Do you have an old, slow computer? Whether you have an old Windows XP from years ago or purchased a cheap or used PC on eBay for simple tasks, you may find your laptop lagging, freezing, or experiencing other glitches.
That can get extremely frustrating, especially when you just want to browse the web, send emails, and complete other simple tasks.
Even new laptops can sometimes be too slow, especially if they are cheap, low-end PCs that don’t have a lot of RAM. These laptops can’t handle standard browsers that use up a lot of resources.
Just because you have a cheap, used, refurbished, or low-end computer doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to lagging and freezing. The trick is to stop using up so many resources at once, and that starts with your browser – which may be the most used application on your device.
There are various lightweight browsers designed specifically for low-end PCs. These browsers might not have as many features as some of the more famous browsers, but they also don’t use up nearly as many resources, and they won’t bog down your laptop.
Here are the 16 best browsers for low-end computers.
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K-Meleon is one of the best lightweight browsers for low-end PCs. It’s still popular, despite many other browsers coming out since it was first released.
It’s free and open source. You’ll need a Windows XP-SP3 or a newer Windows version to use it – it also doesn’t work natively on Linux, but people have had success using it on WINE.
K-Meleon is secure and supports tabbed browsing. It’s based on the Gecko layout engine, which was developed by Mozilla, but it’s a stripped-down app.
For example, it doesn’t include an email client or other features that can bloat it and slow down your PC.
K-Meleon has an active forum with many users.
One thing worth noting is that while the browser itself – the actual software – works pretty well and will continue to do so, there is a chance that the project’s old domain name might not get renewed. You can check this forum thread for an explanation of what might happen and why.
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Built on the Qt WebEngine, Falkon is a lightweight, free, and open-source browser. With a built-in ad blocker, you’ll never have to worry about popups blocking your view and slowing down your browsing experience.
Despite being a lightweight browser, Falkon has a lot of the features you’d expect from any standard browser, including tabs and browsing history. Furthermore, you can save web pages as bookmarks.
Falkon is a project by KDE. KDE is an open software community, and you may be familiar with some other KDE projects, like Krita and Kontact.
While Falkon is great for low-end PCs, it’s not the best option if you have an ancient one with an outdated operating system. That’s because the minimum Windows version it requires is Windows 7 – it won’t work on Windows XP laptops.
You can also use Falkon on Linux.
Also Read: Best Opera Alternatives
3. UR Browser
UR Browser is a fast and safe web browser that won’t slow down your laptop. Unlike many other lightweight browsers, it’s available not only for Windows but for macOS as well.
Without trackers, ads, cookies, and other elements that slow down the browsing experience, UR Browser is smooth and speedy.
One cool thing about UR Browser is that you can set the level of privacy you want. There are three levels:
- Low Privacy: On this setting, you’ll see ads, and trackers and cookies won’t be blocked. You’ll still benefit from automatic HTTPS redirects and randomized device information to prevent fingerprinting (a tracking method that uses your device configuration instead of your IP address to track you).
- Medium Privacy: Ads, cookies, and trackers will automatically be blocked.
- High Privacy: Ninja Mode is automatically enabled.
Ninja Mode takes private browsing to a new level. You can view tabs in private and nonprivate mode side by side, and you can add some websites to your personal Ninja Mode list, so they always open in private mode.
UR Browser is focused more on privacy than reducing its size. However, without trackers, banner ads, video ads, and popups, you will automatically use fewer resources.
4. Pale Moon
Pale Moon is a Goanna-based web browser for Windows and Linux, forked from Mozilla Firefox. Here’s the catch, however: Despite being a Firefox fork, only specific features were chosen to be included, while features that are unnecessary and would slow down your computer were stripped away.
Pale Moon is free and open source, with a strong community behind it. It won’t show you any ads or track your activity, and security flaws and bugs are constantly updated.
The browser won’t work on ancient operating systems, but that’s for good reason. By cutting support for such systems, Pale Moon is able to stay optimized for a smooth experience on more modern operating systems while offering advanced customization options.
Pale Moon has an extension library, with a surprising amount of extensions available in categories such as appearance, web development, privacy & security, and communication.
In addition to extensions, there are plugins, allowing you to search sites like Amazon or Urban Dictionary without visiting them directly. There are also themes available, allowing you to customize the look of your browser for a more aesthetically pleasing browsing experience.
There are also several useful tools available, such as the ability to back up your Pale Moon configurations and data or sync them across different devices.
Also Read: Best Google Chrome Alternatives
The Midori browser, which is now part of the Astian Foundation, is a multiplatform browser optimized for speed and small size. It is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Android.
