The 7 Best Browsers for Old and Low-End Computers

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Modern web browsers offer great performance, are more reliable, and offer tons of customization options. However, all this comes at the cost of system performance. Although not an issue with modern systems, modern browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, and Edge may not support or work well on existing hardware.

If you can live without all the bells and whistles of new-age browsers, there are plenty of great naked web browsers to consider. Here we show you the best lightweight web browsers to help you browse the web smoothly on your old hardware.

1. K-Meleon


k-meleon

According to the developers, K-Meleon can run on as little as 20MB of RAM. Although we have no way to test this theory, it is an extremely efficient browser using fewer resources than other traditional browsers.

This open-source browser uses the Goanna engine based on Mozilla’s Gecko layout engine, but the similarities end there. It features a very basic user interface with the usual set of traditional web browser options such as bookmarks, history, mouse gesture support, and macro extension.

You can further optimize browser efficiency by manually blocking cookies, Java applet, JavaScript, pop-ups and images. K-Meleon is also available in a portable version that you can copy to your USB drive and run from there.

Where K-Meleon shines is in its compatibility. You can run it on the latest Windows 11 as well as the older Windows 95 operating system. However, it is not available on Linux and macOS platforms.

To download: K-Meleon for the Windows (Free)

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2. Falcon


falkon browser

Falkon is another lightweight web browser available on Windows and Linux platforms. It is based on the QtWebEngine rendering engine and has all the standard functions offered by modern browsers.

What sets Falkon apart from other lightweight browsers like K-Meleon is the user interface. It features a minimalist yet modern look and is intuitive to use.

You can import your bookmarks from major browsers as well as in an HTML file. It also has a built-in ad blocker add-on. Also, you can find some additional add-ons in the Falkon web store which offers a handful of community-supported add-ons.

Falkon is a good K-Meleon alternative if you want a lightweight yet feature-rich cross-platform browser to run on both Windows and Linux systems. However, on Windows, you will need Windows 7 and above to install the browser.

To download: Falcon for the Windows, linux (Free)

3. Pale Moon


pale moon light navigator

Pale Moon is similar to K-Meleon in many ways. It is lightweight, based on the Goanna architecture, but runs on both Windows and Linux runtime systems.

Pale Moon emphasizes browser security and privacy. It includes a permissions manager to let you set permissions for individual websites you visit for images, notifications, passwords, and a built-in ad blocker.

While Pale Moon no longer supports the Firefox extension, the browser has its own online store for add-ons with many options in different categories. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of third-party themes to customize the look of the browser.

To download: Pale moon for the Windows, linux (Free)

4. Lunascape Orion


lunascape browser

The Lunascape Orion Browser is unique in its approach. Although it is a lightweight web browser available for the Windows platform, the uniqueness comes from the fact that it hosts three different web engines.

You can switch between Trident (Internet Explorer), Gecko (Firefox) and WebKit (Safari) rendering engines on the go with a single click. Useful for developers and testers to test code on different browsers.

When it comes to performance, Lunascape Orion is an extremely efficient browser. It barely uses any resources even when working with multiple tabs open.

On the other hand, the browser isn’t the most intuitive of the lot. Even finding the Lunascape settings will take some effort. It also has ads in tab area which can be annoying for users.

To download: Lunascape for the Windows (Free)

5. UR Browser


your browser

UR Browser boasts of being a privacy-focused browser. It even offers three privacy levels you can choose from during initial setup. However, it is also an effective alternative to the Chrome browser, although it is based on the Chromium engine.

UR Browser features a similar user interface to other Chromium-based browsers, but comes with additional features built into the browser. It has a built-in VPN to help you browse anonymously and an ad blocker to block intrusive ads. Additionally, you can import your bookmarks from Chrome or other browsers that support HTML export.

Another advantage of UR Browser is access to almost all extensions from the Chrome Store, which makes it easy to switch. You can also open supported web pages as standalone applications.

On the other hand, UR Browser requires Windows 7 and OS X EI Capitan and above running systems. So it is not an option for legacy OS.

To download: UR browser for the Windows, macOS (Free)

6. SeaMonkey


lightweight seamonkey browser

SeaMonkey is different from other web browsers on this list. It is a community project based on the Mozilla suite of applications that aims to meet the needs of advanced users and web developers. It is available on Windows, Linux and macOS platforms.

Along with the usual web browser functionality, it comes with mail and newsgroup features, including tabbed mail, spam control, and multiple account management. It also has a built-in HTML editor, IRC Chat support, and web development tools to debug and inspect web pages.

That said, as a standalone browser, SeaMonkey isn’t the most intuitive app to use. To find basic functions such as opening a new tab, you may need to consult the browser’s documentation. The user interface looks dated and nothing like modern-era web browsers.

SeaMonkey is not for everyone. However, if you prefer to customize your web browser to your liking or want access to the email suite and developer tools to run on a low-end system, SeaMonkey may be a good choice.

To download: SeaMonkey for the Windows, linux, macOS (Free)

7. Slim Browser


slim browser

At first glance, Slim Browser may resemble Firefox in terms of aesthetics, and for good reason. Based on the Gecko layout used in Firefox, Slim Browser is a Firefox alternative. Recommended if you are looking for a resource-efficient alternative without compromising functionality.

Slim Browser integrates some useful and popular add-on based features into the browser. For example, it comes with a built-in ad blocker, YouTube media downloader, enhanced download manager, weather forecast, text translation, and basic photo editing features.

For everything else, you can find Mozilla’s add-on website and install the extensions as you would on Firefox. It also offers a portable version that you can store and run from your flash storage drive.

To download: Slim Browser for the Windows (Free)

The issue of modern web browsers being a resource hog is not without merit. As browsers have evolved over the years to look modern and accommodate all the fancy features, they have also become demanding in their hardware requirements.

If upgrading your PC is not an option, you can opt for the lightweight browsers listed in the article. These web crawlers are specially designed to work efficiently on legacy hardware and operating systems.


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