browser takes these files, processes them, and assembles the webpage. It interprets the HTML to organize content, applies CSS to style it, and executes JavaScript to enable interactive features, ensuring the page looks and behaves as intended.

In many cases, the browser continues to communicate with the server to load additional data or updates, enabling features like live sports scores, social media feeds, and more without needing to refresh the page. All web browsers work the same way but have varying levels of speed, resource usage, and customizability. 

Different types of browsers 

Here are the top seven types of web browsers, along with the best browsers in each category:

1. Graphical browsers

Graphical browsers are the most common type of web browsers. They display text, images, videos, and other multimedia content, providing a rich and interactive web experience. These browsers are primarily owned by Big Tech companies and designed to work on various operating systems and are equipped with features like tabbed browsing, extensions, and synchronization across devices. 

Google Chrome

Renowned for its speed and intuitive interface, Google Chrome leads the pack as the most widely used web browser. It syncs your bookmarks, history, and settings across all your devices using the same Google account. With Chrome, you can open Gmail, Docs, Drive, and other Google services without signing into your account.

With the largest library of extensions, Chrome lets you customize your browsing to fit exactly what you need. You can find tools to block annoying ads, manage your passwords safely, take quick notes, and use a VPN on Chrome. It also supports voice search on PC and Mac, so you can search online without typing.

While Chrome offers many benefits, it’s resource-heavy and uses a lot of RAM. As a result, it can rapidly drain your device’s battery and slow it down, especially if it’s old. Since it’s Google-made, Chrome collects data on your browsing habits for targeted ads. Although it’s not the most privacy-focused browser, very few can match Chrome’s performance benchmarks.

  • Ultra-fast browsing 
  • Largest library of extensions
  • Works on all operating systems
  • Syncs on all devices via Google account
  • High resource usage and drains battery
  • Collects your data for Google

Mozilla Firefox

Unlike Chrome, Mozilla Firefox is open source, and its code is accessible for anyone to inspect for transparency. On the security front, its Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks cookies and trackers that collect your data. Similarly, Firefox Monitor alerts you if your personal information appears in a data breach so you can act quickly and protect yourself.

Firefox’s Container Tabs keep different parts of your online life separate. For example, you can do online shopping in one container and work-related tasks in another. Each container keeps its cookies and tracking information separate from the others, so your work sites can’t see what you’re doing in your personal time and vice versa.

Although Firefox is fast, it doesn’t always match Chrome’s raw speed on heavy sites. However, it balances performance and resource usage and offers valuable tools like screenshot capture, a reading mode to strip away clutter, and Pocket integration to save articles and videos in the browser. You can also encrypt your Firefox traffic and pair it with other privacy add-ons.

  • Large extension library for better browser functionality
  • Open source and prevents cross-site tracking
  • Resource-friendly, yet decently fast for browsing on multiple tabs
  • Works and auto-syncs across all devices
  • Doesn’t integrate well with Google services
  • Gets slow with too many extensions
  • Has ads on the home page and address bar

Apple Safari

Safari is the best browser for Apple users. Its code matches Apple’s hardware, making it energy-efficient and light on your battery. You can sync your bookmarks, history, and open tabs across Apple devices using the same iCloud account. ‘Handoff’ further improves cross-device compatibility, letting you continue your browsing session from one Apple device to another.

With Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Safari uses machine learning to block trackers so that third parties can’t profile you for targeted ads. For safe browsing, Safari sandboxes each website in an isolated web space. As a result, any harmful code on one website can’t spread to others and your overall system.

Unfortunately, Safari has limited extensions and doesn’t work on Windows and Android. This makes it less customizable than Firefox. However, Safari covers everything you need. It allows passwordless logins with TouchID or Face ID and syncs your credentials across your Apple devices through iCloud Keychain, Apple’s built-in password manager.

  • Syncs across all Apple devices using the same iCloud account
  • Fast browsing speeds on multiple tabs
  • Optimized for Apple hardware and consumes much less battery
  • Privacy-focused with built-in tracker blocking
  • Only works on Apple devices
  • Puts inactive tabs to sleep, which can be a hassle for multi-tasking
  • Limited extension library means less customizability

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer, is built on the Chromium engine—the same technology that powers Chrome. This shared foundation means you’ll find it user-friendly if you’re familiar with Chrome. Edge goes a step further to ensure a clean, well-organized interface with Collections, which organizes your pages into groups for easy navigation.