While not yet available on iPhones, support for iOS is in the works.
Midori guarantees your privacy, promising to never sell your data. It also offers excellent user support, something many other lightweight browsers (especially the open-source ones) are missing, with multiple support channels (such as email and Telegram) available.
Since Midori is now part of the Astian Foundation, users can access an active community of English and Spanish-speaking users.
NetSurf is different from most other lightweight browsers in that it uses its own unique layout engine, as opposed to one forked from Mozilla. However, it’s only available on Linux, Mac OS X, and a few other operating systems, such as RISC OS.
The team at NetSurf is constantly working on and improving the browser, aiming to get the most out of the code while keeping it lightweight, agile, and of a small size.
The project has earned many awards, and NetSurf has been named as one of the top 10 browsers for Linux.
NetSurf is incredibly small, and it can work on even the lowest-end PCs with very little RAM (such as 16 MB). That’s because it was originally designed for the computer hardware contained in phones, cable TV boxes, and other high-end machines.
SeaMonkey is an application suite that includes a lightweight browser. It is based on the same source code as the Mozilla Application Suite, which is a now-defunct suite of internet tools designed around a similar concept.
In addition to the browser, the SeaMonkey suite includes an email and newsgroup client, an HTML editor, and various add-ons. However, let’s focus on the browser for the moment.
It has a built-in popup blocker, which will help remove annoying popups as you browse and keep your computer running smoothly and efficiently. With the session restore feature, you can restore tabs that you had open even if your computer crashes, which is a common occurrence when using low-end and older PCs.
Even though the browser is based on Firefox, it tends to be quite a bit quicker, making it more optimal for low-end PCs. At the same time, it has a lot of optional add-ons that allow you to expand its functionality when needed.
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Maxthon is the perfect browser for you if you are a fan of blockchain technology. Besides being super quick, it provides support for blockchain applications and it helps users access blockchain content using the built-in NBDomain protocol.
I suggest that you download the portable version if you have a low-end PC. You can view all available downloads, including the portable versions, on this page.
A portable app, or a portable version of an app, is a program that doesn’t use an installer and instead resides in a single folder on your computer. Portable applications tend to be more lightweight and use up fewer resources, making them perfect for low-end PCs.
Lynx is a unique browser in many ways. For one, it is the oldest web browser that is still being actively maintained.
Many browsers have come and gone, with many no longer working or no longer being maintained by the original developers. Lynx was first launched in 1992, two decades ago.
However, what truly sets Lynx apart is that it is a text-based web browser. In other words, it won’t show you images, videos, or anything other than text from a web page.
That’s what makes it so perfect for low-end PCs – providing all you want to do is read the news, read email, browse publications, and so on. Instead of showing you images and other visuals, Lynx will substitute them with other data, such as the alt tags and other HTML elements.
At the same time, Lynx supports cookies, caching, and other features that come with standard browsers, like saving your browsing history. However, you can block or whitelist specific cookies.
Since Lynx strips down all web pages to the text-based elements only, you can imagine that it uses up very few resources. On low-end PCs, you won’t have to deal with lagging or freezing.
Remember, Lynx doesn’t have to be the only browser on your PC or even the main browser you use. You can have another browser from this list as your main browser and use Lynx when you want to read the news or browse your favorite blogs.
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Another unique web browser is Links, not to be confused with Lynx. The developer, based in the Czech Republic, made Links free and open source.
There are two modes: graphics mode and text mode. In text mode, Links will only display text and not graphics, similar to Lynx.
Links is extremely portable, thus reducing its size and CPU consumption. It’s one executable file that is independent of the hardware and system libraries.
Even a lot of the lightweight web browsers are cutting support for Windows XP as we get further and further away from when it was first released.
Not Mypal, though! Mypal is specifically designed for Windows XP computers.
It’s one of the best browsers for the Windows XP operating system. It’s well maintained, and it will work well even on older computers.
It is updated frequently, so it’s not one of those abandoned projects that still work but might have many bugs and security flaws.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned the Pale Moon browser, which was forked from Mozilla Firefox. Mypal is based on Pale Moon, but it was created with Windows XP in mind.
Why use Windows XP instead of upgrading to a more current Windows version? Perhaps you like the look and feel of Windows XP – there’s no denying that it has sentimental value to many people who grew up using Windows XP computers when they were young.
At the same time, it may also be the best decision practically. If your computer is old, the hardware may just not be able to support more modern Windows versions.
