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Web browser

A web browser, often shortened to browser, is a software application that is mainly known for letting users access and browse the World Wide Web if a proper internet connection is present. Otherwise, it's just a weird tool that might let you open and view certain file types.

This page is mostly a write-up and shouldn't be considered web browser advice unless you literally don't know where else to look. As a reminder, there is no “perfect web browser” since everybody has different needs and beware “performative privacy” if that matters to you.

OK, Browser Crusher GET.
      ∧_∧   (´<_`  ) As expected of us.
     ( ´_ゝ`)   /  ⌒i
 ̄\  /   / ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄/| |
 ̄ ̄| /   ./  FMV  / | |
 ̄| |(__ニつ/____/  | |____
田| | \___))\  ̄(u ⊃
ノ||| |       ⌒ ̄ 

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the successor to Netscape Navigator that uses the iconic Gecko layout engine and has consistently been a runner-up until Google Chrome came into existence.1) From there, Firefox began mimicking Chrome with its rapid version numbering,2) many redesigns over the years,3)4)5) and quicker release schedule.6) While it's a hard product to pitch, it still remains a decent alternative browser.

If you're considering Mozilla Firefox, I'd suggest tweaking the about:config settings… except I can't really list any suggestions since the browser changes the preference names and defaults so often. Moving on, below is a detailed chart about the official branches of Mozilla Firefox, a description of their purpose, and how they all fit into the aforementioned rapid four-week release cycle.7)

Official Firefox Branches Target audience Expected update frequency
Extended Support Release (ESR) People who manage large organizations like schools, computers, businesses, government, etc. Alternatively, it's for people that just really hate frequent updates. Every few months.
Stable (Default) The average home or office user. If you don't really care for this information (and you shouldn't), use this. Every 4 weeks.
Beta People who are interested in testing new, upcoming features before they get pushed to the stable branch of Firefox. 2 builds per week.
Developer (Aurora, Alpha) This is for web developers. Not known.
Nightly (Pre-Alpha) People who don't mind bleeding-edge development, bugs, and high security vulnerabilities. Nerds. Daily.


LibreWolf is an independent parallel fork to Firefox that's dedicated to privacy and security. Many call it the unofficial successor to Librefox, a similar project that was voluntarily halted after Mozilla intervened.8) For those considering LibreWolf, there is a LibreWolf Updater extension and you just have to disable two checkboxes in about:preferences (see footnote)9) if you don't like logging back into everything.

Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a fork of Mozilla Firefox 24 ESR that declared independence with Pale Moon 2510)11)12) and uses the Goanna fork.13)14) However, you will have to dig for obscure or old extensions as the community is obviously small.15)16) Furthermore, the developers discourage AdNauseam17)18) and NoScript,19) and killed their OpenBSD20)21) and Slackware22)23) forks. On the other hand, it can play Flash files.

Pale Moon extensions

I haven't used Pale Moon in years, so this stuff is probably outdated, but I'll keep it up for the rare few who still decide to use it.

Tor Browser

Tor Browser is a Mozilla Firefox fork that lets you use Tor and view “.onion” websites, but it shouldn't be used as your main browser since it's very slow,25) open to MITM attacks, and Google reCAPTCHA will give you a really hard time. On the subject of Tor, if you wish to block their 900+ exit nodes, refer to their Abuse FAQ. While we're on the subject, this might be a good time to talk about a VPN.

Other forks

  • Basilisk - Mozilla Firefox 52 ESR fork, no longer Pale Moon associated.26) Useful for Flash.27)
  • GNU IceCat - The GNU version of Firefox, which you obviously have to build yourself.
  • MyPal - Mozilla Firefox 68 fork, intended to maintain support for Windows XP.
  • SeaMonkey - Mozilla Application Suite fork. It's an internet suite! Those are super old.
  • Waterfox - The unofficial 64-bit Firefox until an official 64-bit Firefox was released in 201528) and outperformed Waterfox.29) In 2020, Waterfox had been sold to an advertising company.30)


Chromium is Google's open-source browser that uses the Blink layout engine,31)32) and it technically acts as an early version of Google Chrome. If you're interested in Chromium, you can download the latest build of Chromium from here or this mirror, and people can just view the Chromium continuous build waterfall if they're looking for a specific recent build.