Its built-in AI assistant, Cortana, simplifies browsing. It can set reminders on your calendar, check the weather, and provide quick definitions for unfamiliar words on sites. With sidebar search, you can do web searches and use its built-in calculator without leaving your current web page — this makes browsing fast and distraction-free.

A minor con of Microsoft Edge is that it collects your browsing habits to improve its services and tailor ads. However, Edge lets you control how much data you want to share. You can adjust tracking prevention to “Basic,” “Balanced,” and “Strict,” limiting how sites track you and even tweak location access so that sites can’t locate you.

  • Built-in AI assistant for ease of browsing
  • Compatible with Chrome extensions
  • Prevents phishing, malware, and third-party trackers
  • Includes password monitoring and a built-in VPN
  • Collects your browsing activities
  • Slows down if many tabs are open at once
  • Not very customizable in terms of personalized layouts and toolbar

2. Text-based Browsers

Text-based browsers display only the text content of web pages, omitting images and multimedia. They are often used in environments where bandwidth is limited or for users with visual impairments. These browsers are highly efficient and fast, making them ideal for older hardware and low-bandwidth situations. 


Lynx stands out as one of the oldest and most powerful text-based web browsers, first released in 1992. It’s designed for simplicity and speed, making it ideal for users who prefer a minimalistic browsing experience without the distractions of graphics and multimedia content. This also makes Lynx an excellent choice for those using older, less powerful hardware or in environments where bandwidth is limited.

Since Lynx operates entirely in text mode, it’s highly efficient, consuming very few system resources. It’s commonly used on Unix-like systems, but it’s also available for other operating systems like Windows. Lynx is particularly favored by system administrators, developers, and users who need to navigate the web quickly from a command-line interface.

Despite its lack of graphical content, Lynx supports many modern web standards. It can handle HTML5, CSS, and SSL/TLS for secure connections. However, its inability to display images and videos means it’s not suitable for all browsing needs. Websites that rely heavily on visual content or interactive elements might not render correctly in Lynx.

  • Extremely lightweight and fast
  • Ideal for low-bandwidth environments
  • Secure browsing with support for SSL/TLS
  • Available on multiple operating systems
  • Great for command-line enthusiasts and older hardware
  • No support for images, videos, or other multimedia content
  • Limited compatibility with modern web design
  • Steeper learning curve for users unfamiliar with command-line interfaces
  • Not suitable for general, everyday web browsing

3. Mobile browsers

Mobile browsers are designed specifically for use on smartphones and tablets, providing a streamlined experience for smaller screens and touch interfaces. They offer features like data-saving modes, ad blockers, and synchronization with desktop browsers to ensure a seamless browsing experience on the go. 

Safari (iOS)

Safari on iOS is the default web browser for iPhone and iPad users, known for its smooth integration with Apple’s ecosystem. It offers a seamless browsing experience optimized for iOS devices, leveraging hardware acceleration to ensure fast page loads and efficient battery usage. Safari supports features like Reader Mode, which strips away clutter for a distraction-free reading experience, and Intelligent Tracking Prevention to enhance privacy by blocking cross-site trackers.

Safari’s deep integration with iOS means you can effortlessly sync your bookmarks, history, and open tabs across your Apple devices using iCloud. Additionally, Safari supports Apple Pay for secure, convenient online purchases and allows passwordless logins via Touch ID or Face ID.

While Safari excels in speed and integration, its limited extension support compared to other browsers might feel restrictive for users who seek extensive customization.

  • Seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem
  • Fast and energy-efficient
  • Reader Mode for distraction-free reading
  • Supports Apple Pay and passwordless logins with Touch ID/Face ID
  • Syncs across Apple devices via iCloud
  • Limited extension support
  • Only available on iOS devices
  • Less customizable compared to other browsers

Google Chrome (Android and iOS)

Google Chrome is a versatile browser available on both Android and iOS. It’s renowned for its speed, intuitive interface, and robust sync capabilities through your Google account. This allows you to access your bookmarks, history, and settings across all your devices seamlessly. Chrome’s data-saving mode compresses pages to use less data, making it ideal for users with limited data plans.

Chrome supports a wide range of extensions on Android, enhancing its functionality, though extension support is not available on iOS due to platform restrictions. Features like voice search, Google Translate integration, and safe browsing protection make it a comprehensive choice for mobile users.

