Linux Text-Based Web Browsers

Linux Text-Based Web Browsers

We all are familiar with web browsers. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are some the most popular web browsers. Have you ever needed your web browser to be ran on a command line? For a web site admin, the command line interface is necessary for effective management. Maybe you would prefer a back end to trouble shoot the issues on your VPS. Here we use the Text-Based Web Browsers. In this article, we are going to see the text-based web browsers in depth.

Screen shot of LYNX Web Browser open to

Screen shot of LYNX Web Browser open to


What is a Text-Based Web Browser?

A text-based web browser can be defined as a web browser that renders only the text contents on a web page avoiding all graphical contents. Since the output of a text-based web browser is only the text, it needs a few bandwidths and will be loading faster than the GUI based web browsers. There are many pros and cons for the text-based web browsers.  The advantage of the text-based web browsers is that they need less resources. The primary resources that are needed to run any applications are CPU and Memory. For a text-based web browser, they consume only less amount of both of the two resources. As the name indicates, it avoids graphical contents and so that it loads fast, saves data and also it avoids JavaScript and CSS.  The ease of use for visually weak people increases the demand for the text-based web browsers.  You may wonder how to interact with the software or how to access and navigate through the interface. There are predefined hot keys for this. These keys are used for navigation.


Popular text-based web browsers

A list of some of the commonly used text-based web browsers are listed below.

1) Lynx

2) Links

3) Elinks

4) WebIE

5) Text-Only Mode

6) Emacs/W3

7) Text Mode Chrome

8) Line Mode Browser

9) ImageBlock

10) Textise



Lynx is a well-known text-based web browser. It is the oldest text-based web browser available. Lynx is available for other operating systems like Windows, Unix, etc. Even though it is the oldest version, the software is available for the latest versions of these operating systems. The most recent stable version of the application is lynx2.8.8. The browser is compatible with the following OS releases: Unix, Mac, VMS, Windows 95/98/NT, DOS386+, OS/2 EMX.

Navigation: When you start to run this, it will lead you to home page of them. To input the URL of a website, you need to press the “G” key. After entering the URL, you need to hit the “Enter” key. On a web page, you can navigate through the website by using the four arrow keys on the key board. It is not needed to learn all the hotkeys to use the application. The hot keys will be displayed on the bottom of the webpage and it makes the application more user friendly. There is also web version of the Lynx browser. For this, there is a difference from the normal web browsers. It will not display all the web pages, but only the verified websites.



This is also one of the popular web browsers that will display only text. It is pronounced similar to the previous one, but there are many differences when comparing both. This is also cross platform and open source software. It is an advanced software when comparing to other applications of the same type. The interface provided by Links looks similar to a command line. It comes with a pull-down menu system. Links supports both monochrome and color screens. The considerable advantage is it supports HTML 4.0 partially. It offers more complicated web pages when comparing to the other text-based web browsers. When the application starts up, it will load in the websites primary pattern. In this pattern, the fonts will be displayed white in color. Here also, navigation is controlled by the arrow keys. The Links will allow you to modify the font color. This browser is compatible with the following operating systems: Windows, OS X, OS/2, Unix-like, OpenVMS, DOS

These are the features of the text-based web browsers. The others function similarly,  but there can be slight differences. The text-based web browsers are recommended for slower connections and it will help to save  bandwidth. The chances of encountering malware are considerably less when using these types of web browsers.


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