12 Best open-source web browsers

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Why should you use open source software? First, it's free. Secondly, it's safe, since their development is supported and tested by a large community around the world.

We all know about the best popular browsers. But what about open source browsers? If you like using open source software then sit back, today I am going to highlight the best open source browsers.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is a browser with a lot of settings and built-in tools for working with page code. Powered by Gecko engine, has a huge library of add-ons and extensions. In the settings, you can enable full ad blocking, there is a private mode, a built-in application for taking screenshots, a document reader and a text-to-speech utility.

Firefox provides a high level of user security. Has a nice interface with flexible customization. Well suited for web developers thanks to built-in tools (for example, monitoring website promotion) and the ability to install other useful extensions. And most importantly, it is open source.

Pros:
  • high level of reliability and safety;
  • the ability to fine-tune the browser based on your needs.
Cons:
  • not as fast as Chromium based browsers;
  • consumes a lot of RAM;
Download: Firefox

Brave

Brave is an open source browser from Brave Software. It was announced in 2016 by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, but is based on Chromium and uses the Blink engine, not Gecko, unlike Firefox. Has the option of private browsing, as well as a number of additional settings that increase the security of the connection. For example, there is a built-in function of redirecting from http to https, there is an option that reduces the risk of sites recognizing the "fingerprint" of the device, and others.

In terms of security, Brave supports end-to-end data encryption, a built-in VPN/TOR client and decentralized applications, allows you to work with torrents and magnet links.

It also pays users to view advertisements with native Basic Attention Tokens. To do this, a crypto wallet that supports BAT is integrated into the browser.

Pros:
  • uses a fundamentally new approach in advertising, designed to take into account both the interests of the user and advertisers;
  • a large number of security settings;
  • combines the advantages of a regular browser and Tor;
  • Chrome add-on library support.
Cons:
  • browser is still in active development stage;
  • some users complain about slow browser opening.
Download: Brave

Chromium

Chromium is an open source Google project. It has a lot in common (in terms of code) with the Chrome browser, and even in terms of the interface, they look the same, but unlike Chromimum, Googe Chrome is closed-source software.

You can install Chrome extensions in Chromium (if you are already a Chrome user), but remember that some Chrome features are not ported. Missing features include automatic updates, Adobe Flash, some codecs, and some Google services.

Pros:
  • performance;
  • large library of extensions;
  • active development and support by developers is underway.
Cons:
  • consumes a lot of RAM;
Download: Chromium

Waterfox

Waterfox is an open source browser based on Mozilla Firefox. Initially, Waterfox focused exclusively on providing the fastest browsing experience, but now its scope has expanded.

Aside from the obvious benefits of being open source, Waterfox has two important features that will appeal to anyone concerned about security. Waterfox doesn’t collect any telemetry data, nor does it track what you do on the web (which sites you visit, etc.). The only thing that Waterfox collects is technical data during the software update.

Pros:
  • synchronizing with a regular Firefox account;
  • tracking protection
Cons:
  • Based on Firefox 68, so it has potential security issues.
Download: Waterfox

Basilisk

Basilisk uses the Goanna browser engine (a separate Gecko branch) and is built on top of the Unified XUL Platform (UXP), which is a modification of the Mozilla codebase without Servo and Rust.

Basilisk is under development. The browser should be considered a beta version, it may have bugs. Like any other free software project, Basilisk comes with no warranty or promise of any kind. Of course, the developers will do their best to provide users with the most stable and secure browser at the time of the official release.

Basilisk supports a wide range of surfing features including advanced scripting, CSS, HTML5. It also fully supports all NPAPI plugins (e.g. Java, Unity web player, media plugins, authentication plugins).

Pros:
  • actively developing.
Cons:
  • browser is under development;
  • browser is memory-hungry.
Download: Basilisk

Vivaldi

Vivaldi is developed on the Chromium engine, but has little in common with the product from Google. The main idea of the developers was to create a browser that has functions that are not available in other applications. One of its distinguishing features is its customizable interface.

It also supports quick commands and mouse gestures. Those users who like to work with a large number of open tabs at the same time will love the hibernation support for inactive pages, freeing up device resources. Synchronized user data is protected with end-to-end encryption.

There is a lot of debate about whether Vivaldi is an open source browser. The developers gave a clear answer to this question.

Pros:
  • flexibility and customization of the interface;
  • support for Chrome extensions;
  • a wide range of functions and settings;
  • high speed of work.
Cons:
  • sometimes there are problems with playing video content.
Download: Vivaldi

Pale Moon

The Pale Moon browser was created by the same team responsible for the development of Basilisk. This is also a fork of Firefox, although there are some important differences between the two.

The biggest thing about Pale Moon is customization. The browser still allows users to apply complete themes. They change the entire browser interface and are no longer a Firefox feature. You can also reorganize the interface, create your own theme, and more.

Pale Moon differs from Firefox in its solution to work in single-process mode, support for XUL, XPCOM and NPAPI plugins and use of the Goanna browser engine. All Firefox extensions run on Pale Moon.

Pros:
  • simple and fully customizable interface;
  • regular updates;
  • supports Firefox extensions;
  • has its own system of protection against virus attacks;
Cons:
  • problems installing some extensions.
Download: Pale Moon

Dooble

If you want an open source browser that values your privacy, you should try Dooble. The browser can block iFrames from third party content providers, it automatically deletes cookies, it uses the YaCy decentralized search engine, and any data it stores is stored using authenticated encryption.

Dooble also offers automatic cookie deletion, a file manager (not jаvascript) and an FTP browser, and the ability to set a password on the browser.

In early 2019, the developers completely redesigned the user interface. It now looks a lot more modern and therefore more pleasant to use.

Download: Dooble

Falkon

Initially, the project was developed for educational purposes only. However, over time, Falkon has evolved into a fully functional browser. Falkon has all the basic functions of a browser. It includes bookmarks, browsing history, and tabs. The browser comes with an activated ad blocking function based on the built-in AdBlock extension.

The browser has nothing special about it, so if you like simplicity it's worth giving it a try.

Download: Falkon

Midori

Midori is a lightweight, fast and free web browser. Midori is the default browser for Elementary OS. Midori has full GTK 2/3 integration, supports fast WebKit rendering.

The browser supports tabs, windows and session management, highly customizable web searches, custom scripts and custom styles, bookmark management, an extensible and personalized interface, extensions, and more. Privacy settings are also available. For example, you can tell your browser to delete your browsing history and cookies after a certain period of time (hour, day, week, month, year).

Download: Midori

Beaker

Beaker is a complete open source browser. Beaker is perfect for website developers, as the browser already has everything you need. It is a code editor and tools for synchronizing directories with site content. There is also a web terminal and a specialized API for reading and downloading files.

The developers have provided for the possibility of linking several environments and merging them, creating forks and participating in the distribution of other users' environments.

Download: Beaker

Wexond

Wexond is an extensible and privacy-focused web browser with a completely different user interface, built on top of Electron, TypeScript, React and styled components. It strives to be fast, private, beautiful, extensible and functional.

Beautiful and minimalistic user interface - the address bar is hidden in the overlay and takes up less space, but does not affect the usability in any way. There is partial support for Chrome extensions.

Download: Wexond

Conclusion

So which open source browser is best today? The answer to this question is not easy - a lot depends on you, namely, how important a certain browser functionality is to you.

If you value cross-platform use Firefox. Anyone looking for privacy should look towards Dooble, Brave, Beaker, or Waterfox. Customization buffs should try the Pale Moon browser, and if you're a longtime Chrome user who wants to move to open source while still retaining some familiarity with the user interface, Chromium is the way to go.

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