However, like its desktop counterpart, Chrome can be resource-intensive, potentially affecting battery life and performance on older devices.

  • Fast browsing with a clean, intuitive interface
  • Syncs across devices via Google account
  • Data-saving mode for lower data consumption
  • Integrated Google services like Translate and Voice Search
  • Wide range of extensions on Android
  • High resource usage can impact battery life
  • Limited extension support on iOS
  • Collects browsing data for Google

Samsung Internet

Samsung Internet is a robust and customizable browser designed specifically for Samsung devices, though it’s available for other Android devices as well. It’s built on the Chromium engine, ensuring fast and efficient browsing. Samsung Internet supports a wide range of extensions, including ad blockers and privacy tools, offering a customizable browsing experience.

One standout feature is Samsung’s Secret Mode, which enhances privacy by keeping your browsing history and cookies separate from your regular tabs. The browser also includes a built-in QR code scanner, Samsung Pay integration for secure online payments, and support for DeX mode, allowing a desktop-like experience on compatible devices.

While Samsung Internet is feature-rich and optimized for Samsung hardware, users might miss the deep integration with Google services that Chrome offers.

  • Fast and efficient with Chromium engine
  • Supports a wide range of extensions
  • Secret Mode for enhanced privacy
  • Built-in QR code scanner and Samsung Pay integration
  • Optimized for Samsung hardware and DeX mode
  • Primarily optimized for Samsung devices
  • Lacks deep integration with Google services
  • Not available on iOS

4. Security and privacy-focused browsers

These browsers prioritize user privacy and security, often incorporating features like ad blockers and enhanced tracking protection. They’re designed to minimize data collection and protect users from online threats, making them ideal for privacy-conscious users.


Brave is a privacy-centric browser built on the Chromium engine, combining speed with robust security features. By default, Brave blocks trackers, ads, and scripts that invade your privacy, ensuring a cleaner and faster browsing experience. Its aggressive ad-blocking capabilities not only protect your data but also significantly improve page load times.

One of Brave’s standout features is its Shields, which offer granular control over what content is blocked or allowed on each site. You can adjust settings for trackers, cookies, fingerprinting, and more on a per-site basis. Brave also includes built-in HTTPS Everywhere, automatically upgrading connections to secure sites whenever possible.

Brave Rewards is another unique aspect, allowing you to earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) by opting into privacy-respecting ads. These tokens can be used to support your favorite websites and content creators directly within the browser.

While Brave is feature-rich, it does have a learning curve for users unfamiliar with its extensive privacy settings. Additionally, its focus on blocking ads may occasionally break website functionality.

  • Blocks ads, trackers, and invasive scripts by default
  • Shields for customizable privacy settings
  • Built-in HTTPS Everywhere for secure connections
  • Brave Rewards for earning and using BAT
  • Fast browsing speeds due to ad-blocking
  • Some website functionality may break due to aggressive blocking
  • Learning curve for new users unfamiliar with privacy settings
  • Limited extension library compared to Chrome


Tor is one of the best privacy browsers. It uses onion routing, which routes your traffic through a global network of volunteer-run servers, encrypting it each time. This makes it challenging for anyone to track your activities and location. The Connection Assist feature can bypass censorship restrictions for anonymous browsing in internet-repressive environments.

Be mindful that Tor prioritizes safety over customizability. While it’s based on Firefox, it doesn’t allow add-ons and auto-sync, turns off JavaScript on non-HTTPS sites, and blocks risky plugins like Flash. By enabling New Identity, you can quickly reset your browsing session and erase all traces of your activity, so web trackers can’t link your past activity with your current sessions.

Since Tor is a niche browser, it comes at the cost of slow speeds. As your data passes through multiple layers of encryption, each relay along the route adds a delay and makes web pages load slower.

  • Complete online anonymity via onion routing
  • Browse the web in highly restrictive environments
  • Lets you access onion sites
  • Slow browsing due to multiple encryption layers
  • Snoopers can take your online data from the exit node
  • No extension library due to vulnerability risks
  • Difficult to configure advanced anonymity settings

DuckDuckGo Browser

Integrated with the DuckDuckGo search engine, the DuckDuckGo browser is designed with privacy at its core, offering a seamless browsing experience that prioritizes user anonymity. Built on the Chromium engine, it combines fast performance with robust privacy features that make it stand out in the crowded browser market.

