8 Alternative Web Browsers You Should Try
There are many other web browsers with plenty of unique features available in the market.
The big boys – Chrome, Firefox, and IE/Edge – aren’t the only browsers out there. If you dig deep, you’ll find a whole world of unusual web-surfing tools that are designed to fill different needs.
From intense privacy to media streaming, torrent tracking to text-only displays, there’s a browser for just about everything.
Come with us on a download tour through the world of niche web browsers. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new favorite to use.
Malware is a big issue in web browsing, as it’s all too easy to click a bad link or open a suspicious download and find your whole system compromised. Instead of wiping your hard drive every few weeks, why not give Comodo’s IceDragon browser a shot? It has malware scanning in the browser window with SiteInspector and runs through the company’s SecureDNS service, which utilizes a constantly updated blocklist to bar unsafe sites. IceDragon also features one-click social sharing buttons and other user-friendly features. If you’ve got a relative who consistently clicks on stuff they shouldn’t, set them up with this.
Another security browser option is Epic. With Epic Privacy Browser, privacy isn’t an option—it’s the default. From an active Do Not Track feature to a built-in Web proxy, this browser focuses on security and privacy at every level.
Most web browsers are built on one of a few basic frameworks—Chromium, WebKit, or Trident. Lunascape lets you switch between them at will. Why would you want to do that, exactly? Well, pages render with subtle differences in the different engines, so if you’re testing a design, it’s nice to be able to do it all in one window. This is a beefy browser with lots of bells and whistles, so don’t expect it to run particularly quickly or smoothly. In addition to multiple rendering frameworks, Lunascape also offers a bunch of unusual tab options, including the ability to show all tabs at once side by side, along with a raft of keyboard shortcut and mouse customization settings.
Maxthon has been a refreshing addition to the web browser landscape since its launch in 2008. Where others have been paring down their features for a speedier, minimalist experience, Maxthon takes the opposite approach—adding as many browsing helpers as possible. The latest of these is a built-in ad blocker, which joins its media downloader, screen-capture tool, Reader mode, and several other distinctive features.
Opera Neon is a radical rethink of the web browser, with a unique interface and some clever tools. The browser’s desktop looks more like a PC desktop, with free floating circular bookmarks. In fact, it seems like you’re looking at your desktop, rather than at a browser, since it takes over the whole screen. It’s not yet a fully released product; think of it as a technology preview. It also doesn’t replace the standard browser (which offers unique features like Turbo cached browsing, Speed Dial start pages, and built-in ad blocking) but anyone can download Neon to try it out.
People use the web for more than just static pages; streaming video and music is a big part of the experience now. Why not use a browser that’s specifically designed for that stuff? Torch includes a torrent manager so you can download video through peer-to-peer sharing right in the browser. You can even play them right in the same browser window as they download. Torch also incorporates one-click media downloading, so you can easily save YouTube videos and other stuff. Throw in a collection of Flash games, a streaming music service, and Facebook theme designs for some reason, and you’ve got a browser that’s great for casual users who live in a media-saturated environment and love it.
The makers of this internet underdog claim that its software offers customization “beyond what has ever been offered in a web browser.” Hyperbolic as that may be, Vivaldi does bring customizability and geekiness back to the browser. It lacks some basic features offered by its more mature competition, but it’s fast and fun to use.
The history of web browsers is one of steadily increasing complexity. First they gained the ability to handle images, and then scripting, video, and lots of other stuff followed until they turned into massive, bloated beasts. For some people, that’s just not worth the trouble. That’s why there’s a market for browsers like WebbIE, which strips out all the cruft to render web pages as plain and simple text. You can tab and cursor around the content without ever clicking a mouse, and special functions let you list all the links in a page for easy navigation. It even works with forms, so you can buy stuff on Amazon sight unseen—literally.