Instead, you can continue using Windows XP with a browser like Mypal. As Mypal is based on Pale Moon, which is based on Firefox, it supports many Pale Moon extensions as well as pre-Quantum Firefox extensions.
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12. Otter Browser
Otter is an open-source and free browser that is designed to bring back the classic Opera browser experience.
Opera is a well-known and popular browser that is now based on Chromium, although it used to use the Presto layout engine before switching to Chromium.
Otter is quick to load and is not resource-intensive. If you used the Opera browser before the switch to Chromium, you’ll find the interface somewhat similar to the classic Opera interface.
Interesting Comparison: Vivaldi vs Opera
An excellent browser with a minimalist graphical user interface is Qutebrowser. It is written in Python but optimized for speed and performance.
Being that it features a minimalist interface, it won’t bog down your computer.
The developer is maintaining the project on a part-time basis, and you can help support the project by donating to it, which can give you a chance to earn rewards like Qute merchandise.
You can also contribute to the project directly as a developer or help fix bugs.
The developer who created the project really cares about it and originally launched it because they couldn’t find a browser they liked. There is a lot of documentation available, as well as a helpful FAQs page with answers to plenty of common questions.
The browser is open source.
14. Slim Browser
As you can expect from the name, Slim Browser is designed to be slim, efficient, and fast. While it was formerly based on the Microsoft Trident layout engine, it currently uses Gecko.
Slim blocks all ads and trackers, protecting your privacy and freeing up your low-end PC’s precious resources to do other tasks. It has won various awards, and it also has several unique features that will definitely make you consider it as your browser of choice:
- Download YouTube videos as MP4 files or WebM files. Once you’ve downloaded a YouTube video as an MP4 video, you can convert it into an MP3 audio file.
- Speed up your downloads by up to 12x by opening multiple connections to the server when downloading a single file.
- Besides downloading content quicker, you can upload images quickly by automatically compressing them before uploading them.
- When uploading a picture to share with friends, you can add a frame to the photo before uploading it.
- Use the Facebook integration to share text, images, or other content with your friends with just a click.
- If you find a page in another language, you can translate it instantly into your own language. You can either translate the entire page or selected text from the page.
- The browser comes with a built-in screenshot tool, allowing you to take a screenshot of a selected area or the entire page without needing additional tools. You can even have the tool screenshot the entire page, including the part not yet visible until you scroll down.
- If you have favorite URLs that you often visit, you can set up nicknames for them and type in the nicknames into your web browser to navigate to them quickly.
- You can see current weather conditions, as well as the weather forecast for the upcoming five days, straight from your browser.
As if that were not enough, Slim Browser has an entire library of add-ons, extensions, and plugins that allow you to add more functionality and customize the look of the browser interface.
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Dillo is an open source browser that is written in C and C++ and optimized for speed and performance. However, performance and efficiency are just two of its goals; it also aims to improve your privacy and security online and make information more accessible.
Dillo was first released in 1999, designed to even work on computers that use dial-up internet. It works extremely well on low-end and old computers, being that it is a minimalistic browser that only supports simple text and images.
However, Dillo’s best days may have been in the past. Development and updates seem to have slowed down to a standstill some years back, and this blog post from 2020 suggests that some websites and services, like Gmail, don’t work at all.
Nevertheless, it’s still a good browser for simple web browsing on extremely old PCs.
Brave claims to be 3x faster than Chrome. It accomplishes that by automatically blocking all trackers and ads on any webpage you visit.
It also automatically blocks cookies and prevents trackers from using your device fingerprint to keep tabs on you.
Unlike many other browser VPNs, the Brave VPN is a true VPN. That means that it won’t just serve as a proxy for traffic that goes through the browser; rather, it will work for all traffic on your computer, even outside the browser.
Keep in mind that the VPN is a paid service that requires a subscription, even though the browser itself is free.
However, Brave also integrates with Tor to hide your identity for free. Tor obscures your activity by routing your internet requests through different IP addresses, making it impossible for someone tracking that activity to ascertain where the request truly came from.
Brave also has a cryptocurrency wallet built in. While ads are blocked, you can opt into privacy-respecting ads for the chance to earn crypto rewards.
You can also support your creators with crypto donations.
Also Read: Brave vs Vivaldi
The best browser for low-end PCs is K-Meleon. It’s incredibly quick and lightweight, and you won’t have to worry about it hogging your CPU.
It is also free and open source, so you won’t have to worry about it tracking you.
At the same time, many other excellent browsers exist, so feel free to try out different ones until you land on one you like.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.