By default, DuckDuckGo blocks third-party trackers, ensuring that your browsing habits are not monitored by advertisers. The browser automatically upgrades your connections to HTTPS whenever possible, providing a secure browsing experience. DuckDuckGo’s Privacy Grade feature rates websites based on their privacy practices, giving you an instant understanding of how much data protection each site offers.

A unique aspect of the DuckDuckGo browser is its emphasis on not collecting or storing any personal information. It also includes a Fire Button that allows you to clear all tabs and browsing data in one tap, ensuring that no traces of your activity remain on your device.

While DuckDuckGo excels in privacy, it has a more limited extension library compared to browsers like Chrome or Firefox. Additionally, some users might miss the deeper integration with Google’s ecosystem that other browsers offer.

Read more: Is DuckDuckGo safe?

  • Strong privacy features, blocking third-party trackers by default
  • Automatic HTTPS connection upgrades
  • Privacy Grade ratings for websites
  • No collection or storage of personal information
  • Fire Button to clear all browsing data instantly
  • Limited extension library
  • Lacks deep integration with Google services
  • Some advanced browsing features may be missing

5. Lightweight Browsers

Lightweight browsers are designed to use minimal system resources, making them ideal for older computers or devices with limited processing power. They focus on speed and efficiency, often sacrificing some advanced features to ensure a smooth browsing experience on low-spec hardware. 


Midori is a lightweight, open-source web browser designed for speed and efficiency. It’s built on the WebKit rendering engine, ensuring fast page loads and smooth browsing even on older hardware. Midori is known for its minimalistic design, focusing on delivering a clutter-free and responsive user experience.

Despite its lightweight nature, Midori includes essential features like private browsing, tabbed browsing, and a built-in ad blocker. It supports extensions, though its library is not as extensive as those of more mainstream browsers. Midori’s emphasis on simplicity makes it an excellent choice for users who want a no-frills browsing experience that doesn’t strain system resources.

However, its limited extension support and occasional compatibility issues with modern websites might be a drawback for some users.

  • Lightweight and fast, ideal for older hardware
  • Minimalistic design with essential features
  • Built-in ad blocker for faster browsing
  • Open-source and community-driven
  • Limited extension library
  • Occasional compatibility issues with modern websites
  • Lacks some advanced features of mainstream browsers

Opera Mini

Opera Mini is designed for speed and data efficiency, making it a popular choice for mobile users, especially in areas with slow internet connections. It uses a unique data compression technology that can reduce data usage by up to 90%, allowing pages to load faster even on slower networks. Opera Mini is available on multiple platforms, including Android and iOS.

Opera Mini’s features include a built-in ad blocker, a data-saving mode, and a smart news feed that delivers personalized content. It also offers a video boost feature that compresses video data for smoother playback. Despite its focus on data efficiency, Opera Mini provides a user-friendly interface with essential browsing features.

However, the heavy data compression can sometimes affect the quality of images and the rendering of web pages. Additionally, it doesn’t support as many extensions as other browsers.

  • High data efficiency with compression technology
  • Fast browsing speeds on slow networks
  • Built-in ad blocker and video boost feature
  • Smart news feed for personalized content
  • Data compression can affect image quality
  • Limited extension support
  • Some web pages may not render correctly

6. Alternative Chromium-based browsers

Chromium is a browser codebase developed by Google and made available under an open-source license. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Samsung Internet, Brave, and many others are also Chromium-based. Developers who use Chromium are able to rely on a tried and tested codebase while adding their own spins to it. This is why our VPN extension for Chrome also works on Vivaldi, Brave, and other Chromium browsers.

The Chromium browsers below cater to specific needs or preferences, offering unique features that differentiate them from mainstream options. They might include extensive customization options, built-in tools, or specific privacy features that appeal to power users and those with niche requirements. 


Vivaldi is a highly customizable browser aimed at power users who want more control over their browsing experience. Built on the Chromium engine, it offers fast performance and compatibility with Chrome extensions while providing unique features that set it apart from mainstream browsers.

Vivaldi’s standout feature is its extensive customization options. Users can tailor the browser’s appearance, from the color scheme and theme to the placement of tabs and toolbars. Vivaldi also supports stacking tabs into groups, tiling them side by side, and displaying multiple tabs in a split-screen view, making multitasking seamless.

The browser includes built-in tools like a note-taking app, a screenshot capture tool, and a customizable start page with speed dials for quick access to favorite sites. Vivald is also considered a secure and privacy-focused browser, with a built-in ad blocker and tracker protection. It also doesn’t track your browsing behavior.

