If you use a very old or slow computer, the best light web browser for web browsing would be Maxthon 3, Avant browser, slim browser, K-Meleon, Midori, and Qtweb browsers which use less RAM, and CPU resources. Using these web browsers will make browsing the web faster because these web browsers use designed to run fast by using less RAM, and CPU Cycles while the user is using them.
A web browser which runs fast on slower computer could let you use your old PC for web services like Google Docs, YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, Online Calender, online flash games, etc to do what you typically do with regular programs on the web with web programs which are also called web apps. Web Apps sometimes uses a lot less system resources then Full PC software because most web apps run off of the website not your computer.
Lightweight web browsers like Qtweb will sometimes run faster on older computer which is not always true for the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, etc which may no be compatible with older operating systems like Windows 2000, 95-98, ME, NT, etc. Even if some web browsers like Internet Explorer are supported, newer web browsers may run very slowly on a slow computer with a Pentium 3 CPU with 192MB of RAM or less, and very little free hard drive space like under 100MB free.
Lightweight web browsers would also be better to use then Internet Explorer 6.0 which is no longer supported, insecure, and very slow compared to light web browsers which I listed in this article.
List of Lightweight Web Browsers for Desktop PC for Windows and Linux
Maxthon 3 is based on Webkit which Chrome, and Safari uses and Trident which Internet Explorer browser uses. It has a lot of features like Password manager, bookmarks, add-ons, themes, and other features you find on web browsers. The user interface also looks very modern and easy to use. The System requirements are also very low for such a new web browser. There is now a Linux version of Maxthon web browser.
Minimum Requirements for Maxthon
20MB Disk Space
Windows 2000 / XP / Vista
Internet Explorer 6.0
Maxthon Nitro is a very fast web browser which has most of the important features like tabs, addresss bar, HTML5 compatibility, a nice user interface, bookmarks, etc. But, it has no-unneeded features which can slow down your web browsing.
Avant Browser is also a pretty good feature rich web browser which uses the IE Trident web browser found in Internet Explorer. I used Avant as my main browser for many years before I switch to Google Chrome, and it works great. It has all the features like Bookmarks, password managers, add-ons, custom themes and other features I need. It does not use a lot of RAM, or CPU space. If you prefer using a web browser which is based on Internet Explorer, Avant Browser is the browser for you. It is certainly one of the fastest web browsers which uses the Internet Explorer Trident engine. It works on Windows 2000, XP, Vixta, and 7. You just need a 300 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM, and Internet Explorer 6 or higher to be installed.
There is also a version of Avant which uses the Trident, Gecko and Webkit web layout engine on its web browser for improve compatibility, and faster performance by using Webkit, or Gecko which can sometimes be faster than the Trident web layout engins.
Slim Browser is also a web browser which is similar to Avant except the user interface is more basic, but Slim Browser has all the features a typical user would need like bookmarks, history, form filler, etc. It also use the IE Trident Web browser engine. Slim Browser system requirements are very low. All you need is Windows 98, and Internet Explorer 5.0 installed. It also works on Windows ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7.
SlimJet is similar to Slim Browser, but it uses the Blink/WebKit Web rendering engine. It also has tabs, bookmarks, and other features found in Slim Browser. Slimboat and Slim Browser are made by the same company. It’s user interface is like Google Chrome. Slimjet also uses the Google Chrome web store to install extensions, and apps for it. It also has a RAM optimization tool in the settings which optimizes your RAM every few minutes to improve your computer performance. There is also a Linux version of Slimjet, and a Windows version.
SlimBoat is a full featured tab web browser which has most of the features which users use on a daily basis. It has tabs, bookmarks, support for plug-ins like Adobe flash, form filler, fast internet download manager, language translator, search, and a simple user interface. It is made by the same developer as Slim Browser, and Slimjet web browser. Slimboat uses the QtWebkit engine on its browser. Slimboat works on both Windows and Linux.
K-Meleon is a Web browser which uses the Gecko Firefox web browser. However the user interface is not as modern as Firefox, and has no add-on supports for installing add-ons from Firefox.com. The user interface kinds of looks like Internet Explorer 5.0. The main advantage is it starts up fast and uses very little system resources, so it is also very speedy on older computer. But, it has not been updated in many years, so it is not the best web browser for newer computers which can use more feature rich web browsers without slowing down. It is also one of the few web browsers which is kind of new which still work with Windows 95-ME.
Windows 95-Windows 7
32 MB RAM
15 MB hard drive space.
Light Firefox is a light Web browser based on Firefox. It has most of the same features of Firefox. Light’s user interface design is the same as newer versions of Firefox. But, the components and features on Light Firefox are slimmed down, so it performs faster, and use less RAM on a computer by removing unnecessary features which few users use. Light Firefox has a Windows and Linux version.