Ungoogled Chromium

Ungoogled Chromium is a Chromium fork with all their best privacy and security patches, removing all unsolicited connections to Google. Similar to its Firefox counterpart, LibreWolf, the browser deletes your cookies and site data after you close the window by default which logs you out of everything. To disable this, you simply have to uncheck a certain box under chrome://settings/cookies (see footnote).33)

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is Google's proprietary browser that it sells you as its primary browser, packaged with the automatic updater, licensed codecs, Pepper Flash (PPAPI),34) and so forth. For some reason, it'll attempt to install a “Google Update” plugin on non-Chrome browsers and Google Earth. While Chrome is the most popular browser, it is the least private of the bunch.35)

Chrome Release Channels Target audience Expected update frequency
Stable The average home or office user, as fully tested by the Chrome Test Team. Six weeks for major updates. Two to three weeks for minor updates.
Beta People who want to test new, upcoming features with minimal risk. Roughly every week, but every six weeks for major updates.
Dev For people who want to quickly see what's going on as soon as possible. Once or twice weekly.
Canary The people who don't mind bleeding-edge, untested Google Chrome builds. Daily.

Note: The above is a sort of combination of the data from the Chrome Platform Status and Chrome Release Channels page.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is Microsoft's proprietary version of Chromium that replaced Internet Explorer. In the past, it used the MSHTML fork, EdgeHTML, until they realized this was no longer viable and switched to Blink.36) They actually give you less reasons to use Chrome37)38) and began to compete with Safari,39)40) but don't let their recent success make you forget it's a proprietary browser at the end of the day.

Edge Insider Channels Expected update frequency
Beta Six weeks
Dev Weekly
Canary Daily

Other forks

  • Brave - A tablet-like UI and a built-in ad blocker. Don't trust anyone who recommends this.
  • Opera - It was sold to a PRC consortium in 2016,41)42)43) then it ditched Presto for Blink.44)45)
  • Safari - The original, proprietary Webkit browser from Apple, updates per OS update.
  • Sleipnir - It's a Japanese browser with a Safari-like UI and has insane font rendering. Not for AA.
  • Vivaldi - Built by ex-Opera developers.46)47) It's better than Opera, but that's not saying much.

Miscellaneous browsers

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer was Microsoft's proprietary web browser that used MSHTML (Trident) and used to be bundled with Microsoft Windows, easily winning the first browser war of the late 1990s. However, the development stalled for five years, bugs would accumulate, and VBScript exploits were at its peak, so their reputation was stained as alternatives like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome took over.48)

Uncommon projects

  • Netrunner (NTR) - This was project by users of 4chan's /g/ board who attempted to build the perfect web browser from scratch. Dead since 2017, rebranded to Beryllium.
  • qutebrowser - A keyboard-driven, vim-like browser. Scrolling available. May lack features.


  • There are text-only web browsers (e.g. Links, w3m, ELinks, Lynx, etc.), but I don't really have the time to fiddle around with them or set them up.
  • I'd test out Chinese web browsers (e.g. 360 Secure Browser, Sogou Browser, UC Browser), but they cause my antivirus to freak out and I don't want to deal with virtual machines.
"Rapidity" (August 26, 2011). Mozilla.
"Australis theme disliking" (August 31, 2012). mozillaZine Forums.
For LibreFox, under the “Privacy & Security” tab in about:preferences, uncheck “Delete cookies and site data when LibreFox is closed” and “Delete cookies and site data when LibreFox is closed”.
"What is Pale Moon's versioning scheme like?" (November 12, 2014). Pale Moon Forums.
"BLOG: This is rumor control, here are the facts." (March 27, 2015). Pale Moon Forums.
"Introducing: Goanna" (June 21, 2015). Pale Moon Forums.
"A change of direction for Pale Moon in 2022" (December 14, 2021). Pale Moon Forums.
"AdNauseam extension blocked" (August 26, 2017). Pale Moon Forums.
"AdNauseam revisited: a discussion with the developer" (September 1, 2017). Pale Moon Forums.
"Important: NoScript users and our support" (December 2, 2017). Pale Moon Forums.
"Pale Moon Official Branding Violation" (February 5, 2018). GitHub.
"Re: Flash! Killer of every one of us" (January 29, 2018). Pale Moon Forums.
"Pale Moon browser removed from my repository" (September 2, 2018). Alien Pastures.
"Add Extension - Unable to Comply" (April 29, 2021). Pale Moon Forums.
"Bittorrent over Tor isn't a good idea" (April 29, 2010). The Tor Blog.
"Basilisk Is Under New Management" (July 29, 2022). Pale Moon Forums.
"How to use Flash Player after January 12, 2021" (January 2, 2021). Reddit /r/flashplayerforever.
"Firefox 64-bit Web Browser for Windows Now Available" (December 15, 2015). Future Releases, Mozilla.
For Ungoogled Chromium, uncheck “Clear cookies and site data when you close all windows”.
"Changes to the Chrome App Support Timeline" (August 10, 2020). Chromium Blog.
"Google Chrome". Spyware Watchdog.
"300 million users and move to WebKit" (February 12, 2013). Opera.
"Why Alternative Browsers?". Alternative Browser Alliance.
web_browser.txt · Last modified: 2023-12-29 11:33:06 by namelessrumia