While Vivaldi’s depth of features is impressive, it can be overwhelming for new users. The high level of customization also means it requires more initial setup compared to simpler browsers.

  • Extensive customization options for appearance and functionality
  • Built-in tools like notes, screenshot capture, and customizable start page
  • Supports Chrome extensions for additional functionality
  • Robust privacy features with ad and tracker blocking
  • Fast performance on the Chromium engine
  • Can be overwhelming for new users due to its many features
  • Requires more initial setup for optimal use
  • Resource usage can be high with extensive customization


Opera is super user-centric. Its customizable sidebar has chat apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, so you can talk to friends, browse, and work simultaneously. If you’re a multi-tasker, you can watch videos in a floating window while browsing other tabs with Opera’s video pop-out feature — just like on your phone or tablet.

For security, Opera offers a free VPN to encrypt your internet traffic. This shields your online activities from hackers and eavesdroppers on public WiFi. Its ad blocker removes annoying ads and can block malicious content to prevent malware infections. You can also control JavaScript execution to reduce the risk of malicious scripts tracking you and stealing your data.

While Opera doesn’t roll out updates as often due to its small user base, it adds new features to stay in the competition. For instance, its all-new AI assistant called Aria AI can help you code, answer questions, brainstorm ideas, quickly search keywords on a web page, write emails, and more.

  • Built-in access to messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram
  • Includes a built-in ad and tracker blocker and a free VPN
  • Data compression improves load times considerably
  • Useful extras include malware protection and password management
  • Collects data and is owned by a Chinese consortium
  • Small extension library makes it less customizable
  • Occasional bugs and compatibility issues with new features
  • Mobile apps lack a built-in VPN and integrated messaging platforms

7. Command-line browsers

These are text-based browsers that specifically operate within a command-line interface. Popular among developers and system administrators, command-line browsers offer a fast and lightweight browsing experience. They are suitable for quick lookups and navigating text-heavy content without leaving the terminal. 


W3m is a text-based web browser designed for use in a terminal. It stands out for its ability to display tables, frames, and images (when used with a compatible terminal), making it more versatile than some other text-based browsers. W3m is often used by users who prefer a lightweight, fast browsing experience without the overhead of a graphical interface.

W3m supports browsing both local and remote files, with the capability to render HTML and support for SSL/TLS for secure connections. It also integrates well with other Unix tools, making it a popular choice among system administrators and developers. W3m’s support for mouse operations within the terminal adds an extra layer of usability, allowing users to navigate more intuitively.

However, like other command-line browsers, W3m is limited in its ability to handle modern, media-rich websites. Its primary use case remains navigating text-heavy content and performing quick lookups without leaving the command-line environment.

  • Lightweight and fast
  • Displays tables, frames, and images (with compatible terminal)
  • Supports SSL/TLS for secure browsing
  • Integrates well with Unix tools
  • Mouse support within the terminal
  • Limited compatibility with modern, media-rich websites
  • Steeper learning curve for users unfamiliar with command-line interfaces
  • Minimal support for multimedia content


Links is another powerful text-based web browser, known for its speed and ability to display web pages in a text-only format. It offers a user-friendly experience with menu-driven configuration and support for both mouse and keyboard navigation. Links can render basic HTML elements, making it suitable for quickly accessing text-based content and performing simple web tasks from the terminal.

Links is available in two versions: Links (text mode only) and Links2, which includes graphical support. Links2 can display images and use more advanced rendering techniques when run in a graphical mode, making it more versatile for users who occasionally need to view multimedia content.

Despite its capabilities, Links remains limited in handling complex web applications and dynamic content. It is best suited for environments where speed and resource efficiency are prioritized over a full graphical experience.

  • Fast and lightweight
  • User-friendly with menu-driven configuration
  • Supports both mouse and keyboard navigation
  • Links2 version includes graphical support for images
  • Ideal for accessing text-based content quickly
  • Limited handling of complex web applications and dynamic content
  • Graphical support in Links2 is basic compared to full graphical browsers
  • Not suitable for rich multimedia experiences

How do different web browsers compare?