Palemoon is a web browser based on Firefox, but Palemoon is designed to be fast, and easy to use. It uses its own optimized Goanna Layout engine, and it is designed to run fast on modern CPUs. It also uses the classic Firefox 3 user interface, so it is easier to use for people who are used to the old user interface of Firefox. It has most of the features of Firefox web browser. Palemoon has a Windows and Linux version.
QtWeb is a webkit based tabbed browser which runs pretty quickly even on older computers. It has tabs, plug-in support, and most of the standard features most other web browsers have. Qtweb has a Windows and Linux version.
QupZilla is a light tab web browser which uses the QtWeb Engine browser. It has bookmarks, history, and more. It uses the native widgets style, and icons from the active theme on major Linux Desktop Environments. It combines bookmarks, history and rss reader in one well-arranged window to save time, and screen space. QupZilla can import bookmarks from other web browsers. There are also speed dial bookmarks in QupZilla for quickly access your bookmarks on the homepage/quick dial page.
Arora Web Browser is also worth checking out. It uses the WebKit Web Browser like Google Chrome and Safari. It kind of reminds me of a more simple version of Google Chrome. It supports bookmarks, but I but there is no Add-on support like Google Chrome for cool widgets and plug-ins . I can’t find the system requirements, but if your computer has Windows 2000 or higher then you can probably run it. Arora is also available on Linux operating systems like Ubuntu. Arora also supports Adobe Flash Player in Linux.
Midori Web Browser is also worth looking at, but it is very basic, and does not have much add-on support. It supports Bookmarks, passwords, and all the basic stuff you find in web browser. It uses the WebKit web browser which is also used in Google Chrome and Safari. It also has HTML5 support for playing newer web browser based games, and HTML5 videos on YouTube.
Midori is probably the best light weitght web browser for very old computer since it seems it is still being updated on a regular basis by the developer unlike K-meleon and Arora which had no new versions in years. Midori also seems like the most stable and modern web browser designed for very old computers compared to Epiphany Web Browser for Gnome Linux which crashes often in my experience, and does not support Adobe Flash Player in Ubuntu Linux like Midori. Midori has a Windows and Linux version.
Note:Newer versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera may no longer be good for older computers, so it maybe better to use another light web browser like Midori or QtWeb on your older computer.
Google Chrome which is Google’s official web browser is also worth a try if your computer has 128 MB of RAM, running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or higher, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Debian 6, Fedora 14, OpenSuse 11.3, Mac OS X, Pentium 3 for Linux, Pentium 4 for Windows, has 100MB of free disk space. I have been using Google Chrome as my main web browser in Windows, and it works great since it also has a lot of add-ons, extensions, and it is very stable. It has all the features I need like Bookmarks, history, password manager, and lots of cool themes. It is also updated regularly for improve security, stability and performance because it uses the fast WebKit web browser engine which Apple Safari also uses.
You can also install Chromium which is the open source web browser which Google Chrome, RockMelt, and other web browsers are based on. Ubuntu, Puppy Linux, and other Linux distro operating system makes it easy for you to install Chromium on your computer by searching for it, and agreeing to install it. I use Chromium as my main web browser in Linux, and it is very stable, fast, simple, and feature rich like Google Chrome, and it is updated regularly to fix bugs and improve security. Chromium also uses the Webkit web browser engine.
Opera Web Browser is also worth a try, but I notice its Adobe Flash performance is not very fast. But, it is fast at HTML5 games and videos, and text and picture based websites and blogs. It is also a very fast web browser if you don’t use it for Adobe Flash websites like YouTube. It also has some add-ons, but not as many compared to Chrome or FireFox. But, it has most of the features you may want like mouse gestures, password manager, bookmarks, history, etc built-in to the browser, and it is also very easy to customize the look and feel of the web browser with themes, or changing the location of the buttons and toolbars.
System requirements for Opera
- Windows 2000 on a Pentium II
- 128 MB of RAM
- 20 MB of free disk space
Opera will also work on Windows and Linux operating systems like Ubuntu, Puppy Linux, Fedora, Debian, RedHat, OpenSuse, and more.
FireFox also made some improvements in newer versions of Firefox like 10, 11 when it comes to speed, but in my experience it does not run very well unless you have 1GB of RAM in Windows, but it runs better in Linux since it is the default web browser for Ubuntu, and many other Linux Distros. Firefox supports Add-ons, extensions, custom themes, toolbars, bookmarks, history, and more.
Recommended Hardware for Firefox
- Pentium 4 or newer processor that supports SSE2
- 512MB of RAM
- 200MB of hard drive space
It should run pretty good on Linux as long as you don’t install tons of add-ons, toolbars, and plug-ins to Firefox, but in my experience Chromium is a slightly faster web browser in Linux then Firefox.
What is your favorite web browser to use on a slower computer?
Green Web Browser which is based on Internet Explorer’s Trident Web Browser engine is a very fast and light resource web browser in my experience. It has most of the features which I need like bookmarks, autofills, password manager, Search, and a lot more. It seems to use the less RAM and CPU Cycles out of all the web browsers which I tried.
Epiphany/Web is a Linux only web browser which runs very quickly even on older Linux computers. It has only the basic features like tabs, navigation bar, html5 support, etc you need to browse the web on a Linux operating system like Ubuntu, Debian, and Linux Mint. Web is created by GNOME which makes the GNOME desktop linux environment.
Rekonq (2.x) is a lightweight tabbed Window web browser based on the KDE desktop environment, and WebKit Web Browser engine. It is mostly designed for Linux operating systems which use the KDE desktop environment like Kubuntu. Rekonq has features like Bookmarks, HTML5 support, and History.
For very slow Linux based computers with a 1GHz or slower CPU, and less than 128MB of RAM, I recommend NetSurf. It just displays text, and images on a website. But, you can’t use it to play online video, music, games, and other more advance tasks. I find loading websites on Netsurf is very fast. It is so lightweight that it can run at a fast speed on a Raspberry Pi mini computer with a slower 700MHz or faster CPU, and 512MB of RAM.
Dillo is another graphical web browser which is mainly designed to display images, and text on a website, but it can’t do more advance tasks like online video, gaming, and using web apps. Dillo runs very quickly on mini computers like the Raspberry Pi.
Tips for making your web browser faster
Using an Alternative Lightweight Operating System to browse the web
If your computer is very slow and old, I recommend you use a lightweight operating system like Puppy Linux, or Lubuntu as your operating system. You can even run Puppy Linux, or Lubuntu on a start-up USB flash drive, or CD/DVD disc if you don’t want to install the operating system on your internal hard drive. In my experience, Lubuntu is pretty easy to install as a dual-boot computer which already has Windows installed on it. Puppy Linux, and Lubuntu are compatible with most of the popular web browsers like Firefox, Midori, Web, and Chrome which all run pretty fast on light weight Linux distro. operating systems. You can also use non-web browsing programs like Libreoffice, VLC media player, Gimp image editor, and play games on Linux based operating systems like Lubuntu.
I read on http://www.neverware.com/ and other Technology Blogs that Cloudready is a fast and easy to use desktop computer operating systems for older computers because it is similar to Chrome OS. You also do not need to buy a Chromebook, or Chromebox to use Cloudready like Chrome OS which can only be used on a Chromebook and Chromebox computer. It is also free for Home users, and $59 for each device for education/school. But, it uses Chromium instead of Chrome as its web browser. Chromium is opensource while Chrome is based on Chromium, but maintained by Google. CloudReady is a lightweight Chromium web browser based operating system which only runs Chromium, and other apps needed to use the internet, and go on the internet. Cloudready does not have as many unwanted apps, programs, and games like other Linux Distros, so it should run faster on older and slower computers. You can also dual-boot CloudReady and Windows 7 and higher on the same storage drive, so you are not stuck with a computer which can only browse the web, but can’t use programs like Photo and video editing programs, games, and video chat programs like Skype which are made for Windows 7 and higher.
Changing your computer usage habits, so you have more free RAM, and a well-maintained PC
I recommend closing unused programs which you don’t need to use anymore will help speed up your computer. If you have other web browsers, word processors, media players, photo editing software, and other software open, you should close them to free up RAM, and CPU Cycles. Having more free RAM, and CPU cycles, will speed up your computer and web browsing experience. Also, make sure your computer is not infected with virus, malware and spyware programs which also slow down your computer. I recommend you scan your computer for malware, virus, and spyware with an anti-virus on a weekly or daily basis.
Restarting your computer can also make your computer less slow.
When using a web browser, close un-used tabs and windows on your web browser. Uninstalling or disabling unused plug-ins, add-ons, and extensions would also improve the performance of your web browser. Using the default theme might also make your computer feel faster when browsing the web because third-party web browser themes may use more RAM, and CPU resources compared to the default theme for a web browser.
Sometimes uninstalling, and reinstalling your web browser, browser add-on/extensions, and plug-ins to the latest version of your web browser may make it faster.
Also, make sure all your Plug-ins, extensions, and Add-ons for your web browsers are the newest versions. Old Plug-ins, extensions, and add-ons may contain security and stability problems which make your web browser and PC less reliable.