Best Text-based Web Browsers for Linux

Best Text Based Web Browsers For Linux

A text-based web browser not only displays the text content of a website but it also results in faster loading and minimum usage of bandwidth which is great for low bandwidth connections.

Top Text-based Web Browsers

There are many kinds of text-based web browsers like:

  1. Lynx
  2. Links
  3. eLinks
  4. w3m
  5. browsh

But we’ll cover only browsh and Lynx in this post, as browsh is a modern text-based web browser and Lynx is the most popular traditional text-based web browser out there still being actively developed.

1. Browsh – a modern text-based browser

browsh stands very apart from the traditional text based browsers, most of the traditional text based browsers lack support for JavaScript and other modern technologies whereas browsh renders almost anything that a modern web browser can. Unlike other text based browsers, browsh is backed by a real modern web browser, as they call it “headless Firefox”.

So it is required to have Firefox installed for the browsh to work. You can install Firefox easily by running the apt command:

sudo apt install firefox

Once you are done with installing Firefox we can now proceed to install Browsh. We’ll use the .deb package to install browsh, to download the package execute wget command:

wget https://github.com/browsh-org/browsh/releases/download/v1.6.4/browsh_1.6.4_linux_amd64.deb

After you have downloaded .deb package, we can now install it with dpkg command:

sudo dpkg -i browsh_1.6.4_linux_amd64.deb

Once you have successfully installed browsh, now we can simply launch it by executing:

browsh

If you don’t find any browsh command, simply exit the current shell session, and open a new shell session.

Google On Browsh Text-based web browsers
Google on browsh browser

These are the few key bindings that you must know in order to use browsh browser,

Arrow Keys, PgUp, PgDownNavigate within the webpage.
Ctrl + LFocus on the address bar
Ctrl + RReload the webpage
Ctrl + TOpen a new tab
Ctrl + WClose the current tab
Ctrl + \Switch between tabs
Backspace KeyMove to the previous page
Ctrl + QQuit browsh browser
Key bindings for the browsh text based browser

You can also use cursor and scroll wheel on PuTTy SSH client to click links and menus within the web page, or to scroll within the web page.

You Can Use Cursor To Click Links And Menus Text-based web browsers
You can use cursor to click links and menus.

So we have successfully installed and now we do know how to browse with browsh.

2. Lynx – a traditional text-based browser

Lynx is often a common slim choice when it comes to text-based browsers. It is the oldest web browser still in existence, started in 1992.

It is a fully featured World Wide Web browser.

It supports httpgopherftpwaisnntpfinger, or cso/ph/qi servers and available cross platform.

Early versions of Lynx were built from Custom Code Library built by CERN WWW project. It was released under GNU General Public License.

JavaScript is not supported by Lynx, which might be required for some websites to work.

You can easily install Lynx on Ubuntu by using apt command with sudo command:

sudo apt install lynx

Lynx does not need a lot of packages to install and work, and it takes minimal storage space.

Installing Lynx On Ubuntu Text-based web browsers
Installing Lynx on Ubuntu

Now to open a web page with Lynx, execute lynx command followed by the URL of that page, as shown below:

lynx google.com

If lynx command is not found, exit this shell session, and open a new shell session.

Lynx Google.com
lynx google.com

And, lynx’s window will open up,

Enabling Disabling Cookies
Enabling or disabling cookies

The Lynx will ask for the input wherever it requires as show above.

Google On Lynx Text Browser
Google on Lynx text browser

This is how Google looks on the Lynx text browser.

Navigating In Lynx Text Browser
Navigating in Lynx Text Browser

To navigate in Lynx text browser, you can make of the Arrow Keys and Numeric Keypad Arrow Keys.

Searching On Google
Searching on Google

Navigate to Google Search and then press Enter key to search.

Navigate To The Link You Want To Open
Navigate to the link you want to go to.

Use the navigation keys to navigate between the links, and press Enter to go on that page.

LinuxForDevices.com
LinuxForDevices.com

For your browsing history, press Backspace key.

Browsing History In Lynx
Browsing history in Lynx

Now to exit the browser, just press Q key on the keyboard, and then Y key.

Exiting Lynx Text Browser
Exiting Lynx text browser

I hope now you know the basic functionality of the Lynx text-browser.

Conclusion

Lynx and browsh are both text based browser but are very different under the hood. Lynx is a traditional text based browser with no support of modern technologies, whereas browsh is a modern text based browser with support of almost all the technologies used in modern web browsers.

I hope you have now learnt more about the text-based browsers, and enjoyed the same as we did writing it!