Extension LibrarySpeedPrivacy FeaturesSyncing Capabilities
Google Chrome130,000+Fastest, optimized for performanceStandard tracking protection; Incognito modeAcross devices with a Google account
Mozilla Firefox30,000+Fast, with recent improvementsEnhanced Tracking Protection; Phishing and malware protection; Fingerprinting protection; ContainersAcross devices with a Firefox account
Apple Safari2,000+Optimized for Apple hardware and very efficientIntelligent Tracking Prevention; Fingerprinting defense; Sandboxing; Privacy ReportsAcross Apple devices using the same iCloud account
Microsoft Edge10,000+Slower than Chrome but is more resource-optimizedMicrosoft Defender SmartScreen; Basic tracker prevention; Password monitoring; Built-in VPNAcross devices with a Microsoft account
LynxNoneExtremely fastSecure browsing with support for SSL/TLSNot applicable
Safari (iOS)2,000+Fast and energy-efficientIntelligent Tracking Prevention; Fingerprinting defense; Sandboxing; Privacy ReportsAcross Apple devices using iCloud
Google Chrome (Android and iOS)130,000+ on Android; limited on iOSFast Standard tracking protection; Incognito modeAcross devices with a Google account
Samsung Internet10+Fast and efficient with Chromium engineSecret Mode (enhanced privacy); Built-in ad blocker; Tracking protectionAcross Samsung devices using Samsung Cloud
Brave10,000+Fast with aggressive ad-blockingBlocks ads, trackers, and invasive scripts by default; Built-in HTTPS Everywhere; Privacy-focused settingsAcross devices with Brave Sync
Tor1 (NoScript)Slow due to multiple encryption layersOnion routing (IP address masking); Script blocking; Connection Assist (bypass censorship)Not applicable
DuckDuckGo BrowserNoneFast with privacy focusBlocks third-party trackers; Automatic HTTPS connection upgrades; Privacy Grade ratingsNot applicable
MidoriLimited Lightweight and fastBasic privacy settings; Built-in ad blockerNot applicable
Opera MiniLinited High data efficiency with compressionBuilt-in ad blocker; Privacy protection; Data-saving modeAcross devices with Opera Mini Sync
Vivaldi10,000+Fast with extensive customizationBuilt-in ad blocker; Tracker protection; Does not track browsing behaviorAcross devices with Vivaldi Sync
Opera2,000+Moderate, but built-in ad blocker can speed up load timesFraud and malware protection; Private browsing mode; Password management; Built-in ad blocker and VPNAcross devices with Opera Sync
W3mNoneExtremely fastSecure browsing with support for SSL/TLSNot applicable
LinksNoneFast and lightweightBasic privacy settings; Secure browsing with SSL/TLS (in Links2)Not applicable

Which web browser is right for me?

Not all web browsers are created equal, and the best one for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. For instance, if you’re an Apple user, Safari is your best bet. It’s optimized for Apple’s hardware, highly resource-efficient, and syncs seamlessly across all your Apple devices. For a more general recommendation, Google Chrome stands out due to its fast speed, extensive extension library, and user-friendly interface.

For those prioritizing privacy, Tor offers unparalleled anonymity by routing your traffic through multiple servers. However, this comes with a trade-off in speed. Here’s how we rate the above browsers by category:

RankSpeedEase of UsePrivacyExtension SupportEcosystem Integration
5OperaEdgeSafari SafariOpera
6TorTorEdgeTor Samsung Internet
9VivaldiMidoriSamsung InternetVivaldiMidori
10Samsung InternetVivaldiMidori Samsung InternetLinks
11MidoriSansung IntenetLinksMidoriOpera Mini
12Opera MiniLinksW3mOpera MiniW3m
13LinksOpera MiniOpera MiniLinksLynx
15LynxLynxGoogle ChromeLynxTor


No matter which browser you choose, if you want to prioritize both performance and privacy, consider using a VPN like ExpressVPN. While some browsers offer privacy features, a VPN encrypts all your internet traffic, not just your browser activity. This ensures your online anonymity and maintains fast connection speeds. With a VPN, you can stream, play online games, and browse the web securely and without frustration.

Which browser do you use and why? Sound off in the comments below. 

FAQ: About types of web browsers

What are the different browser types?
What are the 5 most popular web browsers?
Which web browser should you use?
What’s the difference between a browser and a search engine?
Which browser hides my IP address?
Phone protected by ExpressVPN.
Privacy should be a choice. Choose ExpressVPN.

30-day money-back guarantee

Various devices protected.
Take the first step to protect yourself online. Try ExpressVPN risk-free.
What is